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Dell 'in talks' with Google over Chrome OS netbooks

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Dell is "in talks" with Google over Mountain View's still-gestating Chrome OS, an operating system that limits itself to a Google web browser.

"We have to have a point of view on the industry and technology direction two years, three years down the road, so we continuously work with Google on this," Amit Midha, Dell's president for Greater China and South Asia told Reuters.

"There are going to be unique innovations coming up in the marketplace in two, three years, with a new form of computing, we want to be on that forefront ... So with Chrome or Android or anything like that we want to be one of the leaders."

Dell has not made an official announcement, but Midha told Reuters that Chrome OS talks are underway.

When Google first announced Chrome OS last summer, Dell was not on the list of official hardware partners. But in the fall, just after Google released a snapshot of Chrome OS code to the open source Chromium project, Dell engineer Doug Anson turned out an unofficial Chrome OS build for the Dell Mini, the company's 10-inch netbook. And last week, the Download Squad noticed that the code repository for Chromium OS includes some bits that point to Dell as an early manufacturer.

The repository includes three "overlay" files for configuring hardware support during the build process, and one carries the Dell name. The other two point to Acer and HP, both official Google partners.

Meanwhile, Anson continues to pump out his own Chrome OS builds. The latest arrived on June 8. "I really enjoy popping out these images every few weeks," Anson said on the Chromium discussion mailing list. "I can say that the images themselves seem to be getting better and better with each iteration."

Google says that Chrome OS netbooks will arrive in the late fall. The operating system is essential a Google Chrome web browser running atop a Goobuntu flavor of Linux. The browser is the only local application. Dell is already developing tablets based on Google's Android operating system, which does not limit itself to a browser. ®

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