Partnerships with a number of bricks-and-mortar stores in the US and beyond are designed to help Google move its Chromebook computers into the mainstream.
The Chromebook, the Google-developed notebook range with a web-based OS that promises virus-free computing and superfast boot times, is coming to a number of US chain stores this week.
The entry-level $200 Acer Chromebook (which has a 16GB hard drive) is now on sale at 2800 Wal-Mart branches across the US and will also be available at Staples from June 22. As well as the Acer, Staples will also carry the $250 Samsung Series 3 Chromebook and the $330 HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook (so called because it is the first Chromebook to feature a 14- rather than 12-inch display).
Google also revealed in a blog post that Chromebooks will be going on sale at branches of Office Depot, Office Max, Fry’s and TigerDirect in the coming months.
This massive retail push is by no means confined to the US. In the UK, the computers are available at Dixons and at 116 Tesco stores. In the Netherlands, the devices are coming to Mediamarket and Saturn stores while FNAC is about to start selling them in France and Elgiganten stores will do likewise in Sweden. And, "We’re working hard to bring Chromebooks to even more countries later this year. Chromebooks make great computers for everyone in the family—and now you shouldn’t have to look very far to find one. Happy summer!" Google said in a statement.
Chromebooks are a wonderful idea in theory -- inexpensive, reliable computing for the masses, as long as users are prepared to store their files in the cloud and access virtual applications, however, in practice they have failed to catch on quickly, despite more and more computer manufacturers pledging to build devices around the Chromebook architecture.
Moving the devices from online retailers to the physical world will help address that problem. Potential customers will be able to put the computers through their paces and to see how they compare to other superlight or superfast notebooks from other leading manufacturers.