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Acer's ChromeBook is the cheaper of the two models announced today. Starting at $349 for a 11.6" model it will give buyers a budget taste of the Chrome OS experience.  (Source: Google)

Samsung's ChromeBook is slightly larger and more expensive ($429/$499 for Wi-Fi and 3G models, respectively), but it gets 2.5 hours more battery life.  (Source: Google Images)
Price is a bit steep, but some might find the option of going Google appealing

Google Inc. (GOOG) is looking to finally launch its first laptops running its new Chrome Operating System  (Chrome OS) on June 15.  Two models were announced on Google's Chrome OS homepage, coinciding with an unveil at Google's I/O Conference.

I. The Hardware

The first notebook (or "ChromeBook" in Google-speak) comes courtesy of Taiwan's Acer Inc. (2353).  It packs an 11.6" back-lit LCD screen, an Intel Atom N570 1.67 GHz dual-core CPU, Intel integrated graphics, 16 GB solid state drive, two USB ports, HDMI out, built-in webcam, and 4-in-1 memory card reader.

The small laptop weighs 2.95 lb (1.34 kg) and offers a 6 hour battery life on a fully charge, according to Google.

It starts at $349 USD for a model with Wi-Fi only, or an undisclosed additional amount for a 3G-enabled model.

Slightly more expensive is a second design from Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (005930).  

The Samsung notebook comes with a larger 12.1" (1280x800 pixel) 300 nit display.  Similar to the Acer model it includes a 4-in-1 memory card reader and 2 USB ports.  It upgrades to a HD resolution webcam, and ditches the HDMI port for a Mini-VGA port.

It weighs 3.26 lb (1.48 kg).  Thanks to a larger battery, it can get an estimated 8.5 hours of use time out of a charge.

The Samsung design starts at $429 USD for a Wi-Fi version and $499 for the 3G model.  The slightly higher price seems unsurprising given Samsung's notebooks tend to be pricier

II. OS and Other Thoughts

What about the onboard OS?

Chrome OS is a unique Linux distribution that's built solely around Google's Chrome browser.  Apps including games, word processing software, and more, all run inside the browser.  File browsing and system configuration is also accomplished through a built-in browser interfaces.

For customers, the new operating system may be appealing from a standpoint that it offers a Linux distribution backed by a tech giant.  In that regard it offers the most visible alternative to the Microsoft Corp./Apple, Inc. (AAPL) PC operating system duopoly to land in recent history.  Google certainly has the pull with hardware makers to potentially create a large selection of models in the long run, as well -- as shown with its dominant Android smart phone ecosystem.

That said, many were hoping to get a cheaper, smaller netbook, along the lines of the Atrix 4G convertible, priced closer to $200 USD.  And it would have been nice to get a variant with an ARM processor, as in the mobile sphere ARM processors tend to be cheaper and offer superior battery life to Intel's Atom designs.

At $350/$430 Intel-powered Chrome notebooks/netbooks may struggle to establish themselves amid a sea of Windows notebooks and Apple's high profile offerings.

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By icanhascpu on 5/11/2011 3:14:22 PM , Rating: 2
Why is Google entering the net/notebook market? To test/expand their ChromeOS? I dont really understand the point of another linux distro.

What market are they really aiming for here?
1. Enthusiast?: Can find a better laptop and install whatever OS they want
2. MomnPop?: They are going to want a windows machine so they dont have to deal with incompatability.
3. College kid?: They can rent a laptop for 15$ and have access to the net through their campus.
4 ?

RE: Why?
By Insomniator on 5/11/2011 3:30:03 PM , Rating: 5
Since when does anyone rent laptops from their campus?

This could be a good alternative to netbooks... would be nice if they were cheaper though. If Chome OS can sync seamlessly with your android OS based tablet/phone it could be pretty nice.

RE: Why?
By cjohnson2136 on 5/11/2011 4:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
Actually there is a web app in Chrome Marketplace I believe that allows syncing from Chrome to Android. Not sure how well it works since I don't have an Android when I upgrade phones I want an Android so I can test it out.

Also say your chrome netbook gets crushed, all it takes is to get a new one login in with your google account and everything is back

RE: Why?
By Souka on 5/11/2011 6:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad some schools in my area are switching to a OTPC program... One Tablet Per Child... Tablet = Apple iPad

Computers in classroom and office will be Apple also.

I don't see how the enducational sector in my State will touch this now...that's potientialy 1million K-12 students + faculity and other products....all on Apple

(well, cut that number by 3/4....accounts for the program probably only being applied 3-12th grade and not all districts will/can particpate)

RE: Why?
By brshoemak on 5/11/2011 6:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
Meanwhile, teachers are severely underpaid, many potential teachers are looking for other careers. Even those who take up the profession out of a love of teaching and developing young mind have to pay the bills like the rest of us.

But hey, why not - money grows on trees anyway.

RE: Why?
By wordsworm on 5/11/2011 8:55:03 PM , Rating: 1
Where do you live that teachers are underpaid? Last month I watched the documentary on the American education system (Waiting for Superman) and it would seem that teachers in the US are very well paid, as are teachers in Canada. I'm a teacher, and I can't complain about my income.

RE: Why?
By B3an on 5/12/2011 4:48:44 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's disgusting how many schools/colleges/uni's use overpriced Apple products. Massive waste of money.

RE: Why?
By Shadowself on 5/12/2011 7:30:02 AM , Rating: 2
And what comparable tablets are on the market right now for *significantly* less than the iPad 2?

RE: Why?
By nafhan on 5/12/2011 10:06:59 AM , Rating: 4
The you-don't-need-a-tablet is $500+ cheaper per student! Quite a bargain.

RE: Why?
By Shadowself on 5/12/2011 7:28:23 AM , Rating: 2
I can see students in 9-12 using tablets and possibly even needing them. I might even envision students in 7-8 actively, constructively using tablets.

However, students in K-6 using tablets using tablets is not justifiable. Tablets (or other computers as the primary learning interface) for K-2 is just stupid. What the hell does a K-2 student do with a tablet anyway other than play games? Don't they need to LEARN to print and such? Don't they need to do the BASICS long before they start doing constructive things on a tablet or laptop or other computer?

RE: Why?
By cjohnson2136 on 5/11/2011 3:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
Actually my mom and dad love the CR-48 that i have using the ChromeOS. My mom only uses a computer for surfing the web or doing email. This computer is made for that. It is also very quick with start up times. I think they make for a nice complimentary computer to a desktop. Desktop for high powered stuff that you don't have to move. ChromeOS for on the go purposes. Now if you need high powered on the go then you have to go laptop. I won't be buying one of these new netbooks cause I have a CR-48 but I think there is a market for it. Not a dominating one but a very nice alternative.

Why get this over a netbook or an iPad?
By Commodus on 5/11/2011 3:41:07 PM , Rating: 2
The pricing just isn't very good if you're a home user.

If you want a netbook, which will run Chrome just nicely and do a whole lot more offline, you can pay at least a bit less. And the pricing Samsung is suggesting... I know it has 3G, but that's close to an iPad, which is a lot more portable and lasts longer on battery. Not to mention can do a lot more when it doesn't have an Internet connection.

RE: Why get this over a netbook or an iPad?
By cjohnson2136 on 5/11/2011 4:27:24 PM , Rating: 2
The one thing I would say about netbooks, is current ones are too slow. If I want something small like a netbook I want it to be fest and snappy but Windows I will admit bogs it down.

I will agree that Samsung wants too much for it. I think somewhere between 250-350 would be a decent price.

As for battery. Not sure how these batteries are different from the CR-48 but my CR-48 can go two to three days of no charging and is plenty of computer time for me with 4-5 hours of use a day with it.

But if you don't have a internet connection the computer is a brick as you need internet to connect to your google account to login

RE: Why get this over a netbook or an iPad?
By AEvangel on 5/11/2011 5:02:45 PM , Rating: 2
These devices are pointless since they only have 16gig SSD, I wonder how much of that is eaten up by the OS...a gig perhaps two...then your left with what a $300 14 gig over sized smartphone???

No Thanks....

RE: Why get this over a netbook or an iPad?
By cjohnson2136 on 5/12/2011 9:17:01 AM , Rating: 2
Except your missing the point. The computer is meant to be a cloud-based computer. You don't save anything to the hard drive. The size of the hard drive is strictly for the OS and not much more then that. Think about it if its a computer that can only surf the web why do you need a large hard drive.

I will agree I think they are overpriced I think top tier should be priced at 350 and no higher more on the range of 250 would be better.

RE: Why get this over a netbook or an iPad?
By OoklaTheMok on 5/12/2011 12:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
There are so many things not right with these device...

It is "cloud" based, which means that you're computer experience will be limited exclusively based on your internet connection. I would never allow that to happen. Comcast is so unreliable. With this, one minute you can use your computer, next minute your computer is waiting for the traffic congestion to ease before you can continue.

I read that one of the 3G models includes a free 100MB/mo Verizon data plan. How is that remotely useful when everything this thin does is over the internet? You will go through that 100MB in one day, and forget about even visiting YouTube or watching any other online video. When a smartphone can eat through 200+MB/mo with ease, this is just ridiculous.

This is a product in need of a market, not a product to address a market need.

Pricing... Honestly? $350?!? I can get a full function laptop with Windows 7 for about that same price. For $399, I'm not dependent on an internet connection for my laptop to work. And for $399, I can run any application I want on the laptop, and I'm not limited to a closed, non-competitive marketplace.

By cjohnson2136 on 5/12/2011 3:08:08 PM , Rating: 2
For someone that uses a computer everyday for games or high amounts of data such as torrents don't get.

I use mine when I am on the go just to access e-mail and read up on news. The reason I like it is the speed. You can be browsing the web in about 15-20 seconds compared to loading up Windows which takes my Windows netbook a few minutes to load up.

I am not saying it is the only computer a person should have. I think it makes for a nice complimentary computer to a more high powered computer. Along with that I agree it is too high priced like I said above I think 250 would be more reasonable.

As for the 100mb/month I have that now through Verizon and it's not that bad if you find yourself stuck with no wi-fi and just need to check a few things. I only use the 3G service for about 60-80mb/month. The thing is there are so many places now with free wi-fi that you don't really need to use the 3G exclusively.

Comcast is so unreliable

As for that I have Comcast too and I have no problems so maybe it has to do with location I don't know.

But I will reiterate it is a nice complimentary computer, and if you just need something to access the web and is quick then this is the computer to get.

Another google TV project
By vision33r on 5/11/2011 4:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
Google just love wasting money on pet projects. Remember Google TV? That was wildy successful right?

Going to one shrinking business to another and picking Acer and Samsung is great!

RE: Another google TV project
By zozzlhandler on 5/11/2011 4:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
Remember Android? Another Google pet project.

RE: Another google TV project
By GuinnessKMF on 5/11/2011 6:58:59 PM , Rating: 2
1 Successful product is all it takes to make up for 100 failed ones, trying out new sectors is something that massively profitable companies can afford to risk. Google has been pretty good about knowing when to pull the plug vs just dumping more money to try to brute force success.

By flyingpants1 on 5/13/2011 12:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
A dual-core Acer netbook for $349? OK..

Here's one with the same CPU for $270 including shipping. Comes with some sort of Windows 7. Why wouldn't I just buy that instead, and install Chrome (or whatever the hell else I want)? No really, why?

I wanted to like this thing, but I'm just not seeing it.

RE: what
By cjohnson2136 on 5/13/2011 11:27:31 AM , Rating: 2
Well the first difference is the Acer has a SSD the one you showed has a HDD. That is the big difference.

But yeah if you want to do that then do it. I know people that buy windows machines and then install some linux os on it. It wouldn't be any different.

The main thing to remember is Acer and Samsung are setting these prices not Google. So if people have issues with price take it up with Acer or Samsung.

RE: what
By flyingpants1 on 5/19/2011 5:09:39 AM , Rating: 2
Add a 30GB OCZ Onyx and the total cost would still be less than a Chromebook, at $340 shipped. Any other difference?

What's so special about Chromebooks that they're worth paying more money than a fully functional Windows 7 netbook? Putting aside the fact that they're nearly useless without an internet connection.

I don't care who 'sets the prices'. I'm just pointing out why I think it's a bad deal. If someone wants to tell me otherwise then let's hear it.

I like this idea
By venya on 5/12/2011 7:50:32 AM , Rating: 2
Don't blame the Google for their free Chrome OS - its Samsung who want $500 for their Atom based netbook...

RE: I like this idea
By cjohnson2136 on 5/12/2011 9:18:55 AM , Rating: 2
Totally agree. Samsung is stupid for charging that much i think 250-350 is a nice range for a Chromebook

What about fusion?
By Pneumothorax on 5/11/2011 8:56:01 PM , Rating: 2
After using a fusion netbook for a few weeks I dont ever want to touch an atom powered anything ever again.

Awesome Idea
By mavricxx on 5/11/2011 9:36:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think I see where Google is going with this. Google only puts a 16gb SSD in there because I think this thing will run on cloud memory. Meaning sort of what Blackberry does with their Apps, where you get a Blackberry ID and it rememebrs even if you upgrade which apps you already had and all you have to do is a system restore or simply reinstall them and everything you save is stored in the cloud- Genious IDEA! Also, I think they will make their money from apps that people will buy for their Chromebooks. I think this is great news for the consumer. Keep them coming Google and cheaper.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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