Google I/O: Finally, the Chromebook unveiled

By Kshitij Sobti | Published on 12 May 2011
Google I/O: Finally, the Chromebook unveiled

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It has been a long time since Google announced that it would be developing its own Linux-based OS for running on netbooks, and disappointingly announced that the disto would not be available for installing on our own computes, as traditional Linux distros are. The OS is however available in source form, and has been made available in installable disk images by the ever helpful open source developer community.

A few months back Google ran a public test on these Chromebooks with the Cr-48 netbook.

Not much about the Chrome OS netbook has changed since the time it was first announced, but  the world around it has, significantly. Netbooks are no longer the center of public attention, people want Tablets, but Google has other plans for that with their Android 'Honeycomb' OS.

For those that missed it, of have forgotten, here is a refresher of what Google Chrome OS, and the newly announced Chromebook are all about:

  • The Chromebook is a computer designed to work with Chrome OS
  • It has a special boot process that makes Chrome OS start fast, in 8 seconds
  • The boot process verifies your Chrome OS install ensuring that it is not tampered with and thus free of viruses and other malware. If there is any tampering, the system is repaired automatically
  • The Chromebook supports WiFi and 3G
  • The Chromebook runs Chrome OS
  • Chrome OS is a Linux-based OS that is optimized to run ONLY the Google Chrome browser
  • Chrome OS does not have any applications installed on it other than the Chrome browser
  • One cannot install traditional Windows, Mac OSX, or even Linux apps on Chrome OS
  • All your work needs to be done online using tools such as Google Docs (office applications), Piknik(Image editing), GMail (email), etc.
  • One can install web apps from the Google Chrome Web Store (now including the popular Angry Birds)
  • Chrome OS is stateless. i.e. since all your operations are performed on the cloud your netbook itself stores nothing. You can discard it log in from another device and have the same experience.
  • Chrome OS keeps up to date automatically
  • Chrome OS keeps your data encrypted so even if your device gets lost, your data is safe.

Starting June 15th Chromebooks will be available for purchase in US, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain, with more countries to follow after that. Devices by Samsung and Acer are available on Amazon and BestBuy.

Google will also offer these devices on a subscription-based model for Chromebooks, at a price of $28 per user per month for businesses and $20 per month per user for educational institutions. "Enterprise-level support, device warranties and replacements as well as regular hardware refreshes" will be included in this subscription model, and so will a web-based management console that will "include inventory management, software application management, printer management, network configuration, status monitoring and reporting."

Check out the a video by Google explaining exactly what this new device is about:

Kshitij Sobti

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