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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.

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    (Updated) Rumour: Are Google testing Chrome OS Devices? And will Google throw us a Chrome OS device before year’s end?

    Roughly eighteen months ago, Google Announced a project called “Google Chrome OS”, with a revolutionary idea – with Google Chrome’s browser forming the entire basis of the system, Google Chrome OS has been planned out to be a fully internet-connected, cloud-based system from the start, with everything stored on the internet and retrievable from any Google Chrome device simply by typing in your Username and Password. What’s more, the system would not use traditional software. Instead, Google Chrome users would use online tools for every function of their day-to-day lives – like Docs for Word Processing and other office tools, instead of Microsoft Office; Picasa for viewing Photos, instead of iPhoto; Gmail for e-mail and much more. Google even has full intentions to open a Chrome app store for software developers to dream up other Chrome tools.

    Flash forward to today, and Google is yet to announce any actual devices running the Google Chrome OS to the public. However, Google Chrome OS’s code has long been Open-Sourced, and those with a very technological mind can build it into a working OS for their computer. What’s more, Google has an official Group for people to report bugs they have discovered while using the Open Source Code. It is here that earlier this week, something was discovered that has piqued people’s interests.

    A large number of recent bug reports have made reference to running Google Chrome on brand-new systems, both of which have been referred to only by code names. Two devices have been identified, named “Mario” and “Andretti”. The new discoveries, coupled with mutterings from sources apparently close to Google, suggest the company might release Chrome OS devices before 2010 finishes. However, there is disagreement about whether such a device, if it did exist, would be merely a testing platform and not a definitive edition.

    The rumoured devices are said to be either netbook or tablet-based, with Google branding, but would be created by a third-party manufacturer Google is partnered with, much as Google has done with other hardware products such as the Google-branded Android phone, the Nexus One.

    For those users who up until now have been asking themselves how Android and Chrome OS will coexist, Eric Schmidt – CEO of Google – has lately given some kind of an answer:

    “We don’t want to call the question and say this one does one thing, this one does another. So far the model seems to be the Android solution is particularly optimized for things that involve touch in some form and Chrome OS appears to be for keyboard-based solutions.”

    There would be one advantage to having a Chrome OS netbook, however – with its brutal simplicity, Chrome OS would be blazingly fast – the system itself will load in seconds, rather than the minutes wasted by any other notebook, and then users will see a browser through which applications and data can be used. Indeed, the Mario and Andretti code-names definitely seem to support that Google has an emphasis on speed for the new systems – Mario Andretti is also the name of one of the most successful racing drivers, with wins in Formula One, IndyCar and Nascar.

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