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Google developing own Chrome OS netbook too?

updated 07:45 am EST, Thu December 17, 2009

Google may want reference netbook design

Google may extend its plans for self-designed hardware to include a netbook running Chrome OS, a rumor claims today. Just as the Nexus One is poised to serve as a showcase for Android, the company is believed by more than one source to be talking to a PC builder to complete a Chrome OS netbook based on its specifications. The system would be Google-branded and ship in the same late 2010 window that Google has said Chrome OS netbooks from Acer, ASUS and others will reach the market.

Few technical details are available, but TechCrunch hears the system will make wide-area 3G or 4G wireless a cornerstone of its feature set. A carrier deal with a subsidy is deemed likely. Google has already said that it will have a set of requirements for every netbook that, among other terms, will demand certain wireless chipsets and the use of a solid-state drive instead of a rotating hard disk. Atom is most likely for the processor as Chrome OS is optimized for x86 first and not ARM.

While the unnamed portable would be sold to regular users, it's unclear whether Google would intend genuine competition with its own partners or else plans it just as a reference design; Google's self-branded Android phones, such as the Dev Phone 1, Ion and possibly the Nexus One, have only been developer versions of HTC devices meant as unlocked, easily upgradable tools for developers.

Regardless of intent, a Google-branded netbook if true would mark Google's first entry into producing computers and would risk tension not only between itself and its fellow Chrome OS partners but also Apple, with which it has a longstanding relationship but has also had to create distance due to competitive concerns. The two not only produce mobile operating systems but may also compete in paid video as well.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's pretty amazing how Google is ready

    to flood the respective markets with it's own OS so quickly. Google is really looking to put Microsoft out of business in a hurry with a low-cost alternative to Windows. Microsoft hasn't seen an challengers for years. A company the size of Google would seem to offer a serious threat to Microsoft Windows OS dominance.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I can't wait

    for the inevitable Microsoft counter-offensive. It should be a barrelful of laughs.

    Their initiative against Linux earlier in this decade (or perhaps it was the late 90s) consisted basically of implying very strongly that open-source software is 'communism'.

  1. chas_m




    Assuming the report is true, I wonder how ASUS, Acer and the ubiquitous "others" will feel about Google getting into their game to compete against them?

    I seem to recall Microsoft doing something a bit similar a while back, with disastrous results. I can't imagine the other netbook makers would be too thrilled.

    PS. Aside to climacs: hey, it worked for Sarah Palin. Oh wait ...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More likely

    Google is talking to a manufacturer about using the Google OS on one of their systems.

    Does anyone here really think Google wants to sink a boatload of money to get into the low-cost netbook market, when, just as easily, they could just partner up with others to get their OS out there without the extra overhead (Esp. considering what the margins are in that area).

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: It's pretty amazing

    It's pretty amazing how Google is ready to flood the respective markets with it's own OS so quickly.

    Yeah, they're throwing in a ton of money to try to overtake a market. Wow, sounds exactly what MS would do.

    But where do you get they're "ready to flood the markets"? Android has been available for a while and not exactly reached flood stage. And the "Chrome OS" is still in beta, has no real advantage except being 'free' (and will it be free, or just cheaper?), and looks like the Microsoft Bob edition of Linux.

  1. facebook_Nick

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2009


    Great - Anothe Fanboy War

    You know its already bad that we have Microsoft vs Apple vs Linux. Now we get to throw Google in the mix? Maybe I can profit off this....

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Press release engineering

    ..."Google's first entry into producing computers"...

    Google wastes tons of time, money, and effort on producing reference designs that run their software. But why? Nexus One, for example, competed directly against Google's Android OEM partners' products. And is Nexus One still around? No. Collectors' item.

    I think they do that just to generate publicity. They build a few examples of a "press release" product, then let it die out after it has served its purpose. Google just gives up on it and leaves their OEMs alone. Great business model.

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