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May 15, 2011

Google announces Chromebook and monthly subscriptions for Chromebooks

The second day of Google's annual Google I/O developer conference was all about Chrome.

Samsung and Acer will each be offering Chromebook notebooks starting June 15. The Samsung Chromebook will cost $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 available for sale in the U.S. from Amazon and Best Buy.

Google also unveiled a subscription program for businesses and schools to get Chromebooks. For businesses the cost is $28 per machine per month. And for schools, the cost is $20 per machine per month. The subscription fee includes the hardware, administrative support, hardware upgrades, and warranty.



Google also made several other notable announcements:

* The Chrome browser now has 160 million active users. In the past year, Chrome has more than doubled its user base, growing from 70 million active users in 2010 to 160 million users this year. Google has also switched to a six-week release cycle to get features to Web developers sooner. This week, Chrome 12 entered beta.

* The Chrome Web Store has also been expanding and is now available in 41 languages along with several more countries.

* Google detailed its in-app payment system for Chrome Web Apps. It's giving developers easy tools to develop the payments, and it's also allowing developers to keep 95 percent of the sale price of their apps. Google is taking only a 5 percent cut.

* The popular mobile game Angry Birds, by Rovio, is also coming to the Chrome Web Store, as it makes its debut as a Web game.



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