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All JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores will soon begin carrying Google’s low-cost Chromebook laptops, Google has announced. The Aussie retail chains are among 6600 stores worldwide expected to be carrying the cloud-connected laptops, Google says.

That’s three times the number of stores that previously stocked the Chromebooks.



Amazon and Best Buy stores have been offering Chromebooks for the US market since June 2012. From this week, some 2800 Walmart locations have begun stocking them too, in what could be Google’s most significant retail partnership for the browser-based devices to date.



In the UK, 116 Tesco locations began selling Chromebooks this week, in addition to the Dixons stores that were already carrying them.



One thing customers still won’t be able to buy in most stores is the flagship model – the Chromebook Pixel – with hardware specs including a 12.85-inch, 2560-by-1700 display. It can be bought for US$1300 direct from Google.



Entry-level models, such as the Acer Chromebook, sell in the USA from US$199, though better equipped versions go as high as $499.



The Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS, and mainly operate while connected to the Internet. Applications and documents are mostly stored on Google’s servers, doing away with the need for the Chromebooks to be equipped with large hard drives – and hence lowering the price. Makers include Samsung, Acer, H-P and Lenovo.


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