Google Announces 'Chromebook' Laptops, No Word on Chrome-Based Tablets

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On the second day of its I/O conference, Google has announced the June 15th launch of Chromebooks, small web-only notebooks running the company's browser-based Chrome OS.

These are not typical notebooks. With a Chromebook you won't wait minutes for your computer to boot and browser to start. You'll be reading your email in seconds. Thanks to automatic updates the software on your Chromebook will get faster over time. Your apps, games, photos, music, movies and documents will be accessible wherever you are and you won't need to worry about losing your computer or forgetting to back up files. Chromebooks will last a day of use on a single charge, so you don't need to carry a power cord everywhere. And with optional 3G, just like your phone, you'll have the web when you need it.

Chromebooks will initially launch with models from Samsung and Acer, typically checking in as dual-core Atom-based machines with displays in the 11-12 inch range and limited onboard storage of 16 GB. Pricing for early models is said to begin at $350 and range up to $500 for a Samsung model with integrated 3G connectivity and limited monthly data allowances from Verizon. Google is also offering monthly subscription pricing for students ($20) and businesses ($28), providing them with a manageable fee that includes full support, software updates, and even hardware upgrades.

According to Mashable, Google is "fully focused on notebooks" when it comes to Chrome OS, suggesting that the company will continue to utilize Android to drive tablet products, despite long-standing rumblings and evidence indicating that the company is contemplating bringing Chrome OS to tablet devices.

When asked about Google's future plans for Chrome OS beyond the notebook, Google SVP of Chrome Sundar Pichai said that Chrome OS is "agnostic" to the hardware it runs on. In other words, Chrome OS can easily be ported to tablets, desktops and other Internet-connected devices.

With that said, Pichai made it clear that Google is laser focused on Chrome OS for the notebook. He noted that Google wants to reach the greatest amount of people possible, and most people use notebooks rather than tablets or desktops. "We are fully focused on notebooks," Pichai said.

Google's Chrome OS has been looked to as a lightweight operating system potentially capable of revolutionizing the netbook and tablet industries. Apple of course has continued moving forward with its own products in these areas, launching and even updating the iPad in the tablet market and sticking to the high end of the "netbook" market with its newly-redesigned MacBook Air finally extending into the sub-12 inch display range since Google first previewed Chrome OS in late 2009.

Top Rated Comments

Kaibelf Avatar
136 months ago
Sounds like a very interesting cheap computer option.

Yes, more expensive than a netbook, with all the power of a netbook, without the netbook's ability to really function offline. Sounds just fabulous. :p
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
URFloorMatt Avatar
136 months ago
The lack of vision in this thread is astounding but perhaps understandable. These machines are not targeted at iPad owners or even Mac owners generally. They are targeted at students and enterprise.

These machines have day-long battery life, require no antivirus software, require no software updates or patches whatsoever, store all of your files in the cloud, and come with a three-year full replacement and support plan. All for $20/mo. as a student or $28/mo. as an enterprise user. To put that in perspective, the student user would spend $960 for four years of college, and get two laptops out of it.

This is potentially a Windows killer (eventually). Anything that the Chrome OS can't run right now, you can run virtually via Citrix on a remote Windows machine. Large corporations could gut IT departments if they switched to these machines. And small corporations can scale up faster by essentially outsourcing their IT problems to Google.

I don't understand the comments about Internet access either. Where you do use a laptop that doesn't have wireless? On college campuses, wifi is ubiquitous. In cases where it's not, you can get the 3G version. I can't remember the last time I turned on my MacBook and didn't have a live Internet connection. But Google announced offline access to Gmail, Docs, and Calendar coming in the next Chrome OS update anyway, which some of you seem to have ignored.

If you are not a student interested in a MacBook, a heavy PC gamer, or going to major in something heavy on Windows-based software, then I foresee no reason laying out $1000 on a Windows machine that will be obsolete by the time you graduate college. You can lease one of these devices without increasing your loan burden.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jodles Avatar
136 months ago
I've always been curious of the "instant on"/short boot argument. Does that many people actually shut down their pc's every time after use? I can't remember the last time I shut down my Macbook, and not my Dell laptop either for that sake. I always put them to sleep, which always gives me "instant on"......
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RedReplicant Avatar
136 months ago
I would rather use Ubuntu Linux or similar distro. Being Linux available for so long, being as good as it is, and still not been able to gain enough popularity to be a contender to the main Operating Systems: Windows and Mac OS X, we now have yet another O.S. Kind of a waste I would say, but only time would tell.

in my case, I'm staying with MAC OS X and iOS.

I've been a linux guy for 13 years and I will be the first one to say that linux is not a consumer friendly OS - it will never be a mainstream desktop contender.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GFLPraxis Avatar
136 months ago
Starting at $350? You can pick up Acer netbooks for less than that with better specs, a camera, and a full, legal OS.

These devices are cutting out the cost of the Windows software license, and presumably (as they are running a lightweight OS) also cutting out storage space/RAM allotment/ GPU. The bottom end devices should be cheaper than bottom end netbooks.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alent1234 Avatar
136 months ago
As a beta tester, these suck

I can buy a real laptop or tablet for $500 that doesn't need Internet access to work
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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