We've already seen Google's Chrome OS. Now, it plays nice with USB storage and devices. And finally, there's hardware you can get your hands on.
When Google announced the OS, all they had to demonstrate the truest form of Chrome OS on was their CR-48 reference prototype, which was never intended for sale. It was attractively minimal, but didn't pack much of a punch when it came to its guts. Acer and Samsung have stepped in to solve this problem.
Better hardware. Trackpads are now multitouch and don't suck. Intel Atom processors running at 1.66GHz are now used. Startup time takes eight seconds. And devices now connect to Chrome OS. If you plug in a camera or thumbdrive, you can manage files or play media files. And Chrome OS will now let you run Gmail offline.
Samsung's Chromebook have a 12-inch screen with a battery that lasts 8.5 hours. The Wi-Fi model will cost $US429 and the 3G model will cost $US499. According to Samsung reps, it is 0.79 inches thick, has a 16:10 SuperBright display (that's 36 per cent brighter than standard displays) and a full-sized keyboard. Plus it has all the usual crap, like an SD card reader, webcam, stereo speakers and two USB ports.
Acer's Chromebook has an 11.6-inch screen, has a battery that will last 6.5 hours and cost $US349. Both the Samsung and Acer Chromebooks will be available on June 15.
Additionally, Google announced a Chromebox, a small, low-power desktop device intended for the business world. Like the Chromebooks, it runs Chrome OS, but comes with a bunch of utilities for system administrators. Google also teased a new reference Chromebook for developers (meaning you can't buy it) that will feature the new hardware specs. Like the two consumer models, it will be shipped out on June 15 to those at the conference. [Google IO]