Blump'it: Could a Firefox plugin squash ChromeOS?
Google is positioning its upcoming Chrome Operating System as a browser-based, web-only OS for netbooks. Netvibes founder Tariq Krim's Jolicloud does much the same thing, although it can also run local applications. And Singapore-based company Fusion Garage got a lot of hype earlier this week when it announced that it would bring a web-centric tablet PC called the joojoo to market (despite a threatened lawsuit from TechCrunch and CrunchPad founder Michael Arrington).
But I've been scratching my head for a while, wondering why anyone would want an operating system or device that does so much less than existing options. Sure, if you're primarily interested in using web applications, you don't necessarily need all the bells and whistles that you get with Windows 7 or OS X Snow Leopard. But it's kind of nice to have the ability to save data to your hard drive, edit documents while on an airplane, play video games, or run apps you're used to such as Office or Photoshop.
That's why I'm intrigued by Blump'it. Basically, the company's approach is to offer some of the same features you'd get from Chrome OS or a joojoo tablet, but in the form of a Firefox plugin. Blump'it adds an on-screen keyboard and support for touchscreen gestures to Firefox.
There are also widgets for photos, weather, news, and email. And there's a sort of app store for adding games and other widgets.
Because the whole thing is based on a browser plugin, it should work on any machine that supports Firefox. That includes Windows, Mac, and Linux devices with touchscreen displays. Blump'it is making the plugin available for free if you already have the hardware. But you'll also be able to purchase a tablet from the company's web site.
Blump'it is currently available for Firefox, but the developers say now that Google's Chrome browser supports extensions, they'll be working on a version of Blump'it for Chrome as well.
TechVideoBlog caught up with Blump'it at an event in Paris this week and shot a video overview which you can check out after the break.