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CNET Update: Chromebooks land at more retail stores

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CNET Update: Chromebooks land at more retail stores

2:57 /

Google's cheap laptops arrive at more stores, Microsoft offers discounted Surface tablets for schools, and AT&T tests free phone charging stations in New York.

It's laptop hunting season and the Chromebooks are coming. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. More Chromebooks are coming to a store near you. Google's cheap laptops are tripling their store presence around the world. And in the U.S., most of those stores are gonna be Walmart and Staples. Walmart is selling the $200 Acer C7 Chromebook, but before you get giddy about a $200 laptop, remember you get what you pay for. That Acer model has poor battery life and a lousy touchpad. Staples will sell better models made by HP and Samsung, but remember Chromebooks have the Chrome operating system, so you can't just install any program on it. It's good if you do most of your work online. Think of them as enhanced tablets. Connecting to a printer can also be a pain. You might be better off with just a budget Windows laptop. But if Chromebooks are coming to stores, a Microsoft Surface RT tablet could be coming to your school. Microsoft is targeting schools and universities by offering serious discounts on its Surface RT tablet during the summer. Institutions can buy them for as low as $250 with that detachable keyboard. The retail price with the keyboard is normally $600. There's a new way to give your friend a birthday gift on Facebook. Amazon Birthday Gift is an electronic gift card you send to a Facebook friend, but the twist is that you encourage your other Facebook friends to chip in to the gift so you give a larger amount together. Friends can give $1 or as much as $25 and write a personal message. For a limited time, Amazon even throws in 3 bucks as a bonus. For all of you eager Blackberry fans out there that bought the new Z10 touchscreen smartphone, you better update that software. Blackberry just announced there's a critical security bug that needs fixing, and if you don't download the latest 10.1 operating system, a hacker could gain access to the phone. AT&T is testing out a new concept in New York. It's called Street Charge. It's installing these solar charging stations around New York City parks to let passersby plug in their mobile devices for a free recharge. The stations have cords to plug in different types of devices, and it's completely solar powered. The batteries inside will hold several days' worth of juice. So it'll help recharge at night, but this isn't a quick jolt of power. A recharge takes the same amount of time as if you plugged it in to your home outlet. So you better grab a snack and plan to hang around for a bit. The units will only be around for a few months in New York, but AT&T is testing this to see how often people use the stations or how much work is involved in taking care of them. Based on the test run, you could see something similar coming to your town. That's your Tech News Update. You can find more details on these stories at CNET.com/Update. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.
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