SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The first laptops running on a Google-designed software system will go on sale in the U.S. and six other countries June 15.

The release date announced Wednesday means the lightweight laptops will hit the market nearly two years after Google Inc. began working on an operating system based on its Chrome Web browser.

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Since then, Apple Inc.’s iPad and other tablet computers have become hot sellers. The growing popularity of tablets has raised questions about how interested consumers will be interested in buying Google-powered laptops specifically tailored for Web surfing.

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Samsung and Acer are making the first “Chromebooks” with at prices ranging from $329 to $499.

The Chromebooks also will be sold in Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

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