Google has been working on Chrome OS since 2009, but the browser-based operating system is still in beta. Now it looks like a full release could be coming soon. Testers have started to notice that in addition to Beta and Dev channels, there’s now a new Stable channel.
The company uses the same three channels for the Chrome web browser, with Dev and Beta channels offering new features sooner than the stable build — but with less of a guarantee that everything will work the way it’s supposed to. Up until recently there was no Stable channel for Chrome OS builds.
It’s unlikely that any of the companies that have said they’ll bring Chrome OS notebooks to market will ship computers with beta software, so the launch of a new Stable channel is a good sign that we’re getting closer to seeing not just a more polished version of Chrome OS, but also possibly some hardware designed to run the new operating system.
Google doesn’t offer an easy-to-install version of Chrome OS yet, but hexxeh regularly compiles the latest version of Chrome OS code allowing you to run the operating system in a virtual environment or load it on a USB stick.