Samsung and Acer will begin selling notebook PCs running Google’s Chrome OS in June, as Google presses ahead with its project to position this new operating system designed specifically for Web applications as a viable option for consumers and businesses.
Although so far the Chrome OS had been described as built for netbooks, Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president for Chrome, stayed away from that term, referring to the machines as “notebooks” and “Chromebooks.”
Samsung’s notebook has a 12.1-inch display and in the U.S. will cost US$429 for a model that only offers a Wi-Fi option for connectivity and $499 for one that also offers 3G connectivity from Verizon. The Acer machine will also offer Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity options from Verizon and will start at $349.
U.S. users will be able to place orders for the notebooks starting on June 15 from both Amazon and Best Buy. The computers will also be available in the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, Pichai said during a keynote speech at Google’s I/O conference on Wednesday.
Google will also make available “Chromebooks” on a subscription basis for businesses, schools and government agencies, starting at $28 per business user and $20 per school and public sector user. “It’s software and hardware as a service,” Pichai said.
Those subscription notebooks will be sold directly by Google, and will also be available on June 15, he said.
Google also launched an in-application payment system for Web applications sold through its Chrome Web Store, and said it will only take a 5 percent commission from those transactions.
“We believe that’s a great thing for developers and a great thing for the Web,” said Vikas Gupta, a product manager on the Google Payments Team.
Pichai also said that there are now about 160 million active users of the Chrome browser, more than double the number a year ago.