The lightweight open source operating system is expected to make its debut sometime this week, with ‘out of the box’ support for a wide range of Atom netbooks expected.
Google is set to turn the mainstream desktop OS war into a three horse race this week, with TechCrunch
tipping that Chrome OS is about to make its debut.
Google originally promised the open source OS would be released before year’s end, and there’s a good change it won’t even be lumbered with the perennial ‘beta’ tag.
The lightweight operating system is “initially targeted at netbooks”, Google says, and partners in the development stage include Intel, Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba.
It’s therefore not unreasonable top expect that Chrome 1.0 will ship complete with drivers to suit most netbooks, given that these tend to be built around a common platform and drawing from a fairly small pool of components.
Interestingly, this would also extend Chrome’s support to Atom-based desktops, including the wave of all-in-one designs we’ve seen from the likes of Asus, Lenovo, MSI and Viewsonic.
Chrome will also run on ARM chips, opening the door to its use on ‘smartbooks’ with inbuilt 3G connectivity.
“Speed, simplicity and security” are Google’s mantra for Chrome, with the company saying the OS is “designed to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the Web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the Web.”
“And we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.”
The basic architecture is believed to be a Linux kernel which quickly boots into a modified version of the Chrome browser – because, according to Google, “Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the Web”.
For developers writing for Chrome the Web becomes the platform, with Web technology such as AJAX creates the entire user interface. This will not only tap into online apps but also Web apps with local storage, using Google Gears to work in both offline and online modes.