Print 16 comment(s) - last by Motoman.. on May 31 at 11:28 AM

  (Source: Samsung)
New models will soon receive Google's dramatic Aura OS overhaul

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KSC:005930) today announced a trio of products sporting Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Chrome OS, a browser-centric Linux distribution.  Thus far the Chrome sales experiment has been less than great for Samsung and Taiwan's Acer Inc. (TPE:2353), the pair of early adopters.  Sales of Acer and Samsung models which launched in May 2011 are in the thousands of units.

But with a much improved Windows 8-like "Aura" update has polished some of Chrome OS's rough edges and Samsung is hoping that, coupled with new hardware will finally attract customers.

The South Korean computer-maker announced a trio of new Chrome products today,  following the company's CES 2012 teaser in January.  The new lineup features two ChromeBook variants (laptops) and the first mass-released ChromeBox:

Series 5 ChromeBook 550

Chromebook Refresh
[Image Source: Samsung]
  • Price:
    $449 (Wi-Fi only); $549 (Wi-Fi + 3G) (up from $429/$499)
  • Display: 12.1 inches (unchanged)
  • CPU: 
    1.3 GHz dual-core Intel Corp. (INTC) Sandy Bridge Celeron 867 (improved from a 1.66 GHz dual-core Atom)
  • RAM: 4 GB (up from 2 GB)
  • Storage: 16 GB SSD (unchanged)
  • Weight: 3.3 lb (unchanged)
  • Thickness: < 1 in. (25.4 mm)
  • I/O:
    USB x2; HDMI (upgraded from Mini-VGA); ethernet; 4-in-1 memory card slot, 1 MP webcam, headphones/microphone jack
  • Battery Life: 6 Hours (down from 8.5 hr)

Series ChromeBox
[Image Source: Samsung]
  • Price: $329
  • CPU:
    1.9 GHz dual-core Intel Celeron B840 (Sandy Bridge)
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB SSD
  • Weight: 2.45 lb
  • I/O:
    USB x6; HDMI (upgraded from Mini-VGA); ethernet; 2 x DP+++ (DVI+HDMI), 1 MP webcam, headphones/microphone jack
  • Size: 7.6 x 7.6 x 1.3-inches

Both laptops feature integrated graphics.  While the price point on the ChromeBox is pretty attractive, Samsung's approach with the ChromeBook laptop is a bit baffling.  The company took a poor-selling model, raised the price and offered a mixed bag of improvements and performance cuts.  While the display output, RAM, CPU were all improved, the battery capacity was cut.

Aura is currently in Google's developer channel.  The Samsung press release did not mention the OS version, but these models are expected to soon receive the upgrade.

The Chrome OS Samsung 'boxes and 'books are available from, Inc. (AMZN), Best Buy Inc. (BBY), Tiger Electronics, Newegg, and

Source: Samsung

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WAY too expensive
By Motoman on 5/30/2012 11:47:42 AM , Rating: 4
...with perfectly serviceable 15.6" Windows 7 laptops selling for ~$300, there is no compelling reason to buy a Chromebook at ~$500. Or anything above $300.

If you want to sell these products, you have to make them cheaper than the Windows competition...which means, at most, a Chromebook would have to sell for maybe $250.

No big mystery why it's been a flop so far. Why plop down money for a completely unknown OS that is compatible with normal software when you can get a fully capable Windows machine for less money?

RE: WAY too expensive
By retrospooty on 5/30/2012 11:53:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, I am not sure what they are thinking. The only hope for these to sell is to make it the "super cheap alternative". Less functionality, compatibility and flexibility for the same price just inst going to work.

RE: WAY too expensive
By sbtech on 5/30/2012 12:08:21 PM , Rating: 2

You cant beat the windows compatibility and software accessibility. Period.

The very reason I am holding off tablet till Win8 comes out. Hope Lenovo brings out a Thinkpad, sleek, thin, and built like a tank. And run win8 with the software. Now that will be sweet :)

RE: WAY too expensive
By Pirks on 5/30/12, Rating: 0
RE: WAY too expensive
By blue_urban_sky on 5/30/2012 1:08:40 PM , Rating: 2
No it isn't.

A bluetooth kb/mouse and your good to go. touch is not the end point for interaction.

RE: WAY too expensive
By EnzoFX on 5/30/2012 6:07:24 PM , Rating: 2
No it isn't. It's the next one. Whatever you want to do with an OS and a mouse/kb, you can do that now, why wait for Win8, I think his point still stands.

RE: WAY too expensive
By blue_urban_sky on 5/31/2012 4:09:07 AM , Rating: 2
To my knowledge there are no win7 tablets? And I believe its about device unification. I don't want a tablet AND a laptop if I can have a device that can perform both roles.

Touch screens have been in use from 1973 so I don't know if they qualify for 'the next one' unless you mean that literally as the mouse as we know it came out in 1970?. Arguably things like kinetics(xbox thing) would be 'the next one'

Don't get me wrong I think touch is great for a lot of interactions, although trying to use any serious software I believe will always be more productive using a mouse and kb.

I too am waiting to see what a win 8/Atom tablet can do, but I hope that touch will not be the only input. Either coming with a kb like the Transformer or easy connection to them.

RE: WAY too expensive
By Motoman on 5/31/2012 11:28:06 AM , Rating: 2
Good point about the touchscreen - it's amazing how many people think Apple invented it. Then again, not really, once you realize how stupid people tend to be...

When I was a kid my dad would take me sometimes to the community college he taught at, and sit me down in the computer lab. This is mid-70s by the way. The dumb terminals they had there were touch-screen...there were some learning games they had on their mainframe that utilized the touchscreen interface. This on monochrome CRT the 70s.

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