Google is aiming for the low end user by stripping a laptop down to its bare essentials, adding built-in world mode 3G wireless connectivity and calling it Chromebook.
Chromebook with the 3G option will have 100MB free data per month from Verizon Wireless and a boot time of 8 seconds. It will support “the latest web standards and Adobe Flash,” there is no hard drive, or any local storage for that matter, but there is a 4-in-1 memory card reader. The ultra-cheap notebook will run Chrome OS – essentially a browser-based operating system where all of your data and applications are stored in the cloud. The login credentials of the notebook are simply your Google account details and Chrome OS will keep your data synchronized to the cloud so that you can simply login to any other Chromebook and have the exact same experience. Chrome OS will update automatically, just the same as the Chrome browser does so there won’t be anything to patch, download, or otherwise worry about updating. The 12″ Samsung model (pictured) is the sleeker design of the two – Acer is making one as well – and is not too much heavier than an 11″ MacBook Air with a significantly longer 8.5 hours of battery life.
It’s a pretty safe bet these are the same notebooks that Google will be offering to students for the dirt cheap price of $20 per month, including “hardware and online services.”
Acer and Samsung will each have a Chromebook available from June 15th at Best Buy and Amazon’s Chromebook Store.
What do you think? Would you ditch your main machine in favor of a web-based, data in the cloud, $20 a month Chromebook? This certainly seems attractive as a second machine, but Google will have to pry my 11″ MacBook Air from my cold, dead hands. The most exciting thing about this is how it will stir up the market, including Apple to boost the adoption of cloud services and 3G/4G wireless connectivity built in to all devices.