Google’s Chrome Operating system is due out by year’s end, and now the folks at Digitimes are reporting that the first devices running Chrome OS could ship by the end of November. The site also suggests that Google will launch a Chrome OS notebook under its own brand name. I’d take the reports with a grain of salt, since the story is based on tips from anonymous industry sources. But the news seems plausible.
The Google Nexus One smartphone may not have been a runaway success story, but it arguably met one of the most important goals Google had for the device: It showed what Google expected of a high quality Android smartphone. It’s possible that Google could be working on a branded notebook with the same goal in mind. In fact, a Google notebook makes even more sense than a Google phone, since the Chrome OS platform is brand new and Google might need to show other hardware developers exactly how the browser-based operating system is supposed to work on a notebook, while the Nexus One phone was released after smartphone makers had been selling Android devices for a year and a half.
If DigiTimes is correct, the Google Chrome notebook will be built by Inventec and feature an ARM-based processor. The notebook won’t be sold through retail channels, which could indicate that Google plans to sell the notebook only on its web site — much as it did the Google Nexus One until that phone was effectively discontinued.
DigiTimes says HP, Acer, and other companies are expected to launch Chrome OS noteboks in December or later.