Google co-founder Sergey Brin has hailed Google’s new laptops as a “new model of computing”.The netbook will be driven by Google’s Chrome Browser, optimised for Web and Cloud Computing. Brin’s comments came on the second day of the company’s developer conference, where Google announced that so-called Chromebooks will go on sale in June. The manufacturers and timeline are within what Google announced at the press conference last December announcing the Chrome laptop.
“Chromebooks are built and optimized for the web, where you already spend most of your computing time. So you get a faster, simpler and more secure experience without all the headaches of ordinary computers.” said Brin
Samsung has unveiled the first Chromebook – the new Series 5 netbook running which will run the Google Chrome operating system. The ultra-slim 0.79-inch device was officially launched at the I/O conference in San Francisco. The Series 5 fits in with the required Chromebook specs, offering “all-day” 8.5 hour battery life and a dual-core 1.66GHz Intel Atom processor under the hood.
There’ll only be 16GB of sold-state memory on board, but with Google’s plans to make this a “web-only” device, that shouldn’t cause too much of a problem. The laptop has a 12.6-inch, 1280 x 800 resolution screen, the option of global 3G connectivity, 802.11 WiFi, two USB ports and a HD webcam. The Series 5 will be launched in the US on July 15th, with prices starting at $429. There is much chatter on the retail marketin of the netbooks, Google has tentatively confirmed that it will sell the machines via phone style higher purchase at between $10-$20 a month, no deals have yet been set.
Samsung and Acer will be the first manufacturers to offer the devices, for between $349 and $499, in the US and six European countries initially. Google’s aim is to encourage people to use web-based applications, claiming that that is where most people spend their time and that most tasks can be accomplished online.
The internet giant said because Chromebooks are not weighed down by software and applications common to most laptops, they boot up in eight seconds instead of minutes. The company said battery life on the device will last a day, security updates will be done automatically and they will be faster than traditional laptops.
“It’s a much easier way to compute and Chromebook is venturing into a new model of computing that wasn’t possible even a few years ago,” said Mr Brin. Google is relying heavily on Cloud, expect massive investment in this new technology.
“Ultimately the most precious resource is the user’s time. I think the complexity of managing your computer is really torturing users out there. It is a flawed model and I think Chromebooks are a new model and this is the way things are going to be,” added Mr Brin.
Here’s an overview of the specs for the Samsung Chromebook:
- Size: 0.79-inch case, 3.3 lb total
- Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB SSD
- Processor: Intel dual-core Atom Processor N570 running at 1.66GHz
- Screen: 12.1-inch SuperBright Display, 16:10 resolution — Samsung claims it is 36% brighter than a standard LCD display.
- Battery: Up to 8.5 hours of normal usage, up to 5 hours of video playback
- Software: Google Chrome OS. Bootup time is less than 10 seconds
- Peripherals: Two USB ports and an SD/SDHC/MMC card reader
- Price: $429 for Wi-Fi. $499 for the 3G version, which includes 100MB free per month for two years
- Input: The trackpad is “oversized” and the Chromebook sports a full-sized Chiclet-style keyboard.
One important change to Chrome OS is its ability to link to web apps for uploading images, videos and other multimedia. I downloaded several images from the web and was able to quickly upload them to a Box.net account right from the file folder. Once Flickr, Picnik, Vimeo and other multimedia-sharing services sync up with the Chrome OS API, it should make uploading and downloading images a lot easier to manage. For anyone who was disappointed by the Google Cr-48 prototype can breathe a sigh of relief: the Samsung Chromebook is much faster. The biggest change from the Cr-48 is that the Chromebook boasts an Intel dual-core processor, providing a noticeable performance boost. The Chromebook is also sleeker and includes a more vibrant screen.
Acer Chromebooks – Same, But Different
There are more similarities than differences between Samsung’s and Acer’s Chromebook offerings. Despite a smaller 11.6-inch, 1368 x 768 display, Acer’s Chromebook features the same dimensions and weight as Samsung’s Series 5 offerings. According to the listings on Amazon, the Wi-Fi only model will be powered by the same N570 Atom processor as Samsung’s Chromebooks, while the 3G worldwide version will pack a NM10 Atom processor. Other differences include a 1.3-megapixel webcam, the addition of a HDMI port, and a cut in estimated battery life to six hours of continuous usage.
Acer’s Chromebooks will also be a bit cheaper, starting at US$349 for the Wi-Fi model, while the 3G worldwide model will go for an undisclosed, but higher, sum.
Both Samsung’s and Acer’s Chromebooks will launch in the U.S. on June 15, 2011 through Amazon and Best Buy.