Google has announced a new class of product it’s calling a Chromebook. In case you haven’t guessed, a Chromebook is a notebook computer running Google’s Chrome operating system — which is to say, you turn the device on and you’re almost instantly greeted by a web browser.
The company says most users spend most of their time on a computer in a web browser, but PCs typically have legacy hardware that is slow to boot, searches for unnecessary hardware, and requires users to make sure all of their software is up to date.
Chromebooks are always up to date because Google will push software updates automatically every few weeks — and most of the apps are actually web apps which can be updated without pushing any software to the computer.
Google is showing off recent additions to the platform including an integrated media player, a file browser, and PDF viewer.
Chromebooks can also now read data from SD cards. When you insert a card, a file browser opens up to show your files, including thumbnail icons for photos. You can also register with Picasa, Box.net, Google Docs, or another service so that you can send files to online services directly from the local file browser.
Google tested the Chromebook platform with the Cr-48 laptop, and received 1 million applications from users interested in testing the experience, and shipped thousands of test units.
Acer and Samsung will begin offering the first two Chromebooks on June 15th. Students and businesses will also be able to sign up for subscription-based plans to get Chrome OS hardware and software for a monthly fee in June.