Samsung and Acer today announced the first netebooks powered by Google's Chrome OS netbooks. Google showed off a 11.6-inch Chromebook from Acer and a 12,1- inch Chromebook by Samsung at the second day of Google I/O.
The Chromebooks are actually web-centric PCs, based on an operating system - essentially Chrome web browser - that steers users to use applications like email and spreadsheets directly on the web, instead of storing software such as Outlook or Word directly on PCs.
As with Android, Chrome software will be free, but is expected to spur people to use the Internet more often and search for more things, potentially boosting Google's Internet ads business.
Samsung said that it has built the Series 5 ChromeBook "on the principles of speed, simplicity and security."
"With the creation of the Series 5 we are again pushing the boundaries of innovation by introducing an entirely new product category to the notebook market," said Scott Ledterman, director of mobile PC marketing at Samsung Enterprise Business Division. "This partnership has allowed us to combine Samsung's design and engineering expertise with Google's simple, secure software to provide consumers with a revolutionary notebook to fit today's web-centric lifestyle."
Samsung's ChromeBook has an elegant shape, slim 0.79-inch body and simple Titan Silver or White finish. It features a 12.1-inch Super Bright display (300nit brightness), it weighs 3.3 lbs. and has a battery life of up to 8.5 hours, including five hours of video play for all-day use without the need to recharge. The Series 5 battery has a lifespan up to 1,000 cycles, three times longer than conventional batteries, which reduces the need for replacements.
The Samsung Series 5 packs power with an Intel Core 2 Duo N570 1.66Ghz processor.
An optional VGA adaptor can connect to a second monitor or television, while audio inputs connect to a microphone, headphones or external speakers. The HD Webcam completes the Series 5's audio-visual package.
Productivity is enhanced with the Chromebook's island keyboard, which delivers performance that can't be matched by a virtual keyboard.
Samsung Series 5 will connect you to your data through 3G, WLAN and a 4-in-1 Card Reader. Verizon Wireless has partnered with Samsung and Google to provide 3G connectivity for the Series 5 in the U.S. Verizon will provide up to 100MBs per month of Mobile Broadband service included with device for two years.
The Samsung Series 5 will launch in the U.S. June 15, 2011 from Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. The Wi-Fi + 3G model will retail at $499.99, and the Wi-Fi only model will retail at $429.99.
Key Specs Samsung Chromebook:
- 0.79-inch thin case
- Full-size Chrome keyboard
- Oversized multi-touch trackpad
- Intel Core 2 Duo N570 1.66Ghz Processor
- 16:10 resolution
- 12.1-inch SuperBright Display ? 36% brighter than standard display
- Starts up in less than 10-seconds
- Resumes instantly from standby
- Up to 8.5 hours battery life
- HD Webcam, built-in digital microphone and stereo speakers
- Two USB ports capable of charging mobile phones and accessories, connecting digital cameras and media storage devices
- Support for removable media cards (SD, SDHC, MMC) for photos, videos, music and documents
Google also showed off a new 11.6-inch Chromebook from Acer promising an eight second boot time with instant-on, two USB ports, webcam, HDMI and a 6.5 hour battery life. It's cheaper than the Samsung Series 5, starting at $349 with optional world-mode 3G available for more cash and will be available for preorder on the same day -- June 15th from Amazon and Best Buy.
Acer Chromebook specs:
- 11.6" HD Widescreen CineCrystalTM LED-backlit LCD
- 2.95 lbs. | 1.34 kg.
- 6 hours of continuous usage
- Intel Atom Dual-Core Processor
- Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
- HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
- High-Definition Audio Support
- 2 USB 2.0 ports
- 4-in-1 memory card slot
- HDMI port
- Fullsize Chrome keyboard
- Oversize fully-clickable trackpad
Chromebooks will be available in the US, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Italy. They will be available in other countries over the next few months, Google said.
About Chrome OS
Google developed the Chrome operating system with three key factors in mind: speed, simplicity and security. The average out-of-the-box laptop starts up in 45 seconds. By contrast, the Series 5 starts up in less than ten seconds. When waking from sleep, a user simply opens the lid, and it's ready to go.
Chromebooks do not run traditional PC software. They run web-based applications, or web apps, that open right in the browser. For example, Google Docs lets you do word processing, spreadsheets and presentations online. You can access web apps by typing their URL into the address bar, or by installing them instantly from the Chrome Web Store
Every Chromebook runs web apps, from games to spreadsheets to photo editors. Thanks to the power of HTML5, many apps keep working even in those rare moments when you're not connected.
In the near future, Chromebook users will be also able to run traditional software remotely on Google Chrome notebooks. Companies like Citrix are developing solutions that will be available in the Web Store, and Google is developing a free service called Chromoting that will enable Chrome notebook users to remotely access their existing PCs and Macs.
Chromebooks also run the first consumer operating system designed from the ground up to defend against the ongoing threat of malware and viruses. They employ the principle of "defense in depth" to provide multiple layers of protection, including sandboxing, data encryption, and verified boot.
Chromebooks manage updates for you automatically so you are always running the latest and most secure version.
On your Chromebook, each web page and application you visit runs in a restricted environment called a "sandbox." So if you visit an infected page, it can't affect the other tabs or apps on your computer, or anything else on your machine. The threat is contained.
Even if malware manages to escape the sandbox, your Chromebook is still protected. Every time you boot the computer, it does a self check called Verified Boot. If it detects that your system has been tampered with, or corrupted in any way, typically it will repair itself without you lifting a finger.
When you use web apps on your Chromebook, all your documents are stored safely in the cloud. But certain kinds of files, like downloads, cookies, and browser cache files, may still be present on your computer. Your Chromebook encrypts all this data using tamper-resistant hardware, making it very difficult for anyone to access those files.
If anything goes wrong with your Chromebook you can simply push a button to enter the hardware-backed recovery mode and restore the operating system to a known good version.
With Guest Mode, you can let friends use your Chromebook without signing in. They can use the web freely, but they won't be able to access your email or other data. And once they sign off, all their browsing data is permanently erased from your computer.
The Chromebook has also reduced concerns about security and data loss by moving everything to the cloud. If the Chromebook is ever broken or lost, all of your files are saved online.
Chromebooks can connect to the following types of devices:
USB storage, mice, and keyboards
External monitors and projectors
Headsets, earsets, microphones
To project your Chromebook's screen on an external monitor or via a projector, connect the device to your Chromebook. Once connected, the device will be automatically detected and your screen will be projected, using the best possible resolution.
If you've connected an external monitor, the screen will only appear on the external monitor. Currently, it's not possible to set up an extended display.
No cables or printer drivers are needed in order to connect to a printer. The Chromebook uses the Google Cloud Print service to print. Google Cloud Print can print to either a cloud ready printer, such as the ePrint line from HP, or a classic printer connected to a Windows or Mac proxy computer.