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Dell Gets Google's Chrome OS

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You can now get a Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) netbook with Chrome OS. Sort of.

Over the weekend, news broke that a Dell employee had taken the open source code that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) released as "Chromium OS" and successfully loaded it onto a Dell Mini 10v netbook.

"Without a network connection, Chromium OS is not very interesting. With a network connection, Chromium OS shines. The Chromium browser is extremely fast and makes for a great web-centric browsing experience. Boot time appears quick, too -- about 12 seconds from hitting the power button," wrote Dell employee "Doug A" in this blog post.

Dell's engineers are hardly the first to play around with Chrome OS. More than 800 had downloaded the software from as of this writing. And last week, the bloggers at Engadget loaded the OS to a small external hard drive called a USB key, also allowing the software to boot natively.

That's important. Till these experiments went live, those testing Chrome OS were doing so on virtualized systems -- they could neither prove nor disprove Google's claims of fast execution because they were running Chrome OS through Windows, or Mac OS X, or Linux. Enterprising coders have changed the equation.

Over the short term, this isn't likely to mean much. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) won't be releasing a Chromium netbook soon. Logitech (Nasdaq: LOGI  ) and other device makers won't rush to create Chromium interfaces. Neither Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) nor Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD  ) is likely to alter development schedules to accommodate a testing breakthrough.

And yet with this much code flying around on fully featured machines, Chrome OS could see more development than anyone expected.

But that's my take. Now it's your turn to weigh in. Will developers flock to Chrome OS now that Dell and others have figured out how to run the system natively? Please take a moment to vote in the poll below. You can also sound off in the comments box at the bottom.

Dell and Intel are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Intel and Logitech are Motley Fool Options picks. Logitech is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Logitech and Intel and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is looking especially bright and shiny today.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2009, at 10:53 PM, TMFBent wrote:

    "Dell and other developers have figured out how to run the system natively?"

    That's a major stretch, since the guy hacking this together says "Obviously, this image comes with absolutely no support of any kind and is to be considered highly experimental and completely unstable. "

    And let's read a bit more about that "12 second boot time." It's only seconds if we ignore the five to ten minutes to connect to wireless after that -- without which you don't actually have a working "OS" because this thing is only useful when connected to the Internet...

    I move that all of us in the financial media stop reporting on the "Chrome OS" until such time as something actually happens.


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