updated 01:35 pm EST, Wed November 24, 2010
Google Chrome OS netbook to get limited 2010 intro
Google's determination to have Chrome OS out this year should include a limited hardware release under its own name based on a rumor this afternoon. Similar to the approach taken late last year for the Nexus One, the PC would be limited to "friends and family" willing to try the beta version of Chrome OS, according to Engadget. Sources reportedly corroborated most of a recent production rumor, where Inventec would build about 75,000 units.
Its specifications aren't known, but it wouldn't be the same as the Acer testing model that has been spotted in online logs. The design would use somewhat outdated hardware with Intel Atom chips using the soon-to-be-replaced Pine Trail architecture. Most details are vague, but Google previously said it requires at least an 8GB solid-state drive and will usually be limited to 10-inch screens.
The system hasn't been given a leaked release date, but Google had promised news for Chrome OS sometime in December. Regular PC builders like Acer and ASUS won't show their hardware until early 2011.
Google hasn't commented on the claims.
If true, the strategy would represent Google's first real entry into the computer industry and the closest it might come to following the computer strategy of its close rival Apple, which produces both its own hardware and software. Google has usually focused on licensing through partners but with Android has usually had a self-branded device, sometimes co-designed, to serve as a reference for others. Chrome OS is less likely to need a reference design but could still need a basic version for developers and its own internal use.