What would you say if I offered to sell you something that looks like an ordinary notebook with an 11.6-inch display, an unspecified amount of flash storage that you can’t directly use and the only piece of software that runs on it is Google’s Chrome browser. Let’s also say this product is about the same price as a notebook with 2 to 4GB RAM and a, perhaps, 250 to 500GB hard drive running Windows 7? One distinct advantage is its ability to be instantly on or off (really suspend and resume). The other is relatively long battery life (8+ hours).
That’s exactly what became available for pre-order this week.
Google Chromebooks Now Available (Google Chromebook site)
The lowest priced model is Acer’s WiFi-only Chromia Chromebook priced at $379.99. The most expensive Chromebook models is priced at $499.99 – Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook which has a 12.1-inch display and 3G wireless data capability in addition to WiFi. At 3.2 pounds, the Acer Chromia is a nearly full pound heavier than the MacBook Air 11.6-inch display model which also features a solid-state drive and instant suspend/resume (and is nearly three times the cost of the Chromia).
Chromebooks may be the perfect portable computer for people who want a full-size keyboard and instant on-off for answering email, spot web browsing, updating their Facebook status and tweeeting. But, you have to wonder how functional it will be beyond these use-cases.