The wait is almost over for Google fans who have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of computers that will have the Chrome Linux-based operating system preinstalled.
A new report from Taiwan indicates that the first shipment of notebook computers running Chrome OS are scheduled to be ready to ship to consumers before the end of November.
The first available Chrome OS notebook, which is being called a “smartbook”, is expected to be a Google-branded model manufactured by Inventec featuring an ARM processor. Initial shipments are expected to number between 60,000 and 70,000 units and will be sold through online channels only.
Acer and Hewlett Packard are expected to follow closely behind with their own Chrome OS offerings as early as December. Both companies are currently working with Quanta Computer Corp. to manufacture their notebooks.
Prices have not yet been revealed for any of the models, but are expected to be in the sub-$500 range. If companies have done a smart job of sourcing hardware, using the low-cost arm processor and the fact that there are to be no licensing fees for Chrome OS, it should put the netbook-like machines around $300-$400 on average.
The arrival of the notebooks will likely coincide with the launch of Google’s Chrome Web Store, which will be the one-stop-shop for Chrome OS applications, themes, and extensions. Since the operating system is a true cloud-computing platform, all applications will be completely web-based and not actually installed on the local machine. Developers are able to offer their wares in the store in exchange for a 5% of the application price to cover hosting and processing. The minimum price for applications is expected to be $1.99.
I’m anxious to see one of these smartbooks once they’re released, and even more so to see how well-received they are in the marketplace. There is a good chance that the expected low-price point of the devices could cause a bit of a netbook revival and take some of the market share back from Apple’s iPad success.