Google launches cheapest Chromebooks yet

Google launches cheapest Chromebooks yet
This product image provided by Microsoft shows the company's new Surface 3 tablet. Microsoft is making the cheaper version of its Surface Pro 3 tablet computer in an effort to reach more people. (AP Photo/Microsoft)

Google is unveiling its cheapest Chromebook laptops yet, two versions priced at $149 aimed at undercutting Microsoft's Windows franchise and gaining an even stronger hold in school and overseas markets.

Google began working with various PC manufacturers to design the lightweight laptops in 2011. The newest versions are made by Hisense and Haier. Hisense's Chromebook can be ordered beginning Tuesday at and Haier's version can be bought at

Their arrival coincides with Microsoft's rollout of a lower-priced Surface tablet in a bid to expand its .

Unlike most computers, Chromebooks don't have a . Instead, they function as terminals dependent on an Internet connection to get most work done. Despite those limitations, Chromebooks have been steadily gaining in popularity, particularly in schools.

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