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30 May 2012, 15:42

Google launches new Chromebox and Chromebooks

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Zoom Chrome OS includes a newly designed user interface
Source: Google
Google has announced the launch of new Chromebook laptops and a new Chromebox desktop running version 19 of Chrome OS, a major software update to the minimalist Linux-based operating system built around the Chrome web browser. Chrome OS, the proprietary version of the open source Chromium OS, is designed primarily for accessing the web and cloud applications such as the company's Google Apps web-based productivity suite. According to Google, the new devices and version of the OS represent "the next step".

Zoom The Chromebox from the front...
Source: Google

Zoom ...and from the back
Source: Google

Chromebox, which was first unveiled at CES in January, is equipped with an Intel Core Processor, 4GB of RAM, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet. The desktop system, which will initially be available in the UK and in the US where it retails for $329, also has six USB 2.0 ports, two DisplayPort outputs and one DVI port. Google does not provide any further details of either the processor or local storage options. However, according to Amazon, the device is equipped with a 16 GB solid state disk drive and a 1.9GHz Celeron B840 dual-core processor.

Like the Chromebox, the new generation of Chromebooks (Series 5 550) is manufactured by Samsung. The South Korean company was also the hardware partner at the launch of Google's latest Galaxy Nexus Android smartphone; previous Chrome OS devices were manufactured by Acer and Samsung. The new Chrome OS laptop has a 12.1 inch screen (1280 × 800 pixels) and is equipped with a 1.3Ghz Celeron 867 CPU, two USB ports and one DisplayPort output. According to Google, the Chromebook also has an "oversized trackpad" next to the keyboard, offering better cursor control. The standard Wi-Fi model of the Series 5 550 costs $450, while a version with 3G connectivity is available for an extra $100.

The new version of Chrome OS designed for these devices already includes the new Aura user interface. In contrast to previous versions, it now includes a window manager, meaning that more than one application's window can be displayed on the screen at any one time. Some new features are still limited to beta or developer versions of Chrome OS, but final releases should be available soon, and will add features such as better Google Drive integration and support for processing documents offline.

The new Chrome Remote Desktop feature means that Chrome OS is now able to access laptops and desktops at work or at home. Google has also "revamped" the built-in media player and photo editing software. Additional apps for Chrome OS are available from the Chrome Web Store.

The new Chromebook with a revised Chrome OS


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