All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS

25 Dec 12 Giada announces compact ARM-based Android desktop

A company known for making downsized PCs has announced two ARM-based desktop computers that will be shipping “soon” with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Giada has made its ARM desktops, the Q10 and Q11 very compact. Both measure 7.48-by-5.87-by-1.0 inches and, when mounted in the vertical position don’t take up much more space on a desktop than a typical router.

The pint-sized desktops are built around the Allwins A10 ARM processor, which runs at 1GHz, and have Mali-400 MP4 graphics.

Inputs/Outputs include five USB 2.0 ports (four rear, one front), VGA and HDMI ports, an SD/MMC card reader, RJ45 jack, a fast Ethernet port, and support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Both units have 1GB of DDR3 RAM but the Q11 has 8GB of NAND Flash storage, while the Q10 has only 4GB of flash storage.

The Q11 also has a rechargeable battery that lets you disconnect the computer and move it to another location without shutting it down. It would also come in handy during a power outage.

If Android doesn’t strike your fancy, you should be able to get a version of Ubuntu or Bodhi Linux to run on the systems, according to Brad Linder, writing for Lilliputing.

While Giada says at its website that its ARM desktops will be “coming soon,” prognosticators are predicting the units will be showcased at CES next month.

Motorola CloudBB

Giada isn’t the only company interested in Android desktops. Google’s Motorola subsidiary introduced in September a “home entertainment terminal” only for the Chinese market that has an “all in one” PC look.

The Motorola offering, called the CloudBB, runs Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) with a Freescale i.MX53 ARM Cortex A8 processor running at 1GHz. Like the Q10, it has 1GB of Ram and 4GB of NAND flash. However, its guts are located in an 18-inch LCD touchscreen display, which comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Google’s intentions to bring Android to desktops and laptops is no secret. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Search Goliath had filed for a patent in the United States for mapping touchscreen events to a trackpad, which would allow computers without a touchscreen to use Android.

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17 Dec 12 New Chrome extension: The play is with Chrome OS

Save image to Drive

The new Save to Google Drive extension recently released for Chrome is very useful for those using that browser. It’s been pointed out that the ability to save images to Google Drive could be a play by Google to go after Evernote. The Evernote cloud service is much more than a simple repository for captured images so I don’t think it has anything to worry about from Google with the new extension. I think Google is actually aiming the extension at new Chromebook owners looking to make the Chrome OS more like a desktop OS.

Just right-click on the image and save it to the cloud.

Google is in the midst of a big push to bring the Chromebook to those looking for a cheap but full-featured laptop. With decent Chromebooks now available at a bargain basement price ($199 – $249), Google is obviously trying to push its Chrome OS into the mainstream.

See related: 11 good Chrome web apps for the Chromebook

While Chromebooks are not for everyone, the ability to add any Chrome extension can make them meet a lot of consumers’ needs. These extensions, coupled with tight Google Drive integration out of the box, can make the Chromebook appealing to a greater audience.

Chrome OS File Manager
Chrome OS file manager: merging local and cloud storage

Chrome OS has a decent file manager app that puts the user’s Google Drive cloud storage right on the desktop. It facilitates moving files back and forth between local and cloud storage with extra software. Chromebook owners can attest to how useful it is to have complete access to the Google Drive on the desktop.

The new extension from Google makes it simple to capture any image directly to the Google Drive. Just right-click on the image and save it to the cloud. This adds a lot of utility to the Chromebook due to the integration with Google Drive mentioned earlier. 

There are other Chrome extensions that make this image saving very useful. The Aviary extension is a decent, free image editor that is especially useful on the Chromebook. It works with images stored on the Google Drive and handles a lot of image editing needs. 

Photo editing
Captured image edited in Aviary

The new Save to Google Drive extension takes on particular importance when Aviary is used. Just right-click any image to save it to the Google Drive and then edit it to your heart’s delight in Aviary. The resultant image can then be saved back to the Google Drive or easily moved to local storage on the Chromebook.

This sounds like a trivial feature but it is extremely powerful in practice. It is really useful for those also using the Evernote extension in Chrome. That makes it easy to shoot that edited image straight to an Evernote notebook in the cloud. This extensibility makes Chrome OS and those shiny new Chromebooks incredibly useful. You could say Chrome OS is getting more desktop-like over time.

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18 Jun 12 iPad to Grow Market Share Over Android Tablets: IDC

Apple’s iPad will grow its share of the booming tablet market over its Android-based rivals this year, thanks in large part to new features introduced with the iPad 3 and the company’s decision to reduce the prices further on the iPad 2, according to market research firm IDC.

The prediction comes as IDC analysts, citing the expected strong demand for media tablets in the second half of the year, increased their forecasts for the market overall, calling for 107.4 million tablets to be sold this year, up from the previous expectation of 106.1 million.

And the momentum will only continue, the analysts said in a report June 14. For 2013, they increased their forecast from 137.4 million units to 142.8 million, with sales jumping to 222.1 million by 2016. Those numbers could increase after the upcoming release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, which will offer not only touch-screen capabilities but also run on non-x86 systems, such as tablets powered by system-on-a-chip (SoC) architectures like ARM Holdings.’

Tablets also are getting more looks from businesses, according to Tom Mainelli, research director for mobile connected devices at IDC.

“Demand for media tablets remains robust, and we see an increasing interest in the category from the commercial side,” Mainelli said in a statement. “We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year.”

Apple and its iPad are going to be the primary beneficiary of the market growth, according to IDC. In 2011, the iPad and its iOS operating system held 58.2 percent of the market. This year, that share will grow to 62.5 percent. That will come at the expense of tablets running Google’s Android operating system, which will see its share slip from 38.7 percent last year to 36.5 percent in 2012, the analysts said.

Struggling BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion, with its PlayBook tablet, will see its already anemic market share drop even farther, from 1.7 percent in 2011 to 1 percent this year.

Mainelli attributed Apple’s market share growth to the addition of several key features in the iPad 3, which launched earlier this year, including Retina Display and 4G capabilities. Smart pricing moves also will help Apple, he said.

“After a very strong launch of new products in March, Apple’s iPad shows few signs of slowing down,” Mainelli said. “Apple’s decision to keep two iPad 2s in the market at lower prices—moving the entry-level price down to $399—seems to be paying off as well. If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company’s grip on this market to become even stronger.”

Other analysts also have cited Apple’s decision to lower the prices on its iPad 2 as having an impact on the tablet market. In a report June 8, IMS Research noted that the average selling price for a tablet fell 21 percent this year, to $386, with the drop in the iPad 2 price being the significant factor. The move put greater price pressure on rivals.

“There are few innovations from vendors to differentiate their tablets; low price seems to be the major factor to attract consumers to buy tablets other than iPads,” report author Gerry Xu said in a statement. “More vendors are expected to focus on the low-end tablet market. However, to balance performance and profitability with a low price remains challenging for most tablet vendors.”

IDC’s Mainelli said his firm has not yet factored in the impact of Windows 8 or Windows RT (the OS for ARM-based systems) into the tablet numbers yet. That will come later this year.

“Our current thinking, based upon early pricing expectations for these products, is that Windows-based tablets will be largely additive to our existing media tablet market forecast,” he said. “We don’t expect Windows-based tablets to necessarily take share from Apple and Android, but will grow the overall tablet market.”

With the growing demand for tablets—and the falling prices—IDC also revised its 2012 forecasts for e-readers, noting that sales in the first quarter were disappointing. The analyst firm now expects shipments this year to come in at about 28 million units, a slight drop from the 28.2 million units that shipped in 2011.

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17 Jun 12 Review: Samsung Galaxy S III

Shiny but feels little cheap
Samsung has (once again) used lots of glossy plastic in its flagship Android phone. Though, the phone is solidly built. Unlike the somewhat industrial design of Galaxy S II that has straight lines, the new Galaxy has a curvier feel to it (Samsung says the design is inspired by a pebble). Pebble or no pebble, the added roundness does make the phone feel better in the hand. That said, SGS III is a big device and unless you have large hands, you will find it little unwieldy if you use it with single hand.

There is faux metal strip that runs around the device. Unlike Galaxy Nexus, which is also made by the Korean company, SGS III has three buttons under its huge 4.8-inch screen. The ‘home’ is a plastic button while the other two — ‘options’ and ‘back’ — are touch sensitive buttons. The curves on SGS III give it understated but premium looks though we are not sure how the device will fare in the future once the gloss and sheen wears off the plastic.

Samsung’s flagship Android phones are known to pack in hefty hardware. SGS III is powered by Exynos 4412, a quad-core processor built by Samsung using technology from ARM. The CPU runs at 1.4Ghz and its four cores can ramp up or down their speed independently. This helps save the battery. The graphics duty is handled by four chips of Mali 400. It is the same graphics processor that is found in Galaxy S II but in SGS III it runs at a faster speed. The phone has 1GB RAM, 16GB storage with support for a microSD card upto 64GB. The primary camera captures images in 8 mega pixels and videos in up to 1080P resolution. This camera has backlit- illuminated sensor that helps it in low-light photography. The secondary camera sports a tag of 1.9MP.

At least on paper, SGS III is a device that leads every other Android out in the market. But does this hardware make it the best phone?

Smooth performer
Let’s start with the screen. Similar to other Galaxy flagship phones, SGS III uses a Super AMOLED screen. It has a resolution of 1280×720 pixels (720P) and is very sharp. But the best feature about the screen is somewhat saturated colours it shows. While for photographer they may seem inaccurate, mainstream users will find colours on SGS III vibrant and pleasing. Brightness, however, is an issue.

At least subjectively we did not find the screen on SGS III as bright as the one on SGS II. The problem was also compounded by the way auto-brightness is handled by the phone. It seems too aggressive. Though a software update should fix it. Still in the grand scheme of things, these are minor issues. The SGS III screen is one of the best we have ever seen on a phone. It is just that it could have been better.

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16 Jun 12 ARM Preps Mali GPU for Low-cost Android Tablets

ARM has developed a new, entry-level version of its Mali graphics processor that could help expand the market for low-cost Android tablets.

The GPU, called the Mali-450, is designed to help manufacturers build tablets that cost less than market-leading products like Apple’s iPad, which starts at $399, but provide good enough graphics performance to keep most users satisfied.

With touchscreens and high-definition video now fairly mainstream, the GPUs in tablets and smartphones account for a bigger share of the cost, and take up more space on the CPU on which they’re integrated.

Some manufacturers want cheaper parts, however, that offer reasonable graphics performance and occupy less die space. That’s where the 450 is targeted, said Ian Smythe, director of marketing in ARM’s Media Processing Division.

The new GPU is offered with up to eight cores and offers double the performance of its predecessor, the Mali-400, which has up to four cores, Smythe said. The Mali-450 is expected to appear in tablets in the first half of next year, he said.

Tablet makers are demanding a wide range of price and performance characteristics, so ARM is essentially bifurcating its GPU road map. It will offer the Mali-T600 family for higher-end devices, and the Mali-400 family, including the 450, for the low end.

Both can do gaming and video playback, but only the higher-end parts do “computational graphics,” Smythe said. That includes tasks like matching points on two images to do facial recognition, or stitching photographs together into a panorama.

ARM supplies the CPU designs used in most tablets and smartphones but it’s a relative newcomer to graphics. ARM entered the GPU market in 2006 when it bought Norwegian chip maker Falanx. It’s since built the team in Norway from 20 to about 80 people, Smythe said.

The GPUs in Apple’s iOS devices are based on a design by ARM’s U.K. rival Imagination Technologies. ARM does better in Android-based devices, supplying GPUs for about 20 percent of the smartphones and more than half of Android tablets, Smythe said.

ARM expects its licensees to sell about 100 million Mali GPUs this year, up from 48 million in 2011. “We’ve not quite caught up to our CPU colleagues who are shipping several billion units per year, but we’re making progress,” he said.

The best-known smartphone with an ARM GPU is the Samsung Galaxy SII, which uses the Mali-400. The Galaxy SIII, expected later this year, will use the higher-end T604. The Mali-T658, announced in November, should start appearing in phones and tablets in the first half of next year.

Further out, ARM is developing a high-end part code-named Skrymir, named after a giant in Norse mythology, which is due in 2014.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James’s e-mail address is

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15 Jun 12 Google To Release Chrome Beta for Windows 8 Testing


Google To Release Chrome Beta for Windows 8 Testing

The test browser is just for the x86/x64 Windows 8 Release Preview, where it can run in both the desktop and Metro user interfaces of the operating system.

Google has announced that its Chrome browser will be available for testing on the Windows 8 Release Preview. The company plans to smooth out the user interface of the browser over the next couple of months, and will be seeking user feedback.

The test browser is just for the x86/x64 Windows 8 Release Preview, where it can run in both the desktop and Metro user interfaces of the operating system. While Windows 8 will be available on ARM-based tablets, the ability to run any other browser besides Internet Explorer on that OS, known as Windows Runtime, appears to be restricted by Microsoft.

The Chrome test browser will be released at the Google Chrome dev channel for Windows, according to Google’s blog post, which didn’t specify when.

WinRT ‘Won’t Run’ Other Browsers
Google and Mozilla, which is also devising its Firefox browser for Windows 8, have both complained publicly that their browsers will not have access to the WinRT APIs necessary for their browsers to work as users would expect. Google went farther in its blog announcing the Chrome beta for Windows 8, by stating that its browser won’t run at all on WinRT.

“Chrome won’t run in WinRT, i.e. Windows 8 on ARM processors, as Microsoft is not allowing browsers other than Internet Explorer on the platform,” Google’s blog states.

An attorney with Mozilla suggested last month that Microsoft could be veering into possible antitrust litigation turf with the restrictions of WinRT. He cited Microsoft’s past antitrust supervision by the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission. Those bodies have faulted Microsoft for restricting API access and dominating the browser market via a Windows monopoly.

Microsoft hasn’t clarified the WinRT browser restriction matter publicly. While it has published a guide for a “Metro style enabled desktop browser” (Word doc) that software companies can use to build browsers for Windows 8, it appears that this guide only applies to x86/x64 systems, and not to WinRT systems.

The latest test version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 browser is called “platform preview 6.” It was distributed with the Windows 8 release preview that Microsoft announced at the end of last month. This new IE 10 version comes with Adobe Flash Player 11.3 built into the browser for use on both the desktop and Metro user interfaces. (Microsoft made no mention about whether its own Silverlight would similarly be supported in IE 10.). Another new aspect of IE 10 is that Microsoft’s “do not track” privacy option, first introduced in IE 9, is turned on by default.

Disagreement on Do Not Track
The do-not-track issue has been kicked around by all of the browser makers, with little effect. Microsoft’s method depends on Web advertisers voluntarily honoring a request to not track user clickstream information. It’s just a technical solution, as there’s nothing legally binding on advertisers to behave in the proper way. Microsoft’s do-not-track approach sends an HTTP string to indicate preference, a method that’s currently under consideration at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Microsoft’s embrace of having a do-not-track mechanism turned on by default in the latest IE 10 has caused some controversy. It apparently conflicts with the current W3C working draft, according to a Wired report. The W3C appears to be leaning toward the idea of not enabling do-not-track functionality by default, which could put IE 10 out of compliance once the spec becomes a W3C recommendation.

In response, Brendon Lynch, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer, noted in a Friday blog post that the draft hasn’t been finalized yet and that Microsoft plans to work on it with various stakeholders “in the months ahead.” He didn’t acknowledge that Microsoft may be going against the evolving spec with IE 10 on the do-not-track issue, but he suggested that Microsoft would stay engaged in “good faith” efforts.

“As discussions continue, Microsoft remains firmly committed to defining bona fide technical specifications and policies to govern DNT [do not track],” Lynch wrote in the blog post.

Mozilla’s also has a do-not-track approach for its Firefox browser that apparently uses a similar method as Microsoft’s approach. The Mozilla do-not-track system has been used by 8.6 percent of desktop users and 19 percent of mobile users, according to a May 17 Mozilla blog post.

Google has its own antitracking approach for Chrome called “Keep My Opt-Outs.” The Keep My Opt Outs method apparently works through a cookie opt-out procedure, but just for U.S. advertisers. The approach is vaguely described by Google here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.

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13 Jun 12 Android performance boosted 30-100 percent by Linaro toolchain

Linaro’s efforts have boosted Android’s performance, delivering an improvement of 30 to 100 percent in various benchmarks. They achieved these impressive gains by adapting Android 4 so that it could be built with their improved GCC toolchain.

We first wrote about Linaro in 2010 when the non-profit organization was founded by a consortium of hardware and software companies, including ARM, Samsung, TI, and Canonical. Linaro has worked to improve the quality of Linux on the ARM architecture, focusing largely on hardware-enablement and tooling.

The group is closely aligned with Ubuntu, but the improvements that it is driving offer benefits for the broader ecosystem of platforms and distributions that are deployed on ARM hardware. They have done a lot of work upstream in GCC (the GNU Compiler Collection) to open the door for better ARM optimization in Linux and other open source software.

Linaro’s GCC improvements have been producing measurable performance advantages over Google’s stock Android environment and build toolchain since late last year. Google is reportedly accepting some of these improvements in the upstream Android Open Source Project and independent developers are also looking to put them to use.

As a recent blog post at Liliputing pointed out, Linaro improvements are being merged in Cyanogen, a popular third-party ROM that is maintained through a community-driven process. Enthusiasts have already started generating device-specific builds that incorporated the Linaro patches. A Linaro build for the Galaxy Nexus, for example, was published this week on reddit (disclosure: reddit is a cousin site of Ars).

If you are looking for more information about Linaro, or want to get involved, you can find out more by visiting the organization’s website or checking out the Linaro projects that are hosted on the Launchpad collaboration site.

Update: updated to indicate that Google is merging the improvements, based on a Google+ comment made by Google engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru.

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12 Jun 12 Dual Core Processors Wasted on Android, Intel Claims

Current versions of Google’s Android operating system for smartphones make woeful use of their dual core processors, according to an Intel executive.

Poor implementation of threading technology by the operating system saps any benefits dual core processing brings to a system — and in some cases can actually be a detriment to performance, contends Mike Bell, general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group.

Bell told The Inquirer that even the latest version of Android, 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) suffers from problems with threading scheduling that limits the benefits dual core ARM processors bring to Android phones. Intel uses a competing technology, Atom, in its mobile processor.

What’s more, he maintains that Intel testing found single core processors running faster than some dual core processors. For a lot of the handsets in the market, it isn’t clear that much benefit is gained by turning on the chip’s second core. Worse yet, “having a second core is actually a detriment, because of the way some of the people have not implemented their thread scheduling,” Bell says.

While multicore processors offer performance benefits in environments without power constraints, Bell maintained, that’s not the case with smartphones, which have limits on both power consumption and thermal tolerances.

Bell doesn’t lay all the blame for the poor performance of dual processors on Android’s doorstep. Some of the OS’s threading scheduler problems could be addressed by the chip makers, he asserts, “they just haven’t bothered to do it.” 

Consider the Source

One has to wonder how much of Bell’s thinking is colored by Intel’s experience in the mobile market. No smartphones currently have Intel processors in them. The company’s first stab at making a mobile chip, Moorestown, flopped. Its latest offering, Medfield, has had better luck. It has lined up Motorola and Lenovo to make smartphones with the chips later this year.

LG’s first Intel phone, the never-released GW990

Nevertheless, it’s true that multicore processing has been used as a marketing tool of Android handset makers. For example, they began releasing phones with dual core processors even before Android could support those chips. And they’ve rushed to bring quad core phones into the market.

While Bell’s remarks on dual core performance may have a marketing spin of their own, the questions they raise need further exploration by a party with less of a stake in the market. If Android can’t handle the existing dual core chips in its handsets, what’s the point of doubling the cores — other than to make meaningless marketing claims and deceive consumers that they’re getting performance that they’re not.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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11 Jun 12 Intel: ARM, Android far behind x86 when it comes to multi-threaded optimizations


The director of Intel’s mobile products division, Mike Bell, has leveled some interesting charges at the company’s ARM-using competitors in the Android smartphone market. Bell, an engineer who spent time at both Apple and Palm before moving to Intel, claims that the major smartphone players have done precious little work to optimize their software for multi-threaded environments.

According to Bell, Intel’s own investigation into the state of multi-processing support in Android turned up a number of deficiencies. Some of the problems can be traced back to manufacturing and the difficulty of controlling current leakage, but others point to poorly optimized thread schedulers and inefficient data structures.

“The way it’s implemented right now, Android does not make as effective use of multiple cores as it could,” Bell told The Inquirer. “I think — frankly — some of this work could be done by the vendors who create the SoCs, but they just haven’t bothered to do it.”

Intel is scarcely a neutral third party, but in this case, we’re inclined to take Bell at his word. His background is in engineering, rather than PR/product evangelism, and the comments themselves make sense. ARM and Android have become ubiquitous precisely because they allow Samsung, Qualcomm, TI, and Nvidia to reap the benefits of research and product development without being directly responsible for the implementation. Intel’s massive software development resources exemplify the opposite approach, and the company’s silicon is quite competitive with ARM devices.

Intel’s software advantage isn’t really x86 compatibility, at least not primarily. The company’s true ace card is the expertise of its software engineers and the scale of its development environment. The fact that its many forms of expertise revolve around the x86 instruction set is nearly incidental. Of its competitors, only Nvidia has much experience in low-level development.

The other reason we take Bell’s criticisms fairly seriously is that they make logical sense. It’s easy to forget that Android is a very young operating system. Dual-core phones are everywhere these days, but the first DC devices shipped less than two years ago. The kind of ultra-low-level optimizations Bell is discussing aren’t something Google can build for each and every device manufacturer — they depend on the specifics of the SoC and, in theory, would be custom built by the relevant OEM. Relying on Google may have worked to date, but it’s unlikely to be effective for much longer.

These type of optimizations become more important as core counts increase. It can be more power-efficient to use four slow cores rather than two fast ones, but only if the OS is efficient enough to leverage all four threads. If it isn’t, the consumer gets a slower device with worse battery life.

Intel smartphone roadmap

More than anything, Intel’s comments are a sign that the company is deadly serious about matching and exceeding its competitors. Medfield demonstrated Intel’s commitment on hardware, but discussions of low-level software optimizations are a different animal. To date, other OEMs have gotten away with limited software customization thanks to ARM and Google. Everything we’ve seen to date suggests that Cortex-A15 and 28nm are the last low-hanging fruit vendors will see for several years. With Intel planning dual-core Clover Trail tablets for later this year and a 22nm Silvermont refresh dropping in 2013, the various ARM vendors will need to look to such optimizations to continue competing effectively.

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11 Jun 12 Chrome for Windows 8 Metro Coming Soon, Says Google

Google is getting ready to release a version of Chrome that works in Metro mode in Windows 8 Release Preview.

On Thursday Carlos Pizano, Software Engineer and “Metro Gnome” at Google, said that Chrome for Windows 8 Release Preview will arrive soon.

According to Pizano’s blog entry, Chrome will run in both Metro and desktop environments of Windows 8 on x86. However Chrome will not be released for Windows RT — the version of Windows 8 running on ARM-based chips — because Microsoft is reportedly not allowing browsers other than Internet Explorer on the platform.

“The initial releases of Chrome in Metro mode will include integration with the basic Windows 8 system functionality, such as charms and snap view,” he said. “Over the next few months, we’ll be smoothing out the UI on Metro and improving touch support, so please feel free to file bugs. We’re committed to bringing the speed, simplicity, and security of Chrome into Windows 8, and we look forward to working with you on it.”

Consumers running Windows 8 Release Preview will be able to try the Chrome browser in Metro mode in the next Chrome Dev channel release by setting it as the default browser. Based on a screenshot provided by Pizano, the browser won’t look any different than it does on Windows 7 or other desktop operating systems, keeping with the standard Google design.

Microsoft is following Apple’s lead by denying 3rd-party browsers besides its own stock Internet Explorer on Windows RT tablets with ARM-based processors. The desktop version of Windows 8 won’t have the same restriction although users won’t be able to run more than one browser in Metro mode at any given time.

In addition to Google, Mozilla is also working on a Metro version of Firefox. The company recently published a blog stating that users of Windows RT also deserve a choice of browsers, and called on Microsoft to remain firm on its user choice principles.

“Windows on ARM -as currently designed- restricts user choice, reduces competition and chills innovation,” wrote Mozilla General Council Harvey Anderson. “By allowing only IE to perform the advanced functions of a modern Web browser, third-party browsers are effectively excluded from the platform. This matters for users of today’s tablets and tomorrow’s PCs.”

“Because Windows on ARM relies upon so many traditional Windows assets, including brand, code, footprint, and experience, the decision to exclude other browsers may also have antitrust implications,” Anderson added.

Sounds like a threat, doesn’t it?

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