At the end of last year, Google sent out around 60,000 Cr-48 laptops running its web-based Chrome OS for testing promising consumer models in the middle of this year – and it has kept that promise.
At Google I/O in San Francisco, Google has launched two new laptops which will run Chrome OS, calling the new machines Chromebooks. The Samsung Series 5 and the Acer Chromebook. Both come with standard Chromebook specs including batteries which last all day, super-fast boot time and dual-core Intel Atom processors.
First up is the Samsung Series 5 which comes with a 12.1in 300 nit display with a resolution of 1280 x 800. While the Series 5 is not quite as sleek as the high-end Series 9 we recently looked at, it is still pretty thin at just 20mm and weighing 1.34kg. It will run on a 1.66MHz dual-core Atom N570 processor and has a 16GB mSATA SSD and an SDXC card reader. There will be a 1 megapixel HD webcam, dual band 802.11 Wi-Fi, optional global 3G, mini VGA port plus two USB 2.0 ports. Google are claiming a battery life of 8.5 hours so it will last you all day and an instant-on feature, which promises a boot time of just eight seconds.
Next up is the smaller 11.6in Acer Chromebook which promises battery life of 6.5 hours along with the eight second boot time to get you reading your emails instantly. Again the Acer version will come with the Intel Atom N570 processor, 16GB SSD, 2x USB ports, 4-in-1 memory card reader and webcam as well as a HDMI port. There is also the optional 3G along with dual-band Wi-Fi. Google says it has revamped the oversized clickpad on the Acer, as well as the Samsung Chromebook, which is a good thing following issues reported with the clickpad on the Cr-48.
Both machines will be available to buy online from 15 June in the US, UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy and Spain with more countries to follow. No European pricing has been announced yet but in the US the Samsung Series 5 will go on sale for $429 with the 3G model costing $499 while the Acer Chromebook will be cheaper starting out at $349. Google also announed a unique pricing model for sudent and business users. They will be able to get their hands on a Chromebook for $20 and $28 per month respectively including both hardware and software. Amazon and Dixons online will initially have exclusive rights in the UK.
This is obviously a revolutionary change in the way people use PCs with an emphasis on speed, security and simplicity. Google has announced a Chrome Web Store where people can access a variety of web-based apps. Chromebooks have “many layers of security built-in” according to Google so there is no anti-virus software to buy or maintain.
So will you be taking to the cloud with the new Chromebooks? Does the instant-on and long battery life entice you? Or will you be sticking with the tried and trusted method of laptop use? Let us know in the comments.
Update: The UK pricing and release dates for the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook has been announced. It will be available on 24 June from Amazon.co.uk and Dixons.co.uk costing £349 for the Wi-Fi only model and £399 for the 3G and Wi-Fi model.