By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley
Google has delayed a much anticipated branded laptop powered by its Chrome operating system until next year. Instead of a Chrome OS device for general release, Google announced a pilot programme aimed at people who “live on the web”. Chrome OS is Google’s boldest bid yet to erode Microsoft’s market dominance with Windows software.
Google has already gone after one of Microsoft’s cash cows, Office, with Google Docs. Chrome marks a departure in traditional operating systems, offering a light touch approach to controlling a computer’s hardware and applications.
It also targets users who spend most of their time on the web and are comfortable relying on the cloud to access their data. “We think cloud computing will define computing as we know it,” said Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief operating officer.
“Finally there is a viable third choice for an operating system.” Google’s head of product for Chrome, Sundar Pichai, said the pilot scheme is aimed at early adopters, developers and users who are used to using beta software.
They will be given an unbranded black notebook that has been dubbed Cr-48.
Mr Pichai said there would be no devices on sale until next year simply because the software was not ready for prime time, due to a number of bugs and unfinished features. “This is a profound shift,” said Mr Pichai, claiming that the operating system is Google’s attempt to “re-think the personal experience for the modern web”.
“Chrome is nothing but the web,” he added.
Machines for the pilot scheme will start shipping soon.
Consumer devices from Acer and Samsung are due on the market in 2011. No pricing details were given.
At the press event in San Francisco – in front of a crowd of journalists, bloggers and analysts – Google also outlined a number of features in Chrome OS. Continue Reading…