First Google Chrome OS Desktop Announced

| May 27, 2011 | Reply

Google hinted at Chrome OS-based desktops at their Google I/O event earlier this month, and now the first one to hit the market has been announced.

Utah-based Xi3 has revealed their ChromiumPC, a small box-like PC that measures just 4-inces x 3.7-inces x 3.7-inches and will be available in multiple colors. It will be powered by a single or dual-core 64-bit x86-based processor and run on just 20watts of power.

Xi3 won the Innovations Award in the Computer Hardware category at this year’s CES trade show for the design of their ‘Xi3 Modular Computer’ hardware, which is what the ChromiumPC is using. The modular design consists of three small but interconnected boards: one holding the processor and RAM; a primary I/O module typically housing the majority of the external communications ports; and a secondary I/O module housing Ethernet, video and power connections.

Flexibility is what this modular design is all about. Even though the ChromiumPC will ship with Chrome OS, users can simply swap out one of the boards to switch to virtually any other operating system. Xi3 president and CEO, Jason A. Sullivan, is quoted as saying:

“The Xi3 computer architecture is designed to support any x86-based operating system, including Windows, Linux, Unix and other open source-based operating systems,”  “If someone chooses to switch their ChromiumPC to run a different operating system, it’s as easy as swapping out one of the three boards inside the computer.”

Pricing has not yet been discloded, but expect it to become available for order on July 4th. Full press release below:

SALT LAKE CITY–Xi3® Corporation today announced its ChromiumPC™ modular computer, the world’s first desktop computer designed to run Google’s Chrome operating system.

First disclosed by Xi3 Corp. in 2009, the ChromiumPC is a version of the company’s Xi3 Modular Computer™ which was formally unveiled in 2010 and named by the Consumer Electronics Association (News – Alert) as an Innovations Award Winner in the Computer Hardware category for the 2011 International CES (News – Alert) trade show.

“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. “Although we’ve been promoting, discussing and working on modular computers for some time, we feel the market is now ready for a desktop computer with a cloud-based operating system like the one offered by Google. If someone chooses to switch their ChromiumPC to run a different operating system, it’s as easy as swapping out one of the three boards inside the computer.

“Historically, the vast majority of operating systems have been installed and run locally on computers. But as technology has advanced and people have become more and more comfortable with using Web-based applications and storing data away from their computer, specifically ‘in the cloud,’ it only makes sense that operating systems will become cloud-based. In fact, we expect that over time we’ll see many operating systems that are wire-bound and require the computer to be connected to the Internet to run, and we will likely support these new operating systems as well.”

Modularity Explained for the ChromiumPC and Xi3 Modular Computer

Each Xi3 Modular Computer, including the ChromiumPC, is housed in an aluminum chassis that holds three small but interconnected boards (or modules), namely

  • The Processor Module™,
  • The Primary I/O Module™, and
  • The Secondary I/O Module™.

Taken in concert these three modules form the basis of what has been the classic motherboard, with the Processor Module housing the microprocessor and RAM, the Primary I/O Module typically housing the majority of the external communications ports, and the Secondary I/O Module typically housing Ethernet, video and power connections.

Unlike traditional computers, however, the Xi3 Computer Architecture makes it possible to change the so-called personality and/or functionality of an Xi3 Modular Computer, including the ChromiumPC. This is done in eight easy steps:

  1. Power down and disconnect the Modular Computer from all external connections
  2. Remove the four screws from one of the honeycomb-shaped and chrome-plated sideplates
  3. Remove the sideplate from the Modular Computer chassis
  4. Slide the three interconnected modules out of the chassis
  5. Remove one of the I/O Modules and replace it with a new I/O Module
  6. Reinsert the three interconnected modules back inside the chassis
  7. Reattach the sideplate to the chassis
  8. Reconnect all external connections and power-up the Modular Computer

“Based upon feedback and interest from our initial proof-of-concept and evaluation customers, we have already begun developing new Primary and Secondary I/O Modules,” Sullivan explained. “We also have partners beginning to develop their own proprietary I/O Modules as well. We expect to have the first of our new I/O Modules available during this summer, each of which will work with the ChromiumPC, as well as Xi3 Modular Computers that run other operating systems.”

The ChromiumPC will be powered by a dual- or single-core 64-bit, x86-based processor, housed in a chassis measuring 4.0- x 3.656- x 3.656-inches and available in multiple colors, including a chrome-plated chassis. ChromiumPC pricing will be announced later this year, with additional specifications announced at that time. General availability for the ChromiumPC is expected in the second half of 2011.

General Availability of the Xi3 Modular Computer Slated for the 4th of July

“Given today’s announcement about our plans for the ChromiumPC, we felt it important to also let our friends know that formal sales of the Xi3 Modular Computer will begin on July 4, 2011,” Sullivan said. “Since the Xi3 Computer Architecture allows owners of the Xi3 Modular Computer to declare their independence from the built-in obsolescence of other computers, we felt that American Independence Day would be a great day to begin selling the 5 Series model of the Xi3 Modular Computer.”

More details about the General Availability of the Xi3 Modular Computer (5 Series model) will be available before the 4th of July.

About Xi3 Corporation
Formed in 2010 and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Xi3 Corporation has brought a new type of computing to the world – modular computing – initially in the form of the Xi3 Modular Computer. For more information on Xi3 Corporation (an ISYS TechnologiesSM company), please visit www.Xi3.com.

About ISYS Technologies, Inc.
Formed in 2002 and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, ISYS Technologies is an intellectual property management company.

{NOTE: The shape of the three-sided single piece casing, the end plate, and the overall shape of the Xi3 Modular Computer, as well as Xi3, ChromiumPC, Modular, Xi3 Modular, Processor Module, Primary I/O Module, and Secondary I/O Module are trademarks and unique trade dress of ISYS Technologies, Inc. ISYS and ISYS Technologies are service marks of ISYS Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.}

Source: Xi3.com

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Category: Tech News

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