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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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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.


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