Google Inc. previewed the first laptops running the company’s Chrome operating system, machines that will go on sale next month as part of the Internet giant’s challenge to Microsoft Corp.’s Windows franchise.
The computers, unveiled at a Google conference for software developers in San Francisco, are dubbed “Chromebooks” and use operating-system software that is based largely on Google’s Chrome Web browser.
The first models will be manufactured by Acer Inc. at a price of $349 and Samsung Electronics Co. starting at $429. They will be sold starting June 15 through retailers like Best Buy Co. and Amazon.com Inc.
Google won’t make money from sales to individuals but expects to get an undisclosed cut from selling $28-a-month subscriptions to corporate customers and $20-a-month plans for educational institutions and governments. The plans, which come with a three-year term, include the laptops and customer support from Google.
The move, more than two years in the making, comes at a time that sales of laptops, especially small, low-priced netbooks, have been pressured by rising interest in touchscreen tablets like Apple Inc.’s iPad.