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Acer and Samsung unveil Chrome OS ‘Chromebooks’

May 11, 2011  |  Eric Brown  |  from the LinuxDevices Archive

Samsung and Acer will start selling the first Google Chrome OS notebooks starting June 15, priced from $349 to $499 but also available as part of monthly business/school subscriptions. The 12.1-inch Samsung Chromebook Series 5 and the 11.6-inch Acer Chromebook offer dual-core 1.66GHz Intel Atom N570 processors, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 16GB solid state disk, memory card reader, a webcam, USB, Wi-Fi, and optional 3G.

Google's entirely web-based Chrome Operating System (OS), — built on a Linux kernel and Google's Chrome browser — will make its first commercial appearance on June 15 when Samsung and Acer will sell "Chromebook" models, says Google. The company promised as much when it gave away a CR-48 test Chrome OS notebook to project developers in December, but now we know the time, the name, and the features, which Google and Amazon have posted on their respective Chromebook sites (see details farther below and a link at end).

Acer Chromebook (left) and Samsung Chromebook Series 5
(Click on either to enlarge)

The announcements came on day two of the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, which yesterday featured the release of Android 3.1, a sneak peak at "Ice Cream Sandwich," an Android@Home platform, and a Music Beta by Google site, among other news.

The Chromebooks will offer Wi-Fi, as well as optional 3G provided by Verizon, the latter with a free 100MB of downloads per month. Pricing for the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 is $429 with Wi-Fi-only and $499 with 3G, according to a Clint Boulton report posted from Google I/O on our sister site eWEEK. Acer's Chromebook will start at $349, the story adds.

According to Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Chrome product management, who gave this morning's keynote, the notebooks will be available June 15 through Amazon and Best Buy in the U.S. The notebooks will also be available from various sources in the U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, and Italy, says the story.

In addition, Google is offering the devices via subscription for businesses and schools. It will charge $28 per user per month for the business edition and $20 per user per month for the education edition.

According to eWEEK, enterprises must commit to a three-year subscription. In return, they'll get not only the devices, but also support that includes device warranties, replacements, and "hardware refreshes," says Google. Also said to be included is a cloud management console for provisioning and manages devices, applications and policies.


Acer Chromebook

The Chromebooks boot in eight seconds and resume instantly, claims Google. This is two seconds faster than the 10 seconds promised for the CR-48 developers device. On the other hand, Amazon cites a 10-second boot on the Samsung Chromebook, contradicting Google. The fast boot is achievable thanks to the lack of a BIOS startup process, among other simplifications in this stripped down OS.

Pichai also said that Chrome OS users may open or download web applications, such as Gmail, Angry Birds, or Google Docs, and begin using them within seconds via the Chrome Browser. A special web version of Angry Birds was demonstrated at the event. 

Google's Sundar Pichai flashing Samsung Chromebox at Google I/O
Source: Thisismynext

Apparently, there was no mention of the tablet support that Google previously confirmed was being built into Chrome OS. "We've chosen to focus initially on notebooks because that is where most of the web usage is today," Pichai said during his keynote, reported Boulton.

However, Pichai was quoted as saying Samsung has built a "Chromebox," a thin desktop computer that will also be offered via a business subscription model. The image above comes from Thisismynext, which like other reports, lacked any additional info from the brief Chromebox mention.

Samsung and Acer Chromebooks

The first Chromebooks will be based on a dual-core Intel Atom. According to Amazon notification pages for the Acer and Samsung Chromebooks, the devices both use a 1.66GHz Atom N570. The N570 broke cover in February, featuring an 8.5 Watt TDP, 1MB L2 cache, and support for 64-bit operation and virtualization (irrelevant here, naturally).


Samsung Chromebook Series 5

Compared to the earlier, very similar Atom N550, the N570 supports double the RAM, at 4GB. The first Chromebooks, however, ship with 2GB of DDR3 memory, with no mention of expansion.


Samsung Chromebook Series 5 port detail

The biggest differences between the notebooks is the screen size: 11.6 inches for the Acer and 12.1 inches for the Samsung. Both systems offer a 16GB solid state disk (SSD) and memory card reader, but no hard disk drive or Ethernet. The notebooks offer 802.11b/g/n and optional 3G, however, says Amazon. They also supply dual USB 2.0 ports and audio I/O, as well as an HDMI port (Acer) or VGA dongle (Samsung).


Acer Chromebook

Specifications for the Acer Chromebook include:
  • Processor — Intel Atom dual-core N570 @ 1.66GHz with Intel GMA3150
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage — 16GB SSD (mSATA)
  • Memory expansion — 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • Display — 11.6-inch (1366 x 768) widescreen CineCrystal LED-backlit LCD
  • Wireless — dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n); optional world-mode 3G (Qualcomm Gobi 2000-3G)
  • Camera — 1.3-megapixel HD webcam (1280 x 1024)
  • Audio — HD audio; noise cancelling microphone; 2 x speakers
  • I/O — 2 x USB 2.0 ports; HDMI port
  • Battery — six-cell Li-Ion with 8 hours (Amazon) or 6 hours (Google)
  • Weight — 2.95 lbs. (1.34 k)
  • Other features — fullsize Chrome keyboard; oversize fully-clickable trackpad


Samsung Chromebook Series 5, rear view

Specifications for the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 include:
  • Processor — Intel Atom dual-core N570 @ 1.66GHz with Intel GMA3150
  • Display — 12.1-inch (1280 x 800); 300 nit
  • Memory — 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage — 16GB SSD (mSATA)
  • Memory expansion — 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • Wireless — dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n); and world-mode 3G (optional)
  • Camera — 1-megapixel HD webcam
  • Audio — HD audio; noise canceling microphone; headphone.mic jack
  • I/O — 2 x USB 2.0 ports;VGA (via optional dongle)
  • Battery — 8.5 hours continuous usage
  • Thickness — 0.79 inches thick
  • Weight — 3.26 lbs. (1.48 k)
  • Other features — fullsize Chrome keyboard; oversize fully-clickable trackpad

Availability

The Acer and Samsung Chromebooks will be available June 15 at Amazon.com and Best Buy, says Google. Pricing for the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 is $429 with Wi-Fi-only and $499 with 3G. Acer's Chromebook will start at $349, says the story.

More information on the Chromebooks and the latest Chrome OS features may be found at Google's Chromebook page, as well as this Amazon Chromebook page.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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