Ina Fried

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Google Taps Amazon to Distribute Free Chromebooks to I/O Attendees

Google has begun notifying those who attended its developer conference that they can now claim their free Samsung Chromebooks — via Amazon.

The company is sending each attendee a coupon code that can be used for a white, 3G-enabled version of Samsung’s Chromebook, as well as a second code for free two-day shipping.

“Samsung is pleased to be able to provide each of you with an Arctic White Samsung Chromebook Series 5,” Google said in the email. “Please log into the Google I/O website by Friday, July 8, 2011 with the confirmation number below and your Google I/O password to receive details on how to receive your Chromebook.”

Once logged in, users can get their coupon codes and order directly through Amazon.

Google’s partners started selling the first Chrome OS-based computers to the public earlier this month. Though the devices are notable for their fast boot time and lack of need for security software, critics note that the initial models cost as much as more full-featured laptops and require a constant Internet connection to be of much use.

Laptop makers Acer and Samsung are the first to offer the Chromebooks. Google earlier teamed up with Gilt Groupe to distribute some of the first models to the public.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus