19 Oct 2012

Chromebook: The laptop for everyone at $US249?

Google announced the new Samsung Chromebook overnight, which is aimed at spreading the Chrome OS laptop much more widely by making it more affordable. Google sees the cloud-focused notebook as a good ‘extra’ computer to have around the house – something to quickly check emails, catch up on the news, or get some homework done. The reviews so far for the Chromebook are good. Considering the price tag, the laptop is light, the battery life is around 6.5 hours, and it turns on relatively fast. If you are already using products such as Gmail and GoogleDocs (Google Drive), the hardware is more than adequate. Data is stored online, with buyers receiving 100 gigs of free cloud storage. On the downside, the computer is reported to be fairly slow with complicated tasks – but in the end, this is not what it was designed for. Google reports that the computer is 1.13kgs, 2cm thick with an 11.6 inch screen. The fact that it runs on the Google Chrome operating system means that it is very internet based, with apps running inside the Chrome browser. The computer is powered by a Samsung Exynos 5 duel core processor, which is completely fanless and therefore completely quiet. The big question is, how this is going to impact the market? Will the Chromebook be seen as a better option than say, an iPad, which is currently more expensive? Will it complete with the upcoming arrival of the Windows Surface, which has the potential to take the business world by storm? Or, will the Chromebook be the best option for students, and take some of that market? At this point, the Chromebook is not available in Australia, only in the US and the UK. Perhaps next week when it goes on general release we will have an option to buy. Until then, time will tell on its popularity.