Whether or not the Chrome OS from Google is going to become a stable of the computing world is still up for debate but one company is banking on it becoming a success by launching the world’s first desktop running the cloud-based OS.
A couple of weeks after we saw the launch of a couple of Chromebooks, Xi3 has launched the Chromium Modular Computer which will run Chrome OS as standard but has been designed to be easily adapted to run any other x86-based operating system. The ChromiumPC is encased in an aluminium chassis, which holds three small but interconnected modules: one processor module and two I/O modules. The press release from Xi3 even goes so far as to give step-by-step instructions on how you would go about modifying your ChromiumPC with different I/O modules. Xi3 indicated that these different I/O modules would be available later this year and that some third-party developers were even developing their own proprietary modules. "The Xi3 Computer Architecture is designed to support any x86-based operating system, including Windows, Linux, Unix, and other open source-based operating systems," said Jason A. Sullivan, president and CEO of Xi3 Corp.
Xi3 are betting the house on cloud-based operating systems becoming the norm in the coming years, believing that “people have become more and more comfortable with using Web-based applications and storing data away from their computer.” The ChromiumPC processor module will house a single- or dual-core 64-bit, x86-based processor as well as the computer’s memory. The small form factor and shiny chrome finish will appeal to those looking to replace the hulking black mass of plastic currently residing in the corner of the living room, but convincing the general public to use a computer without local storage is another thing entirely. Of course we've already seen the desktop PC shrunk down in the shape of the Sapphire Edge nettop.
The ChromiumPC is due for release on 4 July, allowing customers “to declare their independence from the built-in obsolescence of other computers.” No pricing has been announced yet but we would hold that considering the lack of many ‘standard’ PC components, it will be relatively affordable.