Google has said it will release an operating system for computers earlier this summer "sometime in 2010". It will be called Chrome but do not confuse it with the Google web browser which you may already be using. If not, I commend it to you. It is running on this computer and works perfectly. BUT IT IS NOT THE OPERATING SYSTEM. That is still WIndows XP. The operating system on this computer will become Google Chrome as soon as it is safe to do so, probably towards the middle of next year.
The site, shanzhai.com, claims to have manufacturing information sources that say Lemote will use its existing ‘Yeelong 8089’ netbook, which comes with its own company’s Loongson CPU, as its Chrome OS trailblazer. It seems Lemote will forego their usual Linux distributions and put an unready version of Chrome which is still in testing stage into the machine.
A number of Mainland China’s mobile phone makers are rushing to put Android — Google’s mobile OS — on their phones in order to boost sales and increase profits. No real surprise that Chrome OS would be similarly appealing to China’s laptop and netbook makers.
Using the free Chrome OS would save manufacturers an estimated US$40 — which is the going-rate for OEMs to install Windows XP SP3 — which is a big chunk of money at the low-end of the portable computing market which remains somewhat dominated by two Taiwanese firms, Asus and Acer.
If Lemote’s Chrome OS netbook appears next month, or sometime before Chrome’s official release, it’ll be interesting to see if Google will object, and if consumers will be willing to put up cash for this beta version.
AsiaNet reports the current Yeelong 8089 with Linux retails at RMB2,899 RMB ($425) in China. The illustration on the right shows Chrome up and running. Yes, it is a bit flat and boring but that is an operating system which may well change the world.