Google in a exciting developments around Chromebooks announced -- new hardware, a major software update and more robust apps. "For businesses and schools, we're introducing zero-touch deployment, more affordable desktop virtualization, and a simplified pricing model," posted Glenn Wilson, Product Manager, Chrome for Business.
Samsung has announced a new faster and portable Chromebook laptop for everyday users, and industry's first "Chromebox," a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office.
"The new Chromebook and Chromebox, based on Intel Core processors, are nearly three times as fast as the first-generation Chromebooks. And support for hardware-accelerated graphics, a built-from-scratch multi-touch trackpad and an open-source firmware stack provide a much faster and more responsive computing experience."
"The new Chromebook boots in less than seven seconds and resumes instantly. With the Chromebox, you can be on a video conference while continuing to play your favorite role-playing game on the side," writes Linus Upson, vp, Engineering and Caesar Sengupta, Director of Product Management.
You can also remotely set up Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, and manage users, apps and policies across a fleet of devices via a web-based console. "This ease of setup and deployment results in a total cost of ownership for Chromebooks that's less than half of that of traditional PCs," writes Wilson.
And, the latest Chrome OS release, lets you push network settings and auto-enroll a device for management when a user first logs in, creating a zero-touch deployment experience where you can ship a device directly to an end user. Once a user is logged in, the Chromebox or Chromebook is automatically configured with the designated apps, networks and settings without any manual IT intervention. Thereafter, you can now control the frequency of OS updates and receive reports on device usage.
The all new app-centric user interface lets you easily find and launch apps, and use them alongside your browser or other apps. "You can pin commonly-used apps for quick access, display multiple windows side-by-side or experience your favorite apps in full-screen mode without any distractions."
And, for those require access to specific Windows software, Google teamed up with nGenx to launch a hosted virtualization solution where you can access any desktop app through the web--at a fraction of the price of current virtualization offerings.
- Get more stuff done, online or offline: With the built-in ability to view Microsoft Office files and dozens of the most common file formats, you can access all your content without the hassle of installing additional software. Google Drive makes it easy to create, store and share with just one click. Drive will be seamlessly integrated with the File Manager and support offline access with the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks. With Google Docs offline support (rolling out over the next few weeks), you can keep working on your documents even when offline and seamlessly sync back up when you re-connect. In addition, there are hundreds of offline-capable web apps in the Chrome Web Store.
- Have more fun: The revamped media player and a built-in photo editor and uploader enable you to easily play and manage your personal media collections. Through the Chrome Web Store, you can access entertainment apps such as Google Play, Netflix, Kindle Cloud Reader and Pandora, and thousands of games including popular games like Angry Birds and console titles such as Bastion.
- Carry your other computers...inside your Chromebook: With Chrome Remote Desktop Beta, you can now securely connect to your PC or Mac from your Chromebook or Chromebox. With the underlying VP8 technology, it's almost like you're in front of your other computers in real time.
Finally, Google simplifed business and education pricing for the devices, as well as for management and support.
"Management and support is now a one-time cost of $150 per device for businesses and $30 per device for schools, and lasts for the supported life of the device. You can purchase devices, and management and support directly from Google or authorized resellers. And you can add management and support to any device that you currently own," Wilson adds.
Starting today, you can get the new Chromebook and Chromebox from online retailers in the U.S. and U.K., and in other select countries over the coming weeks.
Also, to help those who want to try the Chromebook and Chromebox first-hand, Google expands the Chrome Zone experience centers.
In the U.S., Chromebooks will be available to try out in select Best Buy stores in the coming weeks. In the U.K., they're now available in a growing list of PC World and Currys stores.
Here are few more pictures of the new products:
Left - Acer AC700, Center - Samsung Series 5 550, Right - Samsung Series 5
For more information, check out the website, or watch the new Chromebook and Chromebox in the video embedded below.
Here are some more Chromebook videos:
Set Up - How do you set up a Chromebook? Don't blink.
Back Up - How do you back up a Chromebook? Nice and gently.
Teaching Grandma - How do you teach Grandma to use a Chromebook? Very carefully.
Fix Dad's Computer - How do you fix Dad's computer with a Chromebook? When he's not looking.
Installing Programs - How do you install programs on a Chromebook? Sit back and relax.
Virus Protection - How do you protect a Chromebook from viruses?
Sexy - How do you tell a Chromebook it's sexy?
Aliens - How do you protect your Chromebook from aliens? That's classified.
Lucky Cat - How do you take your files home on a Chromebook?
Girlfriend - How do you share a Chromebook? With love.
Boot Up - How fast can you boot up a Chromebook?