Chrome OS is expected to be little more than a bare-bones operating system, good enough to quickly boot into the Chrome browser. Google executives have said previously that what they're trying to accomplish is to quickly push the user onto the Web, where users can interact with Google's Web apps and services.
What's unclear is whether Google will launch Chrome OS with any hardware partners, or even launch a netbook itself. Dell has reportedly been in talks to use the Chrome OS, and Inventec, HP, Acer and HTC have all been named as potential launch partners. Google does, however, plan to introduce a slightly larger than usual netbook to accommodate more comfortable typing and viewing.
"Chrome OS is an operating system
which is in early availability and it's targeted primarily at the netbook space today," Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said in September. "Because it's free and open source, people will also use it for tablets. But I think it's too early to say exactly how it'll play out. We're looking forward to the partnership announcements later this year."