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No Chrome for Christmas as Google's plans for the netbook OS are stalled

Google once promised that netbooks would be running the new Chrome OS by Christmas 2010, but that no longer looks probable. Is Android the reason?

Contrary to Google's promise, netbooks running the Chrome operating system aren't likely to ship this Christmas, but we may still see a test version of the Chrome OS before the year is out.

Last year, Google claimed we would have Chrome OS netbooks by late 2010. Reports indicate this isn't going to be the case, with Eric Schmidt stating on the record that we won't see ChromeBooks for at least another few months.

Instead of a shipped device, we might see the OS in beta form, according to TechCrunch. This is very different to what we anticipated, and a little disappointing.

"We are very happy with the progress of Google Chrome OS," a company spokesman said, "and we'll have more details to share later this year."

The Chrome OS is being built as an alternative to traditional operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X, running all the apps you need on the Web. It's built for optimised hardware and solid-state drives, so manufacturers really have to get on board before we see it. But that doesn't look like it will happen in the near future.

Schmidt has publicly stated that the Chrome OS was built for devices with keyboards, while Android was built for touchscreens and smart phones. But there are rumours that the popularity of tablet devices like the iPad has forced Google to rethink about what devices the Chrome OS should be running on.

Unlike other Google releases, which are often continually improved on in beta, the Chrome OS needs to work from the beginning. After all, people are going to rely on it in the same way they currently rely on their netbooks, desktops and laptops.

If there are any issues, consumers will quickly go back to non-cloud-based systems like Windows, which the world knows and trusts. Disappointed that we won't see the Chrome OS by Christmas? Comments welcome.