The theme was “the web is what you make of it.”
Chrome is also huge
Yesterday, we got Android numbers. Today it was all Chrome. And … wow.
Chrome now has 160 million active users, up from 70 million one year ago.
Chrome is on a 6-week dev cycle, so while version 4 was new as of last year’s show, this year we’re at the beta version of Chrome 12.
Chrome web store
Users have installed over 70 million web apps through the Chrome web store. Now, Google is adding in-app purchases and will take only a 5 percent flat fee. (This compares to Apple’s norm of 30 percent in the mobile world.)
Angry Birds is now available on Chrome for free. I recommend grabbing this. It can be played in HD if you have the hardware and has some Chrome-only levels.
As one of the presenters noted, “People spend most of their time using a PC on the web. That's why we made Chrome OS.” There will be a variety of form factors for Chrome OS devices, though Google is primarily focused on the notebook form factor for now (renamed to “Chromebook”) and, for those with bigger monitor needs, a new Mac-mini-style “Chromebox.”
Chromebook (and Chromebox) is different from a PC because of instant on, it’s always connected, all day battery, you can access your stuff anywhere (sort of a new feature), it (automatically) gets better over time, and security is built-in.
Last year’s release of the Cr-48 Chromebook was discussed. They’ve made some improvements based on the experience and on feedback: better trackpad, for example, and a dual core (albeit Atom) processor.
The big deal, I think, is the software improvement stuff. Access to local storage with a file manager. Support for various file types built in with an extensibility model for third party services: Photos, music, movies, documents and so on with the requisite Picasa and Google Docs support. It will support the just-announced movie rental and Music services.
Also, offline use is coming by this summer to Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs, and I have to think this was one of the big customer requests. Google is using this internally now.
Best Buy and Amazon.com will be selling three different Chromebooks starting on June 15, two by Samsung (one Wi-Fi only, one with 3G too) and one by Acer. Both offer 8 sec boot and instant on, the Samsungs have an 8 hour battery and a 12.1 inch screen, the Acer lands at 6.5 hour battery and 11.6 inch screen. (The Samsung can have a white or black cover, your choice at purchase.)
Pricing: $429 for Wi-Fi, $499 for 3G on the Samsung, $349 and up for the Acer.
These devices will also be sold in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and Italy, also on June 15.
Businesses and educational institutions will have subscription pricing available with central management of devices, users, apps, and policies. “It’s hardware and software packaged together as a service.” Pricing seems reasonable: $20 per use per month for educational (and government) and $28 per user per month for businesses.