Google Unveils Samsung, Acer Chromebooks, Coming Mid-June

Google Unveils Samsung, Acer Chromebooks, Coming Mid-June

They've now been announced and they have a date and a price: the first production-versions of Google's Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks are coming as soon as mid-June, from Samsung and Acer. The announcement was on Google's blog, but also at the Google I/O conference running this week and via press releases from Samsung and Google.

The Chromebooks will be available for order on June 15 in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain. More countries will follow. You'll even be able to order them online at Amazon.com, if you so choose, and Best Buy will also be selling them.

The Acer Chromebook will have the following specs:
  • Intel Atom Dual-Core Processor
  • 11.6-inch HD Widescreen CineCrystal LED-backlit LCD
  • 16GB SSD
  • 2.95 lbs.
  • 6 hours of continuous usage
  • Built in dual-band wi-fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
  • HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
  • High-Definition Audio Support
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • HDMI port
  • Fullsize Chrome keyboard
  • Oversize fully-clickable trackpad
  • $349 to start
The Samsung Chromebook, dubbed the Samsung Series 5, was also announced. Here are its specs:
  • Intel ATOM Processor N570 1.66Ghz (Samsung's original press release said it was a Core 2 Duo CPU, which was incorrect
  • 2GB RAM
  • 12.1-inch 1280 x 800 SuperBright Display, 36 percent brighter than a standard display, 16:10 resolution
  • 16GB SSD
  • 3.3 pounds
  • Up to 8.5 hours battery life
  • wi-fi (802.11b/g/n), optional 3G
  • Starts up in less than 10-seconds
  • Resumes instantly from standby
  • HD Webcam, built-in digital microphone and stereo speakers
  • Two USB ports capable of charging mobile phones and accessories, connecting digital cameras and media storage devices
  • Full-size Chrome keyboard
  • Oversized multi-touch trackpad
  • wi-fi only model will retail at $429.99, wi-fi + 3G: $499.99
In addition, and as expected, Google announced Chromebooks for Business and Education. For a relatively small monthly fee, users get Chromebooks and a cloud management console which enables them to remotely administer and manage users, devices, applications and policies.

Also included is enterprise-level support will be provided, as well as device warranties and replacements as well as regular hardware refreshes (though it is unclear what that means). Monthly subscriptions to Chromebooks for Business and Education will start at $28 per user for businesses and $20 per user for schools.


Acer left, Samsung right

These are subscriptions, though, so what does that mean? It means you're tied into a contract. Think of it as a subsidized smartphone, and you'll get the idea. In order to get these deals, customers will be linked to a three-year contract. 36 months x $20 for educational use means $720. For business use, that's $1,008.

Granted, you're getting a hardware refresh at the end of the cycle, and the cloud management console. Does that justify the pricing and the term? Google had reportedly considered a shorter term with a higher monthly fee, but after market research Google found that most institutions never upgraded their machines before three years, anyway.

Finally, offline versions of Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs will be made available for Chromebook users this summer.

You can see a video on Google's Chromebooks, below.

Via: Google
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The idea of storing everything on the cloud makes me uneasy. Given the amount of data breaches, hacks, etc, I prefer to manage my own data and know exactly where it is.

So how does connectivity work on these? The commercial above says you can use it anywhere, but I would think a Wi-Fi only model would be very limited on where it could be used. Did I miss something?

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>> The commercial above says you can use it anywhere, but I would think a Wi-Fi only model would be very limited on where it could be used.

HTML5 apps support local storage and can be used offline.

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This sounds very interesting for education particularly. I wonder if the OS will get leaked it might be something I consider dual booting a machine with. Wi-fi versions would definitely require a wireless connection and certainly would not be able to be worked on "anywhere". Even the 3G capable model could not be used "anywhere".

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I thought this is basically running the chrome browser as an OS. You can just run Chrome on your existing laptop and access the App store to add what ever you want. I will still be sticking to MS Office and if i need access to files on any device I can just use Skydrive. On the enterprise and student contracts I just don't see the value in it.

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You're pretty much correct, JimmyJamesRoS. There are only a couple of minute differences between ChromeOS, and using the Chrome browser for everything on a traditional OS:

1. Much faster boot compared to Windows on the same hardware.

2. Near immunity to all viruses. Plugins in the Chrome browser on Windows can still allow the OS to get pwned (I'm specifically thinking of Adobe Flash).

3. For Google, the added advantage of being able to directly extend/optimize the OS in order to better support the browser - which they can't do with Windows.

The point of ChromeOS is to be invisible, and eliminate any need for the user to ever configure/defrag/re-install anything.

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