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Xi3 ChromiumPC is first desktop to run Chrome OS

While Google is bringing Chrome OS to tablet devices, Xi3 Corporation announced its ChromiumPC Modular Computer, the world's first desktop computer to run the operating system.

This attractive hunk of metal is the ChromiumPC Modular Computer from manufacturer Xi3, who claim it's the world's first desktop computer to run the Chrome operating system.

Based on Xi3's Computer Architecture, the toaster-esque aluminium machine supports any x86 operating system, including Windows, Linux and Unix. It uses an x86 based processor -- either dual or single-core -- housed in a 101 by 93 by 93mm chassis.

The ChromiumPC integrates three interconnected boards, or modules: the processor module (CPU and RAM), the primary I/O module (external ports) and the secondary I/O module (Ethernet, video and power). These can be easily swapped out to upgrade the machine in a matter of minutes.

Slated for a 4 July launch in the US, the Chrome-powered desktop cube will allow owners to "declare their independence from the built-in obsolescence of other computers". Ambitious.

ChromeOS is Google's operating system where all data is stored online, in the cloud, and programs from the Chrome Web Store appear as tabs. It looks the same as Chrome on your PC, but with battery and wireless symbols instead of Windows' minimise, restore down and close buttons. The first 'Chromebooks' -- laptops running the system -- were announced earlier this month. Google says it's bringing Chrome OS to tablets too, despite the apparent clash with Android.

First disclosed in 2009, the ChromiumPC is a version of the Salt Lake City-based company's Xi3 Modular Computer, a system where processing, memory and peripheral units can be added or removed without disrupting operation.

Xi3 expects the first of the new modules to be available as early as this summer. They'll come in multiple colours and pricing will be announced closer to launch. More as we get it.