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Google targets online wannabes with offline maps and lightweight browsers

Matt Hamblen | May 29, 2015
At I/O '15, Google exec also touts recent Project Loon successes.

The company has also been working with 10 Android One manufacturers in five other countries: Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Turkey. The phones include features such as an FM radio, dual SIM cards and the latest version of Android.

Chromebooks are also making Internet access in many places affordable for students, offering features such as all-day battery life for under $100. "Chromebooks have incredible traction," she noted.

One of Google's highly publicized and unusual experiments for wireless connectivity, Project Loon, recently hit some milestones, said Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of products, in remarks near the end of the keynote address.

Live tests of Project Loon balloons in New Zealand have shown they can provide LTE speeds of 10Mbps that can cover an area the size of Rhode Island and can be controlled by a single base station. The balloons also can stay aloft as long as 100 days, he added.

"Projects like these are at the heart of what we try to do," Pichai said. "This is why I/O is so exciting for us."


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