May 14, 2011 by Vincent
Chromebooks To Be Available on June 15th
For those who’ve been longing for a Chrome OS machine, the wait is almost over. The first two Chromebooks models, built by Samsung and Acer respectively, will be available on June 15th in U.S. (from Amazon & BestBuy), U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain.
They are available in two flavors, WiFi only or with 3G. In U.S., the 3G models are bundled with 100MB data monthly from Verizon for two years.
Both the Chromebooks are powered by Intel Atom Dual-Core Processor, two USB ports, one memory card slot, HD webcam with noise-canceling microphone and a full size Chrome keyboard. What sets them apart are the larger 12.1″ Samsung screen compared to Acer’s 11.6″, Samsung’s 8.5 hours battery life, compared to Acer’s 6 hours, and Samsung’s Mini-VGA port compared to Acer’s HDMI port.
With a smaller screen, the Acer Chromebook is slightly lighter at 2.95 lbs (Samsung’s weighing at 3.26 lbs).
The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook will be selling at $429 for WiFi-only and $499 for 3G. Being smaller, the Acer Chromebook is more affordable at just $349 for WiFi-only. No pricing information is available for Acer’s 3G Chromebook at this point.
Chromebooks for Business and Education
For schools and businesses, Chromebooks can be purchased with a subscription plan. With a minimum order of 10 units, education institutions and enterprises can opt to pay $20/user monthly and $28/user monthly for three years. 3G Chromebooks will cost an additional $3 monthly per user, and they too will be bundled with Verizon’s 100MB monthly data.
During this period, full warranty, technical support and updates will be provided. After the three years contract has ended, those who choose to continue paying will receive new Chromebooks to replace their aged laptops.
A three-year commitment is considerably longer than what most consumers are comfortable with. But Google decides that the period is just right with its market research showing that most institutions do not replace their machines in less than three years.
Offline Support for Google Docs, Calendar and Gmail
If your work don’t demand any unique desktop software, chances are you will find most of your software needs available in the form of web app. Google itself offers some of the most widely used apps for free, like Docs, Calendar, Gmail, Picasa and Picnic.
For now, you obviously have to be online to access these apps, but that will soon change. Google is said to be readying offline support for Google Docs, Calendar and Gmail. Perhaps they’d be ready just in time by June 15th, but don’t quote me on that.
Introducing the Chromebook: