First of all, the software will be free, which was an easy assumption to make since it will be open source. Like Android, Google will not charge users or device manufacturers to use the Chrome OS.
Yesterday Google said they were already working with device manufacturers to roll out Chrome OS devices late next year. Today they announced at least some of those partners: Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments.
Acer and ASUS are the no. 1 and no. 2 netbook manufacturers worldwide. HP and Lenovo are also large netbook manufacturers. Freescale, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are chip companies that Google is likely working with to ensure a good user experience. What I’d really like to know is if Google is working with these or any other partners to release products off the ARM or Atom processors. A desktop or even dual core laptop running Chrome OS would be a compelling device too.
Google is clearly aiming Chrome at Windows, and focusing less on battery management (Android’s strength) to focus on robust driver support. Users will not be happy unless they can plug any printer, camera, or other peripheral device into these computers and have them work properly.
The other focus is on speed, which is why Google is working so closely with the chip guys. This isn’t going to just be Linux with a browser bolted on. It will be (or should be) a compelling user experience with super fast boot and web surfing times.