Laptop computers running Google’s Chrome OS, referred to collectively as “Chromebooks”, have been an interesting experiment. An operating system which forgoes local applications for Internet-based “apps”, or in other words, interactive webpages developed with new technologies such as HTML5. The Chromebook promises to be the “dumb terminal” of the 21st century, a computer which is simply a physical portal to our applications and files stored on remote servers.
But this concept has been held down by the foolishly high prices of the existing Chromebook models. With the previous high-end Samsung Chromebooks coming in at a staggering $550, it was an extremely tough sell. Why pay nearly $600 for a Chromebook when more powerful traditional laptops could be had for cheaper?
Thankfully, Google has finally come to its senses and partnered with Samsung to deliver a Chromebook for $250, which it is calling the computer “for everyone”. Google has put together a video for this new Chromebook which makes it clear that the size, construction, and price of this new model put it in a position to be the family “throw away” computer. Beat it up, give it to the kids, even walk on it. It’s only $250, and all your files are stored on Google’s end, so who cares?
Despite it’s low cost and throw away attitude, the new Samsung Chromebook packs some decent power under the hood, certainly enough to run the Linux-based Chrome OS.
- 11.6’’ (1366×768) display
- 0.8 inches thin – 2.5 lbs / 1.1 kg
- Over 6.5 hours of battery
- Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor
- 2 GB RAM
- 16 GB SSD
- Built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
- VGA Camera
- 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
- HDMI Port
- Bluetooth 3.0
Arguably the most important thing to note on this feature list is that the new Chromebook is based on the Exynos 5 CPU, making it perhaps the first mainstream laptop to run on the ARM architecture. This may very well signal the beginning of the end for the essentially complete stranglehold x86 has on the laptop and desktop processor market, though it’s still too early to draw any serious conclusions.
Aside from the evolutionary move from x86 to ARM, the new Chromebook is packing some surprising inclusions, such as Bluetooth 3.0, USB 3.0, and dual-band WiFi. For a $250, this new Chromebook includes a fairly impressive collection of cutting edge technologies, making an already impressive sticker price even more tempting.
The new Samsung Chromebook can be preordered online right now at Amazon, NewEgg, TigerDirect, and Best Buy, and will begin shipping next week. At this price point, and the holidays quickly approaching, it seems pretty likely demand will be high for the first few shipments. If you’re interested in taking Google’s idea of the future of computing for a spin, you might want to get in line now.