Following the announcement today that Google will be launching its own free operating system, Google Chrome OS, the search giant (or should that be software giant) has confirmed a number of hardware manufacturers that it is already working with.

"The Google Chrome OS team is currently working with a number of technology companies to design and build devices that deliver an extraordinary end user experience. Among others, these companies include: Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments", Sundar Pichai, VP Product Management and Linus Upson, engineering director said in a post on the Google Chrome blog.

The news suggests, although by no means confirms, that companies like HP and Lenovo are likely to have Chrome OS devices in the pipeline.

Dell, a company that has so far embraced the Linux OS for some of its models, is missing from the list, as are netbook makers Sony, MSI, Samsung, LG, and Toshiba.

Samsung told Pocket-lint earlier this year that its Linux netbook models have failed to perform to the same extent as its Windows powered machines, citing the general public's lack of understanding of an unfamiliar OS as a possible reason for a high return rate as well as poor sales.

Google has also confirmed that the Google Chrome OS code will be open source and available later this year.

The company describes Chrome OS as "a lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks", for people who spend their lives online and a natural extension of their Chrome browser launched last year.

The company has also said that the free OS will be browser-based, supporting existing web technologies, implying there should be no shortage of developers with the existing skills ready to get to work.

The new operating system is expected to launch in the second half of 2010.