Google today dropped hints that the delay of Chrome OS hardware might still have a limited, software-only release in 2010. The company said it still planned a public release this year. The company was "not going into details at this point" as to what that meant, a representative told TechCrunch.
A beta version is considered the most likely prospect, since both the list of bugs stopping a beta and a follow-up of nominated 'showstopper' bugs have shrunk to a small number. Google had previously remarked that a pre-release build was arriving this year.
Regardless, the delays keep Google out of the full OS market until at least 2011 for most users. While Chrome OS can technically run on a number of platforms, Google designed the almost exclusively web-focused platform to run with certain hardware, such as that common to netbooks. The release is eventually expected to have Google intensify competition with Apple and Microsoft as would be making both desktop and mobile operating systems.