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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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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?

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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