We already knew that Acer was working on a machine with Google’s operating system. Now Digitimes reports that it could ship by the middle of the year. It’s not clear whether this means that Google plans to push up its launch date for Chrome OS or if Acer plans to release a machine running beta software.
This isn’t Acer’s first foray into a Googlecentric netbook. The company also offers a mini-laptop that dual boots Google’s Android operating system and Windows 7. But Android is an OS designed for smartphones (and increasingly for low power tablets), while Chrome is specifically designed for devices with larger screens and faster processors.
If you can’t wait for Acer and other netbook makers to start preloading machines with Chrome OS, you can download pre-release builds of Chromium OS today. Chromium is the open source, beta version of Chrome OS. It’s still a work in progress and under heavy development. But it already supports a pretty wide range of netbook hardware.