The latest offering from the Google Samsung partnership is a lightweight notebook computer that boots up in seven seconds, offers built-in virus protection, 100GB of cloud storage and is priced at $249.
Google and Samsung have launched the Chromebook, their latest and cheapest attempt to get the world to love the cloud. Available for pre-order Friday in the US and UK, the new Chromebook weighs in at 1.1kg, boasts an 11.6-inch screen, looks more than a little like a MacBook Air and offers 16GB of in-built and 100GB of cloud storage for the price $249.
Running an ARM processor more often found in smartphones and tablets, the Chromebook will boot up in under 10 seconds and, compared to Mac or PC offerings, has very little in terms of pre-installed software or even operating system. But that's what sets it apart. Google's Chrome browser is essentially the operating system and the core of this device -- boot up, launch the browser and all of the applications and games one needs are there in Google Drive.
Google has never made any secret of its desire for everyone to move from the physical world to the virtual world of cloud computing, but until now, most people have been more than a little unsure as to whether or not they'd like it up there. Maybe they'd miss their CDs or their copy of Microsoft Office. But the benefits of the cloud are starting to win through. If everything is done in the cloud, a computer will never be prone to virus or malware attacks. And, if documents, photos and spreadsheets are all up there, they can be accessed and edited on any device at any time, as long as an internet connection is available. Then there's the price: at $249, offering significant value for money, it could be the tipping point.
And it's this combination of features, design and price that positions it as a second computer for around the home or a notebook kids can take to school, or one that can be simply used for typing, accounting, surfing the web, playing games, sharing and filing photos and listening to music which, unlike a tablet, has a keyboard.