Google Tries to Revive Chrome OS By Making It Look More Like Windows
April 10, 2012 10:11 AM
comment(s) - last by
Aura UI looks a lot like Windows 8 Desktop, will deploy to all Chromebooks except CR-48
Even as Microsoft Corp. (
) heads in
bold new directions
with its user interface (UI) in the Metro UI powered
, Google Inc. (
) is looking (unofficially, of course) to the veteran software giant for inspiration.
Google's Chrome OS project has been more or less a flop. While exact sales numbers are hard to come by, the project was
only backed by two manufacturers
-- specifically Acer Inc. (
) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
). Launching mid-summer in 2011, Chrome OS felt buggy and incomplete.
While it came packaged in a number of nice netbooks, the
was hampered by the inability to connect properly to token-authenticated networks commonly encountered at coffeehouses. Coupled with poor publicity these issues led Acer to reportedly only sell 5,000 "Chromebooks" (Chrome OS notebooks) in 2011,
But at CES 2012, Google seemed
intent not to give up
, working with Samsung to announce new models.
Now a bit more of its plans for a Chrome OS revital have come to light. Google is freshening up the mobile PC operating system with a fresh taskabar-enabled user interface, complete with a positively Windows-like right hand notification area and pinned program icons in the lower left hand span of the taskbar.
Chrome's Aura UI looks awfully similar to Windows 8 Desktop.
[Image Source: Google (bottom), Tinkertry (top)]
Like Windows 8's desktop, the new Google UI has a taskbar, but lacks any sort of "Start Menu" so to speak. Really, Windows 8's desktop and the new Chrome OS UI, dubbed Aura UI, are spitting images of one another. The only real visual difference is the lack of a shade back to the taskbar in Google's UI. However, a Windows-like shaded backing to the taskbar is added when Browser Windows are active
Google goes Windows. [Image Source: Google]
Google brags that the new Windows-like interface offers "rich visuals, large-scale animated transitions and effects that can be produced only with the assistance of hardware acceleration" and should "provide the foundation of a flexible windowing system and shell for Chrome and ChromeOS on a variety of form factors."
The program icons are reminiscent of Android or iOS, but lack the cutting edge feel of Metro UI's LIVE Tiles. [Image Source: Google]
The update is currently in the Dev channel and should be rolled out to all Acer and Samsung Chromebooks in the wild shortly. The
early prototype CR-48 Chromebooks
, which Google handed out to promote/test the platform, will not be eligible for the UI upgrade as they lack sufficient hardware to support it. Google clarifies that, "They will continue to receive security and critical updates as necessary."
And it tells CR-48 owners to hang on, stating, "We’ll bring CR-48 devices back onto the release train after this release."
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4/10/2012 12:59:20 PM
Obujuwami, not disputing that Mac was inspired by Xerox Star, but in terms of licensing, Xerox lost big time when they sued apple in the late 80's, and I'm not aware of them earning any substantial royalties for windowing system.
Xerox's lawsuit vs Apple was interesting, in addition to claiming apple infringed on their copyright (which they lost) they also tried to have apple's copyright on the Mac look and feel declared void, on the grounds that apple's ownership of the Mac IP made it harder for Xerox to successfully license their IP to other computer makers; in addition they tried to get apple's copyrights declared void on procedural grounds surrounding how apple registered their work with trademark and copyright office. Both of these claims were dismissed on the grounds that there is utterly not legal standing to make such a claim.
Despite all their groundbreaking work with the Star Workstation, Xerox Parc earns very little if any licensing royalties from apple or microsoft for windowing operating systems. They may earn stuff for other patents.
4/10/2012 2:58:40 PM
It's been more than thirty years since windowing and the gui was invented so I think royalty payments would no longer be necessary. The patents probably expired when the number of computers in the field was probably a small fraction of what they are now.
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