Google this week unveiled a new type of netbook that runs Google Chrome operating system and requires Internet connection for all operations. Google promises that “Chromebooks” will boot up in seconds and will perform all the operations blazingly fast thanks to cloud computing services by Google. Chromebooks will be incompatible with the vast majority of applications available; hence, there will be no typical glitches, slowdowns as well as many functions.
There will eventually be a number of companies to produce Chromebooks, but the first two to announce appropriate machines are Acer Group and Samsung Electronics. Both Chromebooks feature dual-core Atom processors, solid-state storage and both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, which clearly points to the fact that they are intended to be used when connected to the Internet only and are not supposed to store a lot of documents or content locally. Unfortunately, 3G modules are optional on both Chromebooks, which means that they simply will not work everywhere (since none of them features Bluetooth, teathering is not supported as well).
“These are not typical notebooks. With a Chromebook you won’t wait minutes for your computer to boot and browser to start. You’ll be reading your email in seconds. Thanks to automatic updates the software on your Chromebook will get faster over time. Your apps, games, photos, music, movies and documents will be accessible wherever you are and you won't need to worry about losing your computer or forgetting to back up files,” a description of Chromebook by Google reads.
Acer Chromebook is equipped with 11.6” screen with 1280*800 resolution, is based on dual-core Intel Atom microprocessor, features 16GB of solid-state storage, Wi-Fi, optional 3G, USB, HDMI, HD webcam with noise cancelling microphone, 4-in-1 memory card slot and so on. The laptop weighs 1.34 kilograms and has 6 hours battery life.
Samsung Chromebook features 12.1” screen with 1280*800 resolution, is powered by dual-core Intel Atom (N550/1.50GHz) central processing units (CPUs), sports 16GB of solid-state storage, Wi-Fi, 3G, USB, HD webcam with noise cancelling microphone, 4-in-1 memory card slot and so on. The device weighs 1.48 kilograms and has 8.5 hours battery life.
The core of each Chromebook is the Google Chrome web browser. Google hopes that end-users will make use of various Internet-based applications than traditional programs. Chromebooks employ the principle of "defense in depth" to provide multiple layers of protection, including sandboxing, data encryption and verified boot. The web does have a lot of various applications, however, their capabilities, performance and quality are much lower compared to traditional programs. Google hopes that with HTML5 and other open standards, web applications "will soon be able to do anything traditional applications can do, and more". This, however, is unlikely to happen since traditional programs are not standing still. Moreover, it is rather hard to expect Intel Atom-based netbook with 12" screen to be as capable as a fully-fledged desktop or notebook PC.
Chromebooks will be available online June 15 in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain. More countries will follow in the coming months. Chromebooks will cost from $350 to $500, according to a number of reports.