Google unveils the web-only Chromebook

Wed, May 11, 2011


By Josh Rosenthall:

It’s been an extremely busy day for Google this week. Yesterday, the search giant kicked off its annual I/O conference in San Francisco where the focus was Android heavy. Today, however, it was all about Chrome where amongst other things, Google announced Chromebooks.

What’s a Chromebook, you ask?

Well, it’s a small 11-12 inch notebook that’s only capable of running the Web. It’s also fully based on Google’s Chrome OS. The Chromebook is essentially a cloud-based notebook that will store a user’s apps, games, photos, music, movies, and documents up in the cloud. A users’s content, therefore, will be accessible from anywhere, even in the case of a lost or damaged machine. Google claims the Chromebook can last an entire day on a single charge and will also come with a 3G option.

What about running programs like photo editors and the like? Well, there’s a web store where users can download all kinds of apps, including, it turns out, Angry Birds.

At the outset, the Chromebooks will be available from Samsung and Acer exclusively, and will offer limited 16GB of onboard storage. Pricing will begin as low as $350 and will range up to $50 for a Samsung model with the 3G option enabled.

Google will also offer the Chromebooks on a subscription basis to students and business. Schools can purchase Chromebooks for their pupils at $20/month while business can pick up the Chromebooks at $28/user. The subscription gives users full support, software updates, and hardware upgrades.

And channeling its inner hacker, Google made a point of noting that there’s a full jailbreaking mode built in, enabling users to play around with the kernel all they want.

So can the Chromebook compete?

Color us skeptical.

Sure, most people use their computers for web-only activities, but a device limited to the web is, well, undeniably limiting.

Chromebooks will be available for order on June 15.


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