Google details the Samsung Alex Chrome OS netbook

Google has released details of the first commercial Chrome OS netbook, the Alex from Samsung - and while the specifications aren't likely to set the world aflame, the inclusion of the cloud-powered OS could shake things up in an increasingly stagnant market.

The Samsung Alex is the commercial successor to Google's Cr-48 testbed platform - provided for free in limited quantities to those looking to try out Google's attempt at consolidating its various online services into a Linux-based cloud-powered netbook operating system. As the first 'official' Chrome OS netbook, Samsung's Alex has a lot to live up to - and the specs, at least, don't disappoint.

According to details released by Google, the Alex is to ship with a dual-core 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 processor - a nice boost over the single-core 1.6GHz chips that are often found at the heart of current netbooks. The device will include 2GB of RAM, and a 1280x800 display - likely 12-inch, although this hasn't yet been confirmed.

The Alex includes integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with 3G - a requirement for Chrome OS devices, which are useless without an Internet connection with which to access Google's online services and cloud-stored documents.

An in-built Namuga webcam will link in to Google Chat for video conferencing functionality, and a Synaptics touchpad provides the control - along with a island-style keyboard for text entry.

The key feature missing from Google's list is, of course, the price - and with Windows-powered netbooks available for under £200, Samsung is going to have to price the Alex very carefully if it wants the device to make an impact in the netbook market.

The Samsung Alex is expected to be officially unveiled during Google's IO conference later this month.