Google to announce Chrome-flavored netbook next week

Summary:Despite readying a big push of Android-based tablets with its new update to that OS (the forthcoming version 2.3, a.

Despite readying a big push of Android-based tablets with its new update to that OS (the forthcoming version 2.3, a.k.a. Gingerbread), Google is also working hard on turning its Chrome browser platform into a full-fledged OS for devices. Engadget has learned that the tech titan is planning to launch a new netbook using the Chrome OS with an event next Tuesday.

Details are pretty scarce at this point, but the portable will be Intel Atom-powered and roll out first to Google "friends and family." It will likely include access to the new Chrome Web Store for apps that the search giant is also expected to introduce at the same event.

Google has taken pains to differentiate between Android and Chrome as operating systems, though you'd be excused if you couldn't discern that great a difference. The company appears to be tracking Chrome toward more traditional computing systems like laptops and possibly desktops. It aims to replace the traditional Windows approach of storing your data and software on a hard drive with one that puts everything in the "cloud" instead.

Oddly, Google is introducing its Chrome OS approach with a category of devices that may be in a sales decline thanks to the tablet onslaught. Perhaps the company is suggesting that with a cloud-based OS, the netbook form factor -- and price tag -- is all you need in a portable computer, as running a browser doesn't require a fast processor, discrete video, and the other accoutrements of a typical laptop. But it better make such a pitch effectively -- and quickly -- or Chrome as a computing platform may be overwhelmed with the great wave of Android tablets expected next year.

Would you buy a netbook running the Chrome OS? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section.

Topics: Hardware, Google, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets


Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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