Google and Intel announced a milestone marriage yesterday, pushing Chrome OS further along the path that Google hopes will lead to real Windows platform rivalry.
Along with a plethora of new Chromebooks revealed in partnership with big-player OEMs like Dell, Lenovo and Samsung, the Intel endorsement sets Google up to take on Windows like no other platform has before.
Google has already made waves in the education sector, with the low price of Chromebooks making the devices an attractive option for students. Google's programme for getting its Chromebooks into schools is also helping the cause, especially with the devices' relatively small deployment and maintenance costs.
Chromebooks are a hit in educational institutions. Next step... your office! Image: Google
The Chrome browser itself launched in late 2008, and currently commands a 45.22% browser market share of desktops, laptops and tablets while Microsoft's Internet Explorer has a smaller 21.43% share.
These figures illustrate Google's clout when it comes to browsers, and proves the serious threat Chrome OS can make to Windows, echoing fears Bill Gates had of the Netscape browser platform strategy in the late '90s.
Google also announced plans to introduce voice-based features to Chrome OS devices, along with Google Now features. Users' Google Now cards that show up on Android devices will show up on Chrome OS devices.
The LG Chromebase, an all-in-once Chrome OS workstation, was unveiled for launch in the US at the end of May. It will retail at $350 but no word was spoken of a UK release.
The Chromebase's specifications include a 21.6-inch 1080p LCD screen, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage.
The LG Chromebase
Google said on its Chrome blog: "Spring has finally arrived in the U.S. And with the new growth the season brings, we're happy to expand our Chromebook family. Together with Intel, today we're announcing a new lineup of Chromebooks with Intel inside from leading manufacturers Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG and Toshiba -- spanning an entire range of shapes, sizes, colors and configurations."
The Lenovo N20p Chromebook was also announced, as well as a 300-degree hinge-screened Thinkpad YOGA 11e.