Google’s code pages for the developing Chrome OS suggest that Google and Verizon may be working together on a Chrome OS device. The code pages reveal that Google has been working on embedding support for wireless connectivity within Chrome OS. Most recently, the project has focused on the UI components for 3G connectivity and the management of the 3G mobile broadband account. While portions of the underlying code for the 3G connectivity make passing references to CDMA and even WiMAX, these latest project updates directly reference Verizon Wireless.
The references to Verizon appear multiple times, on two different days, and on two different code pages which suggests that this is not a one time typo. VZW was spotted on a code page that tracks the development of the low data notification options for mobile broadband usage. According to the developer comments under this issue, there is a need to add the following notification:
“Autorenewal Failed: Show notice and link to “VZW Account Management”
Obviously, anyone reading this site will immediately recognize “VZW”, the shortened name for the wireless carrier Verizon Wireless and a term commonly used by the general public and by Verizon Wireless itself. That was only one reference, there are two more.
Big Red is mentioned not once, but twice in the code page that focuses on the UI for 3G connectivity (shown above). There are internal mockups for this newly designed 3G UI located within a “Verizon” folder on Google’s internal network. That same code page contains the suggestion that the activation state of Verizon (preparing or activated) should be sent from flimflam to libcros and then to Chrome. There is also a recently finished issue that enables carriers to perform OTA PRL updates. PRL updates are primarily used by CDMA carriers and Verizon Wireless is the king of that hill in the US.
Though it is possible that Verizon was randomly chosen as a test name by the development leads, it is equally likely that Google is working with Verizon on a tablet device. A previous rumor suggests that the two companies were collaborating on a tablet; perhaps these references are signs that the tablet idea is moving forward with Chrome OS on board. Adding fuel to the fire is the observation that Google has pulled all the offending documents noted above. Why would Google pull the docs if Verizon was merely used as a test name?
Even without those previous rumors and the disappearing documents, the timing for a tablet is also right. Currently, Verizon and Google are on very good terms. Verizon is launching Android-powered handsets left and right and the two companies are uniting together to address the issue of net neutrality. A continuing partnership between the two powerhouses would not be surprising given this close relationship. Plus, Android turned out to be a boon for Verizon’s smartphone lineup; perhaps Verizon is willing to gamble that Chrome OS can do the same for its mobile broadband portfolio? Only time will tell.