Samsung Chrome OS Netbook on Tap for Google I/O

Samsung and Google have scheduled an event for a Chrome OS netbook after Google I/O wraps in San Francisco May 11. The companies declined to provide more detail.

Samsung and Google are hosting an event for their co-created netbook based on Google's Chrome operating system after Google I/O, eWEEK has learned.

eWEEK received an invitation on May 5 from Samsung "to join us and Google for a night of firsts following the conclusion of Google I/O".

The May 11 event begins at 6 p.m. PDT and will be staged at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on Mission Street in San Francisco, not from Google I/O at the Moscone Center.

Given Samsung's penchant for releasing Android smartphones, this could simply signal a new Nexus smartphone to accompany the phone maker's Nexus S and Nexus S 4G models.

However, when eWEEK asked a Samsung spokesperson if there would be news at the event, the spokesperson replied via email: "Yes, mobile PC news."

Reached by phone, the Samsung spokesperson who confirmed the "mobile PC" news declined to comment further. A Google spokesperson told eWEEK: "We have nothing to share beyond what's included in the invitation."

It's not hard to connect some of the dots.

Sundar Pichai, Google's vice president for product management for Chrome, said in December that notebooks based on the Chrome OS, the lightweight Web operating system the company intends as an alternative for Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac platforms, would appear from Samsung and Acer in the second half of 2011.

There has been some debate about whether the commercial devices released from those computer makers would be notebooks to compete with existing laptops or lightweight netbooks for Web surfing.

However, the emergence of a Samsung-built Chrome OS netbook has been a foregone conclusion since Engadget and several other blogs began reporting that Google's Chromium Website included a bug report referencing specifications for a Chrome OS netbook, code-named "Alex."

The netbook is reportedly powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor, has a 1280 x 800 display, SanDisk SSD (solid-state drive) P4 of unknown capacity, and 2GB of RAM, as well as a Qualcomm Gobi 2000 3G card, Bluetooth, WiFi, webcam, and Synaptics touch-pad.

Moreover, Google is reportedly pairing its Chrome OS machines with Gmail for $10 to $20 a month as part of a subscription model, in addition to the traditional one-time-purchase retail model.

Google has certainly stepped up its Chrome advertising. The company this week extended the Chrome message to network TV with a 90-second ad that suggests people can store all their personal content in Google's Web services and access it via the Chrome browser, supported by the Chrome OS.

What isn't so clear is why Google and Samsung are waiting until after Google I/O to reveal their work. Perhaps, they're not.

It could be that the companies will show off the netbook during the event, with more exclusive presentations, demos and perhaps even gadget giveaways at a sort of coming-out party Wednesday evening.

In any event, eWEEK will be reporting from Google I/O and the Samsung-Google Chrome OS event May 11.