Google Gets Specific About Chrome OS Launch

Speaking Wednesday at the Computex trade show in Taiwan, Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google, said the search firm plans to release Chrome OS in the "late fall," according to Reuters.

Pichai suggested that Google is more concerned about getting Chrome OS working well on hardware than it is about flooding the market with products. "We will be selective on how we come to market because we want to deliver a great user experience," he said, according to the Reuters report.

Chrome OS is Google's bid to offer a simplified, open-source alternative to existing operating systems that revolves around Web applications and the browser. Its initial target for Chrome OS will be netbooks with Solid State Drives, but the company has said the OS eventually could run on a broad range of devices.

Google is working with hardware OEMs such as Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Asus to bring products to market.

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Given Google's OEM focus with Chrome OS, system builders aren't overly excited about the impending arrival of a new operating system, particularly one that's going to compete against Windows and Mac OS X.

Netbooks' popularity has cooled somewhat since Google launched Chrome OS last year, and Google's Android OS is making inroads in tablets as well as smartphones. However, Google says it may merge Chrome OS and Android development at some point in the future.

With a more specific launch time frame for Chrome OS, the race is on to see which OEM can be the first to bring hardware to market. Acer has vowed to achieve this, and reports surfaced last month that the PC maker would launch a Chrome OS netbook at Computex this year.

One of the more intriguing aspects of Chrome OS is that unlike traditional operating systems, it won't come with print drivers. Instead, printing will be handled in the cloud through Google's still-under-development Cloud Print service, which promises to allow any application on any device to print to any printer.

Google is also planning to launch Chrome Web Store, its forthcoming application marketplace, simultaneously with Chrome OS, Pichai said at Computex.

Google offered attendees a preview of Chrome Web Store at its I/O developer conference last month and said its goals are to make it easier for people to find Web applications and to help developers realize the monetary fruits of their creations.