Google’s Chrome OS project, first announced in July, will become available for download within a week, we’ve heard from a reliable source. Google previously said to expect an early version of the OS in the fall.
What can we expect? Driver support will likely be a weak point. We’ve heard at various times that Google has a legion of engineers working on the not so glamorous task of building hardware drivers. And we’ve also heard conflicting rumors that Google is mostly relying on hardware manufacturers to create those drivers. Whatever the truth, and it’s likely in between, having a robust set of functioning drivers is extremely important to Chrome OS’s success. People will want to download this to whatever computer they use and have it just work.
We expect Google will be careful with messaging around the launch, and endorse a small set of devices for installation. EEE PC netbooks, for example, may be one set of devices that Google will say are ready to use Chrome OS. There will likely be others as well, but don’t expect to be able to install it on whatever laptop or desktop machine you have from day one. Google has previously said they are working with Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba on the project.
We’ve seen convincing and not so convincing screenshots of Chrome OS over the last several months. The good news is the speculation is about to end, and you can try it out yourself. If you have one of the supported devices, that is.