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Google-Branded Chrome Notebook May Launch In November

Other hardware makers will unveil their Chrome notebooks in December, a report claims.

Google may be poised to get back into the hardware business with the imminent launch of a Google-branded Chrome OS notebook.

A company spokesperson declined to comment, but a report in Taiwan's Digitimes says unnamed sources at electronics component makers tell of a Google-branded Chrome OS notebook that will be launched before the end of the month.

On November 19, 2009, Google said, "Google Chrome OS will be ready for consumers this time next year."

Inventec will be manufacturing Google's Chrome OS notebook, Digitimes says, with initial shipments expected to reach 60,000 to 70,000. Acer and HP are expected to launch their Chrome OS notebooks in December.

Google's acknowledged Chrome OS partners include: Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba.

Google's first venture into consumer hardware ended ignominiously earlier this year when the company decided to stop selling its Google-branded Nexus One phone after only a few months. But this time could be different because computer retail channels aren't controlled to the extent that mobile device retail channels are ruled by mobile network operators.

Google's forthcoming Chrome OS is a big deal for the company and consumers. For decades, consumers have had only two operating system choices for their computers: Mac OS and Windows. There's Linux, of course, but it's never really been a viable option for those who aren't technically savvy.

Google wants Chrome OS to appeal to the masses. It comes at the right price -- free -- but it faces many obstacles, not the least of which is Google's lack of retail success. Against the retail might of Apple and Microsoft and the years of brand loyalty accrued by those companies, Google will have to do a lot more to sell Chrome OS than it did to sell the Nexus One.

Google faces years of evangelism to convince the world that the Web is all that's necessary. And given how quickly the company gave up on Wave, Google will have to prove that it's committed to Chrome OS for the long haul, both to entice consumers and to keep its partners interested.

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