Report: Acer May Unveil a Chrome OS Device in Two Weeks

By Will Greenwald

Acer may reveal a Chrome OS-powered computer at the Computex, even though Chrome OS itself simply isn't ready for release.

With Computex Taipei right around the corner, rumors of what hardware will be debuted at the show are starting to surface. One of the biggest rumors is the possible announcement of a netbook or tablet that actually runs Google's Chrome OS. VentureBeat is reporting that Acer is planning to reveal a Chrome OS-powered system at the show. Unfortunately, there aren't any hard details besides the existence of such a device. Even the announcement itself is uncertain, as Chrome OS itself simply isn't ready for release yet.

Google released more details about Chrome OS, and we got a better picture of the company's bold plan for it. It is a very different from other computer operating systems like Windows or Linux. At heart, the OS is an HTML5 web browser. It's basically Chrome as an operating system, with all of its applications based on Google's currently available tools and services like Gmail, Google Docs, and Picasa. It will only work on solid-state storage, and users won't be able to install it themselves; Chrome OS will only be available on Google-sanctioned Chrome OS devices with specific hardware component constraints. This very limited scope lets Google focus on designing Chrome OS to be extremely fast and lightweight, with a boot time of just a few seconds.  
The Chrome OS interface will be very similar to the Chrome browser and Google's web services. It will be mostly tab-based, though it will also support multiple desktops like many Linux interfaces. Users will also be able to peg certain smaller apps, like GTalk, to the window above the tabs, to keep it always visible. 
already-available netbook-optimized version of Ubuntu, Ubuntu Light will be a closed system, without a file manager or individual application installation and removal. Combined with Unity UI, Ubuntu Light will offer an experience much closer to Chrome OS than any Linux distribution.  
Since Chrome OS is a closed OS that will only show up on certified devices, it has several more steps to go before users can start working with it. Unlike Linux distributions like Ubuntu, which users can download and install on their own, Chrome OS depends on electronics manufacturers to go through the production and distribution process before it becomes available. If Acer does unveil a Chrome OS-powered device, that doesn't mean it will be available right away. The company might be anticipating the OS's completion, and is preparing ahead of time to be the first out of the gate with Chrome OS.