Google Chrome OS computers updated with faster processors

Google has announced new computers running on its Chrome operating system.
The Samsung-manufactured laptop and desktop PCs include processors based on Intel’s Sandy Bridge technology, addressing criticism that the launch models were underpowered.
Chrome-based computers run all their applications through the firm’s web browser and store their files online.
Google has not released sales numbers for the previous range, but analysts said demand had been very low.
Tech consultants IDC said that 50,000 Chromebooks had shipped in the US in the first three months of the year in a market that had absorbed about 10 million laptops over the same period.
An earlier study by Gartner suggested there would be fewer than 300,000 Chromebooks sold worldwide this year.
Google says software updates had helped boost the computers’ speed so that they ran 2.5 to 3.5 times faster than before. Improvements include greater use of the machines’ GPUs (graphic processing units) and tweaks to ensure the system runs Javascript more efficiently.
An upcoming software release will also enable the firm’s Google Drive cloud storage service to act as the computers’ file system, making it easier for users to manage their documents.
It will also allow users to edit Google Documents files when offline. The files will subsequently be synchronised when a network connection is restored tackling complaints that the machines were of limited use when not on the internet.
The search giant’s decision to build in a limited 16 gigabyte hard drive has helped it keep costs relatively low.
The Chromebook laptop is marketed for $449/£379 while the desktop Chromebox is $329/£279.
Low maintenance
The firm highlights the fact that the devices need "zero administration" because files are stored in the cloud, system updates are controlled by Google and the computers have virus protection built-in.