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Sales of standard personal computers are tanking, but the new-school alternative, Google Inc.’s Chromebook concept, seems to be doing just fine. A few days with one of the newest, Acer Corp’s C720, makes it easy to understand why.
Chromebooks are designed by Google and a number of traditional PC makers, such as Taiwan-based Acer, Samsung Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. They generally sell for less than $300; the Acer C720 carries a list price of $250. For that, you get a device with a low-powered processor chip and no mechanical data storage device, like a hard drive or optical disk drive. Instead, a Chromebook runs Chrome OS, an operating system created by Google as an alternative to bulkier software like Microsoft Corp.’s Windows.