Finally Tested Google Chromium OS on an Acer Aspire One Netbook: Interesting, but…

I finally got around to trying Google’s Chromium OS web-browser platform during the long weekend. Since I’m too impatient to build it from source, I took a quick look around for a simple binary installation option. The simplest procedure seemed to be the one documented by Liliputing…

How to preview Google Chrome OS on a netbook

It uses hexxeh.net’s pre-compiled binary…

Chromium OS Cherry

…and these free/Open Source tools…

7-zip
Image Writer for Windows

…to unpack the file and create a bootable USB thumb flash drive (I used a 2GB thumb drive).

You can see what the boot process looks like on a first generation Acer Aspire One netbook (Atom N270 processor with 512MB RAM) in my embedded video. The Acer’s touchpad seemed a bit sluggish with Chromium OS. So, I plugged in a USB mouse and got a better experience. Chromium’s web browser is pretty much all there is as you might expect. It seemed to work fine with various web sites I visited. This includes those that need Adobe Flash support such as YouTube. I had no problem authenticating it to my WPA/WPA2 WiFi AP. The configuration information survived rebooting the Acer.

I next tested with an Asus Eee PC T91MT (Atom Z520 processor with 1GB RAM). Chromium OS was too sluggish to use with this netbook. And, as you might guess, it did not support the T91MT’s multi-touch screen feature.

Chromium OS booted faster than Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the Acer Aspire One. However, it was not an instant-on experience. That’s what we’ll probably see in netbooks/smartbooks built especially for Chromium OS.

A web-only device is nothing new. I had an MSN Companion that esssentially provided the same experience back in 1999. It was interesting as a settop box (not portable) for email and web browsing. But, there is a strong need for a good disconnected experience for a portable device. And, I don’t see how Google is going to deliver that given that Google Gears never really worked that well (for me) in that regards.