Jul 10, 2009

Hardware makers support Google OS

Google has announced which hardware firms have pledged to build machines that will run its Chrome OS.

The search giant said it was working with many firms on Chrome OS hardware including Acer, Asus, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Toshiba.

The software is designed to work with the web and Google said it was most likely to appear on smaller portable computers known as netbooks.

The browser-based operating system will be released to the public in 2010.

Web futures

In a blog post announcing the hardware partners, Google said that the code for the Chrome OS would be open sourced in late 2009. Google said that the software will be free to download and use.

The first netbooks that can run the software will be ready in late 2010. Since Asus launched the first netbook the cut-down computers have proved hugely popular.

Analyst firm Gartner predicts that 80% more netbooks will be sold in 2009 than sold in 2008. However, so far, the small computers only make up 8% of the total PC market.

The Chrome OS will be designed to work with Intel chips that appear in the vast majority of desktop PCs, laptops and netbooks as well as the Arm chips that power most of the world's mobile phones. Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, who both build devices based around Arm chips, were also unveiled as partners on the Chrome OS project.

In a blog post announcing some of the hardware partners, Google also said it was working with Adobe on the operating system. This could turn out to be significant because of the wide use of Adobe's Flash software.

Flash is used to power many multimedia websites but Adobe has been working hard to extend its capabilities via the Air technology and make it more web-centric too. Microsoft is developing its Silverlight technology to do a similar job.

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