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PC makers cautious over Google Chrome OS

Not as upbeat as Google would have you believe

The PC manufacturers who are Google's hardware partners in the Google Chrome OS project may be less keen on the operating system than first appeared.

Most of the PC vendors Google listed on its blog as partners for the new Chrome operating system say they're evaluating the software but have not committed to creating devices around it, a far less upbeat message than Google had portrayed.

"We are studying Chrome," said HP media relations officer Marlene Somsak, by email. "We want to assess the capability Chrome may have for the computer and communications industries, and so we are studying it."

HP, the world's largest PC vendor, said that most of its products use Microsoft operating systems today, including Windows Mobile, XP and Vista. The company also sells machines with Linux for some computing customers.

Lenovo, China's largest PC vendor and the world's fourth biggest, said it is actively assessing Google Chrome OS's development and evaluating it based upon customer value.

"Lenovo continually examines ways to bring customers more product choice and capabilities in terms of features and technologies," said Kristy Fair, in media relations at Lenovo.

Asustek Computer, pioneer of the netbook devices that Chrome may appear in first, also said it was evaluating Chrome.

"We cooperate with many companies on various technologies and we are currently evaluating [Chrome]," said Alvin Chen, an Asustek representative. "We have nothing to announce right now. We're not sure yet if we'll put out any products based on the operating system yet."

Acer, the world's third biggest PC vendor, did not respond to several requests for comment by email and phone.

Google said in a blog post late Wednesday that it was "currently working with a number of technology companies to design and build devices that deliver an extraordinary end user experience". But PC vendors listed on the posting indicate they are only studying Chrome, and are not yet ready to commit to any designs or devices.

The new Chrome OS will compete against Microsoft Windows in netbooks, laptop computers and desktops. Google is developing the Linux-based operating system for heavy internet users, and it will begin appearing in netbooks in the second half of 2010, the company has said.

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