Google, Samsung Introduce Faster Chromebook and New Chromebox Systems

Hey look, Google and Samsung are throwing a Chrome OS party and you're all invited. Guests of honor include a faster, upgraded Chromebook model, and a Chromebox that's set to challenge Apple's Mac Mini to a dance off. Both of these products sport an updated flavor of Google's Chrome OS with a new user interface that purportedly makes it easier to find and launch apps, along with other changes that Google claims allows you to get more done and, above all else, have more fun.

The new Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook is a 12.1-inch laptop with a 1280x800 resolution. It boasts an Intel dual-core Celeron 867 processor, 4GB of DDR3-1333 RAM, 16GB SSD, Intel HD graphics, built-in 4W stereo speakers, GbE LAN, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, DisplayPort video output, 4-in-1 memory card reader, 1MP webcam, mic/headphone jacks, and up to 6 hours of battery life. There are two versions available, one with 3G connectivity ($550) and one without ($450).

Perhaps a bit more intriguing is Samsung's new Series 3 Chromebox. This qualifies as the first Chrome OS desktop, so to speak, and will go up against Apple's Mac Mini and other small form factor PCs. It's equipped with an Intel dual-core Celeron B840 processor running at 1.9GHz, 4GB of DDR3-1333 memory, 16GB SSD, 2W mono speaker, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, GbE LAN, six USB 2.0 ports (four on the front, two on the rear), a pair of DisplayPort video outputs, DVI output, and a microphone/headphone jack. The Chromebox is supposedly capable of driving up to two 30-inch monitors and is HD compatible. It's available now for $330.