Dell ponders Google's Chrome OS

System builder giant discusses launching products based on Google's new operating system
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Dell's Asia chief says the company plans to be at the forefront of new devices based on Google's Chrome OS.

In a move sure to knit brows at Microsoft HQ, Reuters reported that Dell's China and South East Asia president Amit Midher said that the company wanted to be "one of the leaders" when it comes to rolling out produces based on the upcoming Google operating system.

To put this in perspective, however, Dell has a history of talking up discussions about potentially incorporating technology from companies other than which it has been traditionally partnered with, Microsoft in this case. 

Analysts came to understand that when Dell spoke about potential AMD products, it was more likely to be a strategic announcement designed to assist the ever sensitive negotiations of volume pricing with its current partners.

That said, Dell has already launched the Dell Streak, a Google Android based super-sized phone or sub-touchpad depending on how you look at it. The Streak is an experimental product category but so far seems to have been relatively well received.

The Google Chrome OS differs from Android in that the extremely light weight Linux-based OS is designed to purely act as a platform to host a web browser with no local storage being used whatsoever. 

With the web browser acting as a front end to a lightweight mobile device such as a netbook or a tablet, applications are then not run on the device at all, as such, but rather run from the Google cloud as web based applications.

It's not clear why this solution will be preferable to the already maturing Android platform and the rapidly expanding library of Android applications available through the marketplace. 

As such Chrome OS is a more experimental model than Android with many question marks relating to user experience with web applications where constant network performance is key. Ultimately the viability of any manufacturer offering Chrome is entirely dependent on the quality of the Chrome and Google application experience across the board.

The concern for Microsoft will be the stiff competition in the new light weight netbook/tablet market which is perhaps less well equipped to run a full featured OS such as Windows 7. 

It is, however, possible that Microsoft intends some form of competition in this space with an evolution of the Windows Phone 7 operating system. If they weren't already then announcements such as those from Dell might well give the company reason to do so.

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