Google Chrome OS laptop challenges the traditional PC

Google has unveiled an internet-based laptop running its Chrome operating system, challenging the traditional model of personal computing.

Google has unveiled an internet-based laptop running its Chrome operating system, challenging the traditional model of personal computing.

Unlike traditional PCs, the Chrome OS laptop frequently updates the operating system and does not need any software installed on the machine.

The company claims a number of big organisations have signed up for the Chrome OS laptop pilot programme.

When Google announced Chrome OS, the company indicated customised machines would be ready by the end of 2010, but now says the device will not be available until the first half of 2011.

Google said it had ironed out a few bugs in the software and perfected drivers to make the devices work with hardware peripherals such as printers.

The unveiling of the Chrome OS laptop means the battle between Google and Microsoft to shape the future of personal computing has stepped up a gear, according to the Financial Times.

Eric Schmidt, Google chief executive, has described Chrome OS as a viable third choice in real operating systems to stand alongside Microsoft and Apple.

As chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, Schmidt was among the top proponents of "thin clients", or machines that rely on networks for data storage and computing power rather than running their own software, the FT said.

But analysts have said Google still has a long way to go if it is to make any impact on Microsoft's dominance of the operating system market.

Google will have to overcome concerns about compatibility and functionality, as well as explain how it will support the new operating system, they said.

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