We might not have to suffer fake "leaked" screenshots of Chrome OS for much longer. Quoting a "reliable source," TechCrunch claims the upcoming netbook operating system will become publicly available within just a week. Implausible? Not really. When Google first announced the project in July, it pledged to make the Chrome OS source code available later in the year.
As we wrote back then, Google has built the operating system on a Linux foundation, with a new window manager, its Chrome web browser, and not much else. Chrome OS applications will run right in the browser, and they'll be cross-compatible with other standards-compliant browsers on other platforms. In a nutshell, Google aims to provide a fast-booting, secure system "initially targeted at netbooks."
The first commercial systems based on Chrome OS aren't due until the latter part of 2010, so if TechCrunch has its facts straight, next week's release will most likely be a beta. The site expects scarce device drivers and official support only for a "small set of devices."
Of course, Google did announce it was already working on Chrome OS development with Acer, Asus, and HP, which just happen to be the top netbook vendors, in July. Lenovo, Adobe, Freescale, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments are also collaborating with Google on the new OS.