Google is dangling a low-priced laptop computer in front of consumers as rivals Microsoft and Apple prepare to release their latest gadgets.
The lightweight computer unveiled Thursday will sell for $249 and is being made in a partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which also makes smartphones and tablet computers that run on Google's Android software.
The laptop will run on an operating system revolving around Google's Chrome Web browser.
Like other so-called Chromebooks, this laptop doesn't have a hard drive. It functions like a terminal dependent on an Internet connection to get to information and applications stored in large data centers run by Google Inc. or other technology providers.
It's the least expensive Chromebook that Google has released in the two years that it has been working on the product line. Google and Samsung released a slightly more sophisticated Chromebook priced at $449 in the late spring.
The lower-priced model will go on sale early next week in more than 500 Best Buy stores in the U.S., as well as on various websites. Google hopes to begin accepting online orders at its Play store by this weekend.