CORRECTED – UPDATE 3-Google takes wraps off first Chrome PCs

(Corrects spelling of executive’s name to Sundar Pichai)

* First Chrome-based PCs will have free Verizon wireless

* New Chrome store unveiled

* Browser has 120 million users
(Adds comment on prices, Samsung and Acer comments)

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 7 (BestGrowthStock) – The first laptops powered
by Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis)’s (GOOG.O: ) Chrome system will hit store shelves
later than expected, as the Internet company works out bugs in
a family of Web-centric computers intended to take on Microsoft
Corp (MSFT.O: ) and Apple Inc (Read more about Apple stock future.) (AAPL.O: ).

When launched, the computers will represent Google’s
strongest foray into consumer and business computing, where
most PCs are now powered by Microsoft or Apple systems.

The new Chrome-based notebooks, to be sold initially by
Samsung Electronics (005930.KS: ) and Acer (2353.TW: ), will come
with just 100 megabytes of free wireless data transfers per
month for two years, courtesy of Verizon (VZ.N: ) Wireless.

According to Verizon Wireless, streaming video for 2
minutes every day amounts to 260 megabytes of data downloads
over a month.

They are designed to promote Web-centric computing, in
which consumers employ online applications instead of working
off software on PCs.

To drive that, the company started up on Tuesday an
Internet store selling some 500 games, news and other software
applications for Chrome, carving out a bigger role in the next
generation of Internet media and entertainment.

Executives said Google would leave retail prices to
manufacturers to set. The company did not say how the Chrome
operating system would contribute to its profit.

On its official blog, Google said it had decided to hold
back launching the widely anticipated series of Chrome-based
PCs until any bugs had been worked out.

“Amazing progress, but we aren’t fully done yet,” Chrome
product manager Sundar Pichai told reporters at the launch
event in downtown San Francisco.

BLACK IS BACK

More PC manufacturers will come on board eventually,
executives said without identifying any.

Google has begun a pilot program under which it will
distribute prototype Chrome-based laptops to schools, select
businesses, developers and other qualified users with the
intent of collecting feedback.

The all-black “CR 48” prototypes come with 12.1 inch
screens, 3G connectivity and webcams but do not have any logos
or branding whatsoever.

“We’re not done yet, but Chrome OS is at the stage where we
need feedback from real users. Some of the features of Chrome
OS require new hardware, but we didn’t want to sell pre-beta
computers,” the company said on its official blog.

Apple, maker of iPhone and iPad and one of Google’s
competitors, said in October that it would open an applications
store for its own Macintosh computers, as it tries to replicate
the success of apps sold for its iPhone. That store is expected
to go live early next year. [ID:nN20223300]

Electronic Arts (ERTS.O: ) demonstrated a game that is due to
go on sale on the Chrome software store later on Tuesday. The
online store will also sell applications to run news.

Google executives also told a news conference in San
Francisco that the Chrome Internet browser, on which the
similarly named operating system is based, has 120 million
users. In May, it had 70 million.

Shares in Google were up 1.4 percent at $586.68 in late
afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic and Edwin Chan, editing by
Robert MacMillan, Bernard Orr)

CORRECTED – UPDATE 3-Google takes wraps off first Chrome PCs