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Google announces Chrome notebooks from Acer, Samsung available June 15

May 11, 2011 | 11:57 am

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After a prolonged delay, Google on Wednesday unveiled its first notebooks loaded with the Chrome operating system, a widely anticipated push to get consumers to use online applications rather than download software to their computers.

The debut at Google's fourth annual software developers conference in San Francisco escalates the already heated rivalry with Microsoft and its lucrative Office franchise.

The notebooks, which Google calls Chromebooks, will go on sale June 15 in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, the company said.

The first devices from Samsung will cost $429 with Wi-Fi and $499 with 3G. Another from Acer will cost $349. The notebooks can be ordered in the United States from Best Buy and Amazon. Previously, Google Chromebooks were only available through a pilot program.

Samsung-td-640x485 Google co-founder Sergey Brin plugged the new notebooks, which boot up in seconds.

"Chromebooks is venturing into a new model of computing that I don't think was possible previously even a few years ago," Brin said. "It's a much easier way to compute. Ultimately the most precious resource is the user's time."

Brin estimated that 20% of his company still relies on Microsoft Windows, and said that he hopes the percentage will quickly decline. 

"It's a flawed model fundamentally," Brin said. "Chromebooks is a new model that doesn't put the burden of managing your computer on yourself."

He added: "Companies that don't use that model I don't think will be successful."

Google also announced the launch of Chromebooks for business and education. Businesses will pay a $28-per-user monthly subscription, and students and teachers will pay $20 a month.

Sundar Pinchai, senior vice president of Chrome, said the Chromebooks boot up in eight seconds, are always connected to the Web through built-in mobile broadband and have long battery life and built-in security.

Google also said Wednesday that the Chrome Web browser over the last year has more than doubled to 160 million active users, from 70 million active users.

The announcements came on the second day of the Google I/O conference. On the first day, Google announced services to rent movies and listen to music on Android devices.

Brin said Google considers itself fortunate to have had success on the Web with Chrome and on mobile with Android.

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-- Jessica Guynn

Images: (Top) An Acer Chrome OS notebook computer. (Bottom) A Samsung Chrome OS notebook computer. Credit: Google

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