Google Chrome OS Might Be Released in a Month

Google's Chrome OS is still on track for a holiday launch, and could be released in one month.

A screen shot of Chrome. (Click to zoom.)

TechCrunch's MG Siegler has been snooping around the bug comments on Google's Code site and discovered that developers recently hit the Release Candidate milestone. The OS is now on version 0.9.78.1, and this number will, in all likelihood, count up to version 1.0 for launch. Another discussion thread has references to a release date, with one employee saying "We will push this after November 11."

In other words, Chrome OS will probably ship or see its first product launch on November 11. Either way, Google confirmed that Chrome OS is still coming in 2010. "We are very happy with the progress of Google Chrome OS and expect devices will be available later this year," the company said in a statement to TechCrunch.

Chrome's Application menu. (Click to zoom.)
Google announced Chrome OS in June 2009, and first demonstrated the concept the following November. Essentially, Chrome OS is an operating system stripped of everything but a modified Chrome web browser, with no installed programs and minimal internal storage. It's initially intended for netbooks, but could potentially work with notebooks, desktops and maybe tablets.

Chrome OS seemed like an intriguing possibility a year ago, but these days, any discussion of the operating system tends to question its relevance in light of Android's rapid growth. I've always believed that Chrome OS has a chance, but I'll concede that it's going to be a long haul.

For Google, the challenge will be to create an exciting enough app ecosystem for Chrome OS and, at the same time, to release hardware that is faster, cheaper and more secure than any Windows notebook. Google is building a Chrome Web app store, with games like Lego Star Wars and a payment system, but that's just half the equation. Without attractive hardware, Google will have a harder time selling its cloud computing revolution.

Question Chrome OS's relevance if you must. I, for one, am still interested to see what Google comes up with.

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