Google can deny it all they want, but they are getting into the hardware business. It started with the Nexus One earlier this year and will continue with the Google Chrome OS netbook(s) that are slated to launch in Q4. And now we have the Google Chrome OS tablet.
Google’s Senior Software Engineer Glen Murphy posted a handful of possible UI renderings for the Chrome OS tablet late last night on the Chromium Projects site that’s an unofficial Google property. The renderings would apply to tablets as small as 5 inches on up to 10 inches. For whatever reasons, the Google UI team is in love with the sliding menu system ala Android pre-2.0 (sliding menu from the bottom-up). It appears that much about the standard Chrome UI will remain the same save for larger icons making it easier for users to locate and launch. Tabs could also be moved to the side:
• Saves vertical real estate for the content area
• Allows for a large number of tabs
• Allows fire-and-forget tab creation
• Wasted space for users with few tabs
• Superb for full-screen on devices ~1366px wide, but wasteful on larger or smaller displays
• No clear relationship with Chromium browsers
Other areas of exploration include the following:
• Keyboard interaction with the screen: anchored, split, attached to focus.
• Launchers as an overlay, providing touch or search as means to access web sites.
• Contextual actions triggered via dwell.
• Zooming UI for multiple tabs
• Tabs presented along the side of the screen (see Side tabs)
• Creating multiple browsers on screen using a launcher