Ever since Google unveiled the Android OS for smartphones, companies have been considering releasing netbooks running it. Today, Google made that unnecessary by unveiling the Chrome OS, which is being specifically designed for netbooks.
This is an open-source, lightweight operating system scheduled for release later this year. The first netbooks running Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.
A Web-Based OS
Google promises that speed, simplicity, and security will the key aspects of this new operating system. It’s being designed to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get the user onto the web in a few seconds.
The software architecture is simple: Google’s Chrome web browser running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. Google says it is completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware, and security updates.
For application developers, the Web is the platform. All web-based applications should automatically work, and new applications can be written for Chrome should also run on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and Google is working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year.
Chrome vs. Android
Google says Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems.