Google I/O: Chrome Gets Its Own Laptop Line

 @ibtimes
on May 11 2011 3:36 PM

At its Google IO Developer's Conference, Google Inc. unveiled new Chromebook laptops, which will be entirely optimized and built for web-based activities.

Samsung and Acer have manufactured two Chromebook laptops, which will be available to the public in the U.S. on June 15 on Amazon.com and in Best Buy retail stores. Samsung's version will cost $429 for the Wi-Fi only version and the 3G version will cost $499. Acer's Wi-Fi only Chromebook will cost $349.  The 3G connectivity comes by way of an agreement with Verizon Wireless in the U.S.

At its core, Google is making Chromebooks into an outlet for the Chrome browser and making web browsing easier. We wanted to distill it down to the web. Chrome OS can be applied to various form factors, and we've focused on laptops so far because that's where the bulk of the browsing is, Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome at Google, said during the conference.

The Chromebooks have a number of features which make them ideal for web browsing. There is instant on, which means they take eight seconds to boot. There is an always connect feature, which means the laptop instantly connects to either a Wi-Fi or 3G network upon being booted up. Furthermore, all of a user's apps, documents and settings are stored in the cloud, meaning Chromebooks are interchangeable.

The laptops will also eventually be available internationally, specifically the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. Details on the laptops specifications will be made available by Samsung and Acer.

In addition, Google announced a special deal for schools and businesses to order and rent the Chromebook at a cheap monthly rate. For businesses, Chromebooks will be available for $28 per month. Students will get Chromebooks even cheaper at $20 per month. Government entities also can rent the computers at the cheap $20 per month rate.

Already, 50,000 companies applied to be a part of the pilot program. It has already had a number of early successes.

The city or Orlando is using Chromebooks right now, and in some cases, you'll find 'em within firetrucks and on the street, Pichai said.

Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna

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