Details for Chrome OS Devices Start Slipping Out

Talk about Google's Chrome OS Project – you know, the Operating System that does everything online? – has been pretty quiet lately, even driving some to wonder if Google were even pursuing it further. This, despite Google's announcement last year that machines with the OS are planned to be released around mid-2011. With that date drawing ever closer, finally some information is coming to light, with leaked whispers about what these browser-based machines will entail.

The latest leak, originating from a bug report on the Google Group, is Samsung's "Alex," reportedly a 10-inch netbook with a 1.5 GHz dual-core Atom N550 processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a SanDisk solid state drive (SSD) on board. The size of the SSD is unknown, but given Chrome OS's emphasis on cloud storage and Web apps, it's a moot point anyway.

Alex is the third Chrome OS device to be revealed and have detailed leaked to the public.

Previously, the blogosphere had been abuzz with discussion of two other leaked devices – a touch screen device codenamed Seaboard, manufacturer unknown; and a notebook from Acer codenamed the ZGB. The ZGB reportedly has an Atom processor and a 1366-by-768 resolution screen, but that's all there is to talk about so far. The Seaboard, however, is a bit more juicy: details leaked so far suggest it's got a Tegra 2 processor, 1 GB of RAM, two USB ports and HDMI output. Speculation also suggests it may include a physical keyboard to compliment the touch screen – this, combined with references to a "lid switch", has shot down most rumours that the device may take the form of a tablet, with most  convinced it will just be a touchscreen-enabled notebook computer – but the hope is still alight, having been driven by Google's confirmation of Chrome OS tablets down the line.

In the grand scheme, these details don't amount to much. Chrome OS is supposed to be a lightweight operating system for browsing the Web, and the specs won't really tell you whether the hardware is adequate for Google's software. Despite these, new details are always interesting, especially considering how little we actually know about the platform as a whole. Maybe Google's IO conference, scheduled for May 10 and May 11, will finally fill in all the blanks. Stay tuned!

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