Google grabbed the news spotlight this week as it hosted its annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco, but nothing shone as bright as its Chrome browser and the Chrome-based laptop the company introduced.
The Chromebook, touted as an always-on and always-connected computing experience, will be offered by Samsung and Acer starting June 15. The Samsung Chromebook will go for $429 in the U.S. for the Wi-Fi only version and $499 for the 3G version. Acer's Wi-Fi only Chromebook will cost $349.
The devices will be sold in the U.S. by Amazon.com and Best Buy. Google will also be selling Chromebooks internationally in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Though the Chromebooks look as if they're pitted against inexpensive Netbooks and even possibly new tablet PCs, the pricing seems expensive given that the devices leverage only Web apps from Google's cloud services. No real software is running on the devices.
Google announces Chromebooks
In other Chrome-related news, Google announced the browser now has 160 million active users; explained how the Chrome Web Store has been expanding and is now available in 41 languages; detailed its in-app payment system for Chrome Web Apps; and announced that Angry Birds is coming to the Chrome Web Store.
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Android, Google's other OS, had a day to itself at the developer conference before Chrome took hold. Google announced Android 3.1, an update to Honeycomb that adds new interface options, lets people plug in USB devices, and sports a movie rental service that works directly from the device.
Google announces music, movies, and more
Another eagerly anticipated announcement from I/O was the arrival of Google's cloud-base music service. With it, people can upload their own music collection and stream it to their devices--including to new Android-powered Project Tungsten devices that send music to a person's home stereo system. The service is in invitation-only beta right now in the United States. For a look, check out CNET's Google music slideshow.
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