Google today demonstrated an eee PC netbook running its cloud-based Chrome OS - but said that the software wouldn't get a full release for another year, and would require hardware specified by Google.
Sundar Pichai, Vice President of Product Management, said the Chrome OS would have 'TV-like' boot-up speeds measured in seconds, and would allow users to access their files from any Chrome OS computer, with all data stored online.
Pichai announced that the open source software would be freely available to outside developers but insisted that Google would reserve the right to specify the hardware for Chrome OS devices. For example, all local storage must be solid state, only certain wireless cards will be supported and there will be minimum requirements for the size and resolution of displays.
Cameras, MP3 players and 'anything that identifies itself as a storage device' will work although other peripherals may not. Pinchai says that Chrome OS will use an 'innovative approach' to allow printing.
Google expects most people who buy a Chrome OS device next year to have another computer at home and Pichai said the initial focus is entirely on netbook-style devices, primarily connecting via Wi-Fi (802.11n). Google aims to have Chrome OS devices on shelves in time for next Christmas.