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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 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.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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