But Mark what's a terminal?
If you're unfamiliar with older computer architectures here's the low down on terminals. Back in the olden days, when the Internet was a gleam in engineers eye's (and even further), most business and educational computer system architectures consisted of one or more mainframes/super servers, and many terminal nodes. Terminals had limited memory and functionality but were capable of directing resources on a heavy hitting server. Terminals were cheap and would allow many users to access central processing systems. Meanwhile home computers (the desktop) were just coming into existence (commodore/ vic20, TI99). In parallel both servers and desktop systems evolved. Eventually, in most businesses the desktop prevailed as a more useful node than the dumb terminal.
The web has captured many of our imaginations. And Google percieves (among others) a user need for dedicated portals to web services. In effect Chrome OS will allow for advanced terminals to one super mainframe of information, the Internet.
Pros and Cons of Chrome OS
The advantages include simplicity in administration, security, and portability for any browser OS system. The disadvantages include a lack of localized resources (minimal local caching), and reliance on connectivity for almost all functionality.
We use a variety of systems: a desktop, laptop or developer capable smartphone. The smartphone merges functionally with larger devices when I can code comfortably on it, Paul Graham mentioned this need recently. My preference is a full functioning OS with an optimized browser. Then I get the best of both worlds.
Quick Top Level Description
If you are new to the Chrome OS, or would like a refresher on the current project vision this video should help you get an idea of the design direction of the Chrome OS.
See an early demo version
This is a longer video (just over 11min) that shows a version of Chrome OS in action.