Google’s first set of Chrome partners includes several leading laptop makers along with ARM processor firms Freescale, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.
If Google’s list of launch partners are anything to go by, Chrome-powered netbooks are going to make on mighty splash at launch. Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba are all on board “to design and build devices that deliver an extraordinary end user experience”, says Google.
Those netbooks and smaller form-factor mobile devices can be powered by x86 and ARM processors, so it’s no surprise that ARM chimpakers Freescale, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are also card-carrying members of the Chrome club.
Some big names are obviously missing, such as Dell and Intel. The former is odd because Dell is believed to be already working on an Android-powered device that’s been likened to an iPod Touch. But Dell tends to play the safer game and may well be holding off until closer to Chrome's launch, which is still almost a year away.
And Intel’s omission raises eyebrows because Chrome will run on x86 platform as well as ARM. Indeed, Intel has already said it’s been working with Google on Chrome.
“We work with Google on a variety of projects, including elements of this one” said Nick Jacobs, Asia-Pacific spokesman for Intel. “We’ve been privy to the project for some time.”
While Chrome competes directly against the Intel-backed Moblin, which is another Linux-based open source distro for small devices such as netbooks, the chipmaking colossus says it welcomes diversity.
“Our long-term goal is providing hardware for devices with different operating systems... more competition will drive up more innovations and that's good for consumers” said Michael Chen, director of Intel’s Asia-Pacific embedded sales group and ultra-mobility group.
So while a few names are missing from the dance card, there’s no reason they can’t sign up as Chrome moves closer to launch in the second half of next year.