Acer Inc will reveal its first line of high-end laptops running Google’s Chrome OS.
The company announced on Wednesday as the computer maker looks to help Google in its effort to win over business users after taking the U.S. education market by storm.
The new Acer laptops are part of the latest step in Google’s long-term strategy to conquer the lucrative business market, where personal computers running Microsoft Windows OS still account for 90 percent of the market.
Devices made by Acer, HP Inc, Dell Inc and others, including Google itself, have taken nearly 60 percent of the U.S. grade-school market in the seven or so years since they appeared.
Chromebooks, as the devices are called, are known for running cloud-based applications and storing data online. Simple, cheap and with long-lasting batteries, they have become a popular option for students and children.
Google, a part of Alphabet Inc, is pushing Chromebooks because they help draw customers to its cloud computing services and G Suite workplace software bundle – a rival to Microsoft’s Office – both of which are the key to the company’s efforts to diversify revenue.
Google, which makes its own $1,000-and-up Pixelbook, is working with other hardware manufacturers to launch other top-tier Chromebooks this year.
Since August, Google has charged businesses $50 per laptop per year for a management license. Its education plan costs $30 annually.
Chromebooks’ difficulties running complex applications have so far limited their appeal to businesses, but that could change soon.
Acer, which IDC estimates were the No. 2 Chromebook vendor in the United States last year, will outfit its new line with large, hardened screens, aluminum bodies, and Intel Corp’s top-flight 8th Generation processors
Google has improved the capabilities of its software and increased the number of its authorized sales partners by 25 percent over the last year in an attempt to persuade business users that Chromebooks can handle more complex tasks.
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