Computers running Google's Chrome Operating system won't ship to consumers until the second half of 2011, with netbooks slated to come from Samsung and Acer at that time.
Google is instead making unbranded, Chrome OS-based netbooks available to qualified users, developers, schools and businesses that want to test it and provide Google feedback on how the platform can be improved.
Google officials made the announcements, along with the launch of the Chrome Web Store, at an event in San Francisco Dec. 7. The news is consistent with Google CEO Eric Schmidt's assertion last month that Chrome OS machines were months from launch.
Google Chrome OS is the search engine's ambitious move to upend the traditional PC model cultivated by Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac computers for the last few decades.
Chrome OS is the base platform for the Chrome Web browser, which has more than 120 million users around the world.
Google hopes these users will run Web applications from its new Web store, which includes 500 applications from the likes of Amazon, Sports Illustrated and the New York Times at the launch today.
While traditional PC and Mac machines typically take minutes to boot up, Chrome OS machines boot in seconds, as Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, demonstrated on stage Dec. 7. Pichai also showed it can also put Chrome OS netbooks in standby mode and recover state within seconds instead of minutes.
While Pichai and his team did show off prototypes of Chrome OS netbooks, they were not built by Samsung or Acer, which will determine pricing for their machines closer to launch next year.
Pichai said Chrome OS netbooks will appear from those computer makers in mid-2011, or 6 to 8 months later than originally intended. Pichai said at the Chrome OS introduction event in November 2009 that polished machines would be ready for the 2010 holidays.