HP and Acer bring the first Chromebooks to India

Despite the proliferation of piracy and the troubling hardware certification standards, Internet search giant Google believes that India is a high-growth area for products, with many of its partners interested in the domestic market.

In an interview with The Hindu, Caeser Sengupta, Vice-President, Products, Management at Google, said that many other original equipment manufacturers were “very enthusiastic about the Indian market.”

On Thursday, the company announced the entry of Chromebooks into the Indian market, with India being among the first emerging markets that this particular line of devices has been launched in. “There is tremendous interest in the BRICS countries, so yes both us and our hardware partners are very excited about these high-growth areas. India is a first in this segment, and we hope to grow very aggressively,” he said.

Starting October 17, laptops running on the Chrome operating system will go on sale.

The announcement has been long in the offing given that this ‘made for the Internet’ operating system has been around for over two years in many overseas markets. First off the blocks are hardware manufacturers HP and Acer, which will be selling ChromeOS-preloaded laptops through retail stores (Chroma and Reliance) and e-commerce vendor Flipkart. Both releases, Google insists, come at “very affordable price points”, with Acer’s C720 Chromebook costing Rs. 22,999, and HP’s Chromebook 14 priced at Rs. 26,990.

The obvious advantage here is that all Google applications will be tightly integrated with this operating system, and will probably work most optimally on this platform. The OS is updated every six weeks, a timeline that is comparable to browsers. Google claims that cloud-based products will work offline, which makes it useful given the sketchy network that defines browsing experiences in many Indian cities. Google says that easy computing and security are product differentiators for this OS. The operating system is Linux-based, making it fairly robust, and secure.

“The focus of Chrome OS is to make computing hassle-free. The second focus is security. But we have added to that with multiple layers of security including Sandboxing and Verified Boot,” he said.

Google has also partnered with Airtel and Tikona for cellular and broadband offers.

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