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Netbook OS Maker Jolicloud Switches From Mozilla Prism To Chrome For Web Apps

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Jolicloud, the French startup founded by well-known European entrepreneur Tariq Krim that produces a custom Linux-based operating system for netbooks, has just announced on its blog that it will be releasing a solid beta version of the OS later this month.

In a fairly surprising move, the company also announced that it is ditching Mozilla Prism in favor of Google Chrome to power the back-end of its app platform. All Web applications currently in the App Center – more than 600 by now – will automatically be converted to Chrome.

The move is interesting because many believe that Google’s own upcoming operating system, Chrome OS, will overshadow Jolicloud’s effort in a huge way. If that’s your line of thought as well, check out Michael Arrington’s recent interview of Krim on that very subject.

Jolicloud says the reasons for the switch, which was decided upon after evaluation of “different technologies and opportunities”, were Chrome’s speed (courtesy of its V8 JavaScript Engine), better memory usage, support for multiple authentication technologies right out the gate (Facebook Connect, Twitter Connect, etc.) and enhanced HTML5 and Web sockets support, among others.

However, Jolicloud is quick to point out that the move will not its commitment to Firefox, which will still be the default browser.

The startup says the upcoming version of the Jolicloud OS will feature a new desktop mode adapted for all screens larger than 11 inches and be compatible with 100% of Intel-based netbooks (see second screenshot below). In addition, an entirely new release of Jolicloud Express for easy installation on Windows netbooks is on its way.

(Full disclosure: Krim will be showing off the new version of Jolicloud next week at Plugg, a conference I organize. I didn’t know that for sure until after his blog post went up).

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