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Google Announces Chromebook: MacBook Air Alternative?

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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.

via Chromebook

  1. I just don’t get why they try to compete with the MacBook Air by making a “cheap” notebook without a HD. I bought the air cause it is light, strong, and fast. It is not a MBP, but if I wanted a MBP I would have bought one. Companies that want to cut into Apple’s share need to realize some people (non fanboys) buy them cause they make nice, reliable products, and are willing to pay for them.

    1. @twitter-30585652:disqus There’s a huge market for cheap, low-end computers and Apple has never tried to go after the low-hanging fruit. I’ll reiterate my excitement about this announcement because it will encourage Apple to compete on some level with Google’s cloud syncing and built-in mobile wireless features. I’d love to see an Air with 3G.

      1. I don’t think they will ever drop to that range. It is not what Apple is about, because if that was the case they would have made the Mac Pro mini, or some other small desktop. If it happens, I just hope they do it their way.

  2. Its not really an alternate, the headline is Link Bait at best. You have to remember that the software is all going to be web based. Cloud Software is getting better, but I would rather have native apps on my laptop, and do these apps get cached to your laptop, so if the internet goes down you can still some work ?

    1. @facebook-100002436032573:disqus It most certainly
      is an alternative to the MacBook Air when you consider you could get nearly 3 of them for the price of one MBA. Yes, there are limitations and tradeoffs.
      By no means am I suggesting that it comes close to the capabilities of a MBA, but for many students and enterprise users a Chromebook could suffice. Google is mostly aiming at Microsoft with this move and hopefully it will put pressure on Apple to innovate more in the ultraportable market as well. I welcome the competition.

      To address your final point: Google is developing offline versions of Gmail and Google Docs that will be available this summer.

  3. Hans Máristela says:

    The title of this article was meant to titillate and get all the fanboys (this one included) riled up. The MacBook-channeling Chromebook is after a different market. It will have limited appeal in areas where a steady Web connection is impossible or non-existent. Individuals with only $500 to spend on a laptop, like students and others with limited disposable income, would be better off with a Windows or a WebOS machine.

    (via iPad)

  4. Popjgd says:

    If there’s no internet connection… good as dead.

  5. To the naysayers about this being an ineffective solution without an Internet connection: TechCrunch is reporting that offline Gmail, Docs, Calendar will be available this summer http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/11/offline-gmail/

  6.  Chrome book is the Winner. Buy a Samsung Nexus phone and a Samsung Tablet and a Chrome book you are now a Maharaja (Emperor) in Cloud Computing

  7.  Chrome book is the Winner. Buy a Samsung Nexus phone and a Samsung Tablet and a Chrome book you are now a Maharaja (Emperor) in Cloud Computing

  8. TweetDeckTV says:

    So it’s not a PC at all. It’s a thinly-veiled data tracker. Nice job Google. Tracking the next generation of consumers as well as non tech-savvy adults should prove very lucrative.

  9. Metaksan says:

    I do not give any chance for this, to be an alternative for MBA…

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