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Google Chrome laptops launch delayed

San Francisco, December 8, 2010

The first laptops powered by Google's Chrome operating system will reach store shelves months later than expected and miss the holiday shopping season as the Internet company fixes software issues.

The Web-centric computers, intended as an incursion into territory dominated for years by Microsoft Corp and Apple, will ship around the middle of 2011.

Google, the world's No. 1 Internet search engine, is holding off launching the Chrome-based PCs until it can fix some software bugs and make sure that the computers are compatible with other devices such as digital cameras, Google product manager Sundar Pichai said on Tuesday.

"Amazing progress, but we aren't fully done yet," Pichai told reporters at a press briefing in San Francisco. "If I'm shooting for one holiday season, I wouldn't be working on it. This is a journey," Pichai told Reuters in an interview after the briefing.   

Once they arrive, the computers will embody Google's strongest foray into consumer and business computing.   

Prices of the laptops have not been determined, executives said when asked if the Web-centered notebook computers might cost less than traditional PCs which brim with storage and processing hardware.

"You will see a variety of notebook price units," Pichai told Reuters. Samsung Electronics and Acer will make the first laptops. Intel Corp will make the processors in the first batch.   

The laptops promote Web-centric computing, in which people use online applications instead of software loaded onto PCs. As part of that effort, the company on Tuesday opened an Internet store selling about 500 games, productivity tools and other software applications for Chrome, carving out a bigger role in Internet media and entertainment. 

The company did not explain how the Chrome operating system would contribute to profits. With Google's Android operating system for smartphones and tablets, Google offers the platform for free, but earns revenue from mobile advertising, which recently said is generating revenue at a $1 billion annual run rate.   

As with Android mobile phones, the Chrome software is expected to spur people to use the Internet more often and search for more things. That could boost Google's Internet ads business.   

"It's in the best interest of Google to continue to provide enhanced user experiences where you're going to be searching the crap out of everything," said Gleacher & Co analyst Yun Kim.

And with consumers increasingly accessing the Web from newfangled mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, Google's efforts to own the PC operating system are an attempt to ensure that its search service remains front-and-center, Kim said. - Reuters




Tags: Google | Operating system | San Francisco | Chrome |

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