Online Australian retailer Kogan today launched a notebook running the open source Chromium operating system developed by Google.
Chromium is based on Gentoo Linux. Unlike most desktop operating systems, it is designed to run apps delivered over the Web. This focus on Cloud-delivered applications means the operating system complements other Google offerings, such as its online office suite Google Docs. Google's Chrome Web Store already offers a wide variety of Web-based apps.
"While Chromium is still in its early stages, we know the operating system is innovative technology which represents the future of computing," the company's founder, Ruslan Kogan, said in a statement. "It may take some getting used to for some to operate entirely in the cloud, but the massive benefits for the end user are driving acceptance of entirely web-based services."
"Samsung and Acer announced Chromebooks based on Chromium OS last month, but we've beaten them to market," Kogan said. However, Acer and Samsung have partnered to ship notebooks that run Google's Chrome OS. Although Chrome OS is based on Chromium's code, the Chromium High-Level Developer FAQ explains, "Google Chrome OS is to Chromium OS what Google Chrome browser is to Chromium. Chromium OS is the open source project, used primarily by developers, with code that is available for anyone to checkout, modify, and build. Google Chrome OS is the Google product that OEMs will ship on Netbooks this year."
Chrome OS has some features not found in Chromium, "including verified boot and easy recovery, which require corresponding hardware changes and thus don't work in Chromium OS builds". Chrome OS also offers automatic updates.
The 'Kogan Agora 12" Ultra Portable Laptop powered by Google's Chromium OS' will sell for $349 and start shipping next week. According to Kogan, it features a 30GB solid-state drive instead of a conventional hard drive and can boot in 4.5 seconds. It has a 1.3GHZ Intel Celeron M ultra-low voltage CPU, and 11.6-inch LED-backlight display with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels, a built-in webcam, Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi (but no integrated 3G).