The All-New Google Chromebook: A Notebook Optimized For The Web!

If you’ve been interested in getting yourself a notebook from a good brand, there are a ton of them out there, all capable and comparable. But if you want something new and unique, why not take a look at the Chromebook?

We wrote yesterday that Android dominated the first day of Google annual developer conference in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday; but the second day of the conference was dedicated to the Chromebooks, the search giant’s contribution to the notebook market.

Google Chromebook

Previously called the Google Chrome OS Notebooks, “Chromebooks,” Google announced at the conference, would be available starting June 15, in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Italy.

Chromebooks are the end-result of the Google Chrome OS project that was announced way back in 2009. The first hardware is coming from Acer and Samsung.

Wondering if these notebooks will take you all the way from Windows into the cloud?  Yes, they do, but let’s see how they do it!

What’s Different About The Chrome OS Platform?

Google is not just bringing out a new model of laptops, but is creating a new breed, using their Chrome OS platform. With Chrome OS, unlike a PC or Mac notebook, you do everything using the browser.  Everything from the apps, content and services are brought to you from the cloud.

Cloud servers don’t reside on your notebook, they live on remote servers, and while users see the interface, all the processing is done far away at some data center.

The Good and The Bad of Chromebooks

Cloud: Using the cloud means Chromebooks don’t use up as much power as regular notebooks, since all the work is done in the cloud. The advantage for users is the long battery life of up to 8.5 hours based on the model.  Manufacturers can use slower and cheaper processors, bringing the production costs down.

According to Google, “Chromebooks will last a day of use on a single charge, so you don’t need to carry a power cord everywhere.”

What seals the deal for me is the beauty of accessing my data from anywhere, using any computer.

While that’s the good part, there is also a downside to the Chromebook.  Using the cloud for everything means – being connected to the Internet. Of course, there is some support for offline working and this will come in useful when you’re traveling. But, by and large, you will need to be connected to the Internet.

Just like your cellphone, some Chromebooks come with a built-in 3G modem, but they are going to be more expensive to use. Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar are some of the things that can be used offline, while the documents, apps, music, photos, and movies will be on the cloud.

Booting: Google says that it just takes about eight seconds for these Chromebooks to get started. Every time they are turned on, the software checks online and uses the latest updated version.  If there’s a failure of the OS, you don’t have to do anything, it will automatically reinstall itself. Basically, we just use it and the maintenance part is taken care of.

Security: Another advantage is that of security. You don’t need to buy costly anti-virus software or spend time on updates. They come with several layers of built-in security.

Information Storage: Being on the cloud, you may not have space to store any information on your notebook, and the only way to do it is to use separate storage devices.

Samsung And Acer Are The Privileged Two

Samsung Chromebook is being introduced as the Samsung Series 5, and Acer is just calling it Acer Chromebook. Samsung Chromebook weighs 3.26 pounds and has a 12.1 inch display while Acer’s is smaller at 11.5 inches and weighing 2.95 pounds. Intel dual-core Atom processors are used in both.

Common features in both:

  • Full-sized keyboard with Chrome OS shortcut keys
  • HD Webcam and a microphone
  • 2 USB Ports
  • 4-in-1 Memory Card Slot
  • Dual-Band WiFi
  • 3G Version

No hard drives will be present in both. They come with 16 gigabytes of flash memory, like tablet computers and smartphones.

The HDMI Port in the Acer Chromebook allows you to hook it up to your TV, but the Samsung one doesn’t have this facility and just has the usual VGA port to be used with monitors.

Acer’s smaller size and weight make it more portable and convenient. But then, the bigger Samsung has a bigger battery, which allows you up to 8.5 hours of continuous usage as against the 6 hours that Acer offers.

It’s almost as if the benefits have been equally divided. You just have to choose the one that suits your needs the best.
Who is Google Targeting and What are the Cost Involved?

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At the I/O developer’s conference, Google announced that along with Chromebooks for individual users, it will be offering a combination of software and hardware subscription service for government customers, schools and businesses – Chromebooks for Business and Education.  Through this service, along with Chromebooks they get a cloud management console that helps them remotely administer and manage users, applications, devices and policies.  There is also enterprise-level support offered along with replacements and warranties.  I feel, this excellent deal could just go Google’s way.

While education and enterprise users pay a monthly subscription and don’t have to buy them upfront, the costs per month are $28/user and for schools it is $20/user. The 3G version rates for them are not yet finalized.

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But we’re not going to be so lucky. For individual users, the WiFi only models will cost $349 for Acer Chromebook and $429 for Samsung Chromebook.  You can get your hands on the 3G version from Samsung for $499 and Acer hasn’t yet confirmed the price. 100 MB of bundled Verizon Data is said to be given every month for the 3G versions.  Details for users outside the US have not been announced yet.

You can get your Chromebooks from Amazon and Best Buy, as well as from leading retailers internationally.

Finally, what do we have on our hands?

The beauty of Chrome OS is that users can log in from any machine and gain access to all their data. This is incredible and something that draws me to these Chromebooks.

Google is also working on a desktop version, and it’s called the Google “Chromebox,” which perhaps is meant for people who are not mobile and prefer working on a PC.

Although, we have no clue yet how Chromebooks are going to fare against Windows-based notebooks and netbooks, their enterprise and education edition may bring them huge success. We’ll just have to wait till July to find out.  Want to know more? Here’s the link.

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Usha is currently a freelance writer and internet marketer. She has worked as a freelance writer for many years and has been an active internet marketer for six years. Having worked in the health-field for ten years in a senior management position, her interests are varied. She writes on a variety of topics, which include business, management, health, tech and a host of others. She is also the author of an e-book on internet marketing, which will be launched soon. Her future plans include publishing a non-fiction novel.

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  1. » Pandia Search Engine News Wrap-up May 14 - May 14, 2011

    […] Google launches Chrome OS for “Chromebook” netbooks. Pandia: Google has finally launched its Chrome OS for netbooks/small laptops. The idea is that you can use this OS on cheap netbooks for cloud/net/web based services mainly. The problem is, of course, that the tablets — and especially the iPad — has taken over significant parts of this market. […]

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