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Google Chrome OS smartbook rumoured

Google is planning to do to the netbook market what it partially managed with the smartphone market, with an own-brand Chrome OS-powered smartbook due before the end of the month.

That's the story offered by industry rumour-monger DigiTimes, anyway, which quotes the usual unnamed industry sources as claiming that the advertising giant is working with Chinese manufacturer Inventec to produce an own-branded ultra-portable device based around an ARM platform and running the company's web-based Chrome OS.

While details are hard to come by at present, the claim is that Google will be launching the device under its own brand in the same way as it partnered with smartphone specialist HTC to produce the Google-branded Nexus One.

The sources also claim that the device is due to launch by the end of the month, while other Chrome OS smartbooks from Acer and HP, who have both used Inventec's services in the past, will launch before the end of the year.

Thus far, Google is keeping its lips sealed as to the rumours, although there is plenty to suggest that such a device could succeed where its predecessors have failed, thanks in large to Google's great success with the Android mobile platform. Whether a netbook-like device is a better choice than the oft-rumoured Google Tablet, however, remains to be seen.