From the H: "Allan Day has written a blog post on the concrete plans for 'GNOME OS' and provided background on the ideas that have motivated those plans ... Day starts by emphasizing that GNOME OS is not an attempt to replace existing distributions. Although the creation of a standalone GNOME OS is part of the plans, the idea is to make that a testing and development platform, and any improvements that come from GNOME OS should 'directly improve what the GNOME project is able to offer distributions.' Many of the drivers for GNOME OS are, Day says, old ideas to improve the development experience, such as automated testing and sandboxed applications, and while the developers could have separate initiatives for each feature, the idea is to work on them as a 'holistic plan' under the moniker 'GNOME OS.'"
A few slides provide more context
. In the works are stabilizing the platform APIs, improving deployment of applications, making everything automatically testable, and probably the most controversial: "The increasing popularity of mobile and touch devices represents a challenge to existing desktop solutions. This situation is complicated by the emergence of new hybrid devices that combine keyboards, touchpads and touchscreens. During our discussions last week we talked about how existing types of devices – primarily laptops and desktops – have to remain the primary focus for GNOME ... At the same time, we also want to ensure that GNOME remains compatible with new hardware. ... We have set the goal of having a touch-compatible GNOME 3
within a maximum of 18 months." The drive toward touch may seem obnoxious to desktop users, but spreading Free Software to a hardware ecosystem that is currently locked down and proprietary seems like a good goal to have.