If rumors are true, the official Google Chrome OS-based netbook may become an instant contender in a crowded market flooded by numerous software and hardware makers.
Google already has sent out request for proposals (RFPs) to hardware manufacturers, and has signed an undisclosed number for the project. Rumors published on the Internet Monday morning indicate the Chrome OS-powered netbook will use an ARM CPU, NVIDIA Tegra GPU, 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM, and WiFi, 3G, and Bluetooth support.
The netbook also is expected to have a built-in camera, 3.5mm audio jack, multi-card reader, and other similar popular peripherals.
In addition to running Chrome, it will also ship with Gmail, Google Map, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and other Google software. As long as Google doesn’t try to limit the effectiveness of other programs running in Chrome, despite some noticeable pitfalls, netbook owners may be willing to use the OS.
Regardless of hardware, Google’s plan to have Chrome be a cloud-based operating system makes me extremely hesitant. Chrome OS is a modified version of the the company’s Chrome Internet browser, which uses an open source Linux kernel. The OS reportedly has made its way to several netbooks already, but this new device being developed is designed specifically for the Google OS.
Dell also has tested Chromium, but said consumers will have to wait quite some time before a Dell netbook ships using the OS.
Release date and pricing obviously is unknown, but is believed to launch for less than $300 during the 2010 holiday shopping season. If the sub-$300 price tag is true, Google is expected to heavily subsidize the netbook.
Microsoft Windows XP is the most popular netbook OS, as Windows 7 Starter edition slowly gains marketshare, though Google anticipates its subsidized, powerful netbook may lead to significant market gains.