Google unveiled the first laptops to run Chrome OS, a new subscription-based model for selling the Chromebooks this week. The company also launched Android 3.1 for tablets and made a number of updates to the Android Market. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the news to come out of the Google I/O conference this week, fear not. We’ve got a roundup of the top stories all in one place.
- Acer and Samsung will offer the first two notebooks running Google Chrome OS starting June 15th, for $349 and up.
- Samsung officially released detailed specifications for the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook.
- Amazon has already put together a web store for Chromebooks, although you can’t place any orders yet.
- Google announced that business and education customers would be able to get a laptop and software service on a subscription basis without first purchasing a laptop. A 3G plan also includes 100MB of free data from Verizon Wireless in the US.
- The subscriptions will require a 3 year commitment and range from $20 per month for a WiFi-only student plan to $31 per month per user for 10 or more users for a business plan with 3G-capable Chromebooks.
- Chromebook users in the US will be able to access Netflix Watch Instantly and Hulu content as soon as the laptops are available.
- Google will not offer an installable version of Chrome OS, but won’t prevent users from compiling and distributing their own versions based on the open source Chromium project.
- Eventually Chrome OS will run on desktop computers and other devices as well. Google teased a Chromebox small form factor desktop from Samsung.
- Google announced that the Chrome Web App Store (for the operating system and web browsers) now accepts in-app payments, and Rovio has launched an Angry Birds web app for Chrome.
- Google Android 3.1 for tablets features hardware graphics acceleration, new home screen widget functionality, support for FLAC audio, and an improved recent apps menu, among other things.
- This fall Google Android 3.1 will be available for Google TV set-top-boxes as well as tablets, allowing users to download apps from the Android Market.
- Google Android Ice Cream Sandwich is due out later this year, and it will be the first version of the OS to fully support tablets, smartphones and Google TV set-top boxes.
- Android 3.1 is already starting to roll out for the Motorola XOOM. It should be available for additional tablets soon.
- Google and a number of phone makers and carriers are agreeing to offer OS updates as they become available for 18 months after a new phone is launched… although the details are still a bit murky.
- Google introduced software and tools that will let Android devices recognize USB storage devices and other peripherals including mice, keyboards, and even exercise bicycles.
- Google will not be releasing the source code for Android 3.x Honeycomb, but Ice Cream Sandwich source code will be released to the public when it’s ready.
- Google has launched a new Music app for Android 2.2 and up. It’s available for download from the Android Market and works with Google’s new beta music service (see below).
- The Android Market website now shows top charts and featured tablet apps. These new sections are also now visible on Android 3.0 tablets.
- Paid apps are now available in 131 countries, and developers can upload apps up to 4GB in size.
- Android users can now filter apps by content ratings.
- Google launched a new music service that allows users to upload up to 20,000 songs to the web and stream them to any browser or an Android device. It’s free while in beta, but you need an invite to use the service.
- You can also use Google Music on an iPhone or iPad through the web browser.
- Video rentals are now available from the Android Market for $1.99 and up. There are more than 3,000 titles available and you can watch them in a web browser or on a device running Android 3.1. An Android 2.2 app should be available soon.