A Dell executive has revealed that the company is in talks with Google and is exploring the possibility of shipping netbooks with Chrome OS, the search giant's cloud-centric Linux-based mobile operating system. The news reflects Dell's interest in experimenting with new platforms.
Dell has experimented with desktop Linux, but hasn't really committed to the platform in the consumer space. The company shipped quite a few Linux-based netbooks prior to the release of Windows 7, but no longer actively markets Linux to netbook customers. If you know exactly where to look on Dell's website, you can still find several computers that are offered with Ubuntu preinstalled. Dell doesn't promote these systems, however, and does not make them easily discoverable to regular consumers. Dell's current desktop Linux offerings are largely intended for Linux enthusiasts.
Dell is preparing to launch its 5-inch Streak tablet in the European market with Google's Android handheld platform. Dell could potentially be looking to expand its relationship with Google and might view Chrome OS as a more mainstream option than Ubuntu for Linux netbooks. Dell will likely test the waters with a limited offering of Chrome OS systems, much like it did with Moblin when the Intel-backed platform first arrived.
Amit Midha, the president of Dell's Greater China and South Asia unit, recently told Reuters that Dell is experimenting in order to stay ahead of the curve. The company wants to make sure that it won't get left behind if emerging platforms like Android or Chrome OS start to gain traction.
Due to arrive on hardware later this year, Chrome OS is starting to attract interest from some hardware vendors. Some evidence from the Chrome OS version control repositories suggests that Dell, Acer, and HP are all jumping on the bandwagon in some capacity.
- Reuters (reuters.com)