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 1.66 GHz are now used. Startup time takes 8 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.
Google's blog offers up some more information on where this thing is headed:
Thanks to automatic updates the software on your Chromebook will get faster over time. Your apps, games, photos, music, movies and documents will be accessible wherever you are and you won't need to worry about losing your computer or forgetting to back up files. Chromebooks will last a day of use on a single charge, so you don't need to carry a power cord everywhere. And with optional 3G, just like your phone, you'll have the web when you need it. Chromebooks have many layers of security built in so there is no anti-virus software to buy and maintain.
Samsung's Chromebook has a 12-inch screen with a battery that lasts 8.5 hours. The Wi-Fi model will cost $429 and the 3G model will cost $499. According to Samsung reps, it is 0.79-inches thick, has a 16:10 SuperBright display (that's 36% 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 $349. 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]