Kogan has just released what it claims to be the world's first laptop equipped with the Chromium open source operating system. In a press release, Kogan claims that while Acer and Samsung announced their laptops first, they are not yet in a position to deliver, and that its own Agora Chromium laptop is already on sale for $349 and is ready to be delivered to customers.
However, the Kogan laptop uses the open source version of the operating system called Chromium OS, which is not verified by Google, but available to (and reliant on) developers to modify and upgrade it. The Acer and Samsung models will be based on Google Chrome OS, which will be supported by Google and will also offer auto-updates and other optimisations. Laptops running Google Chrome OS will be known as Chromebooks and Google will deliver the operating system to OEMs itself, with the first of these laptops to be available from 15 June.
The point of Chromium OS and Google Chrome OS is to essentially turn a laptop into a Web browser (it will look like Google's Chrome browser) and allow users to work solely in the cloud (or the Internet). A benefit of this is that the laptop can boot in a much faster time — as quick as eight seconds.
Kogan founder, Ruslan Kogan, admits that the Agora Chromium-based laptop might be a hard sell, but adds that users are already using the cloud with services such as Flickr and Dropbox. He says "the real beauty is that no matter which Chromium powered computer you're on anywhere in the world, it will appear exactly as you expect, tailored to your needs".
The Agora (model KALTP12CHRAA) is an ultraportable notebook with an 11.6in screen and a resolution of 1366x768. It has a stated weight of 1.32kg and ships with a 4-cell, 46 milliamp-hour battery. The CPU is not an Intel Atom, as can be found in most inexpensive netbooks on the market, but instead an Intel Celeron M SU2300, which has a frequency of 1.2GHz, and two cores. This CPU consumes more power than an Intel Atom CPU.
The rest of the Agora's configuration consists of 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM (Kogan says it's capable of supporting up to 4GB), integrated Intel GS40 graphics (which consume up to 256MB of the system memory) and a 30GB solid state drive, which seems like overkill for an Internet-based device. It only comes with 802.11b/g/n networking and doesn't have a built-in 3G modem and SIM slot, but it does have three USB 2.0 ports.
For more information, visit the Kogan Web site.