It hit me walking to the metro this week. The iPad is a Chrome OS competitor. It is a closed, managed, internet-based computing device.

It is computing for dummies. No malware to worry about (yet). No updates to manage. No underlying OS to play with, infect or break. It is a media machine. An internet machine for consuming media, composing text, and communicating.

All the joy of the rich media Apple empire at half the cost.

Of course, all of my speculation on Google’s Chrome OS is just that since it is still unreleased. However, I imagine the Google OS is a similar walled garden of Googly goodness. Integrated Picasa, YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, etc in a malware-free playground.

Google is no Apple when it comes to media. However, if Chrome supports Flash/Silverlight/HTML5 then Hulu, Netflix and YouTube can begin to fill the gap. Pandora and will aid music playback in addition to any locally stored app.

The real question is how will these web-dependent platforms do going forward. Is the trade-off of freedom and openness worth the worry-free, managed environment?