Google today introduced the third generation its ultraportable laptop line, the Samsung Chromebook.
Similar to the previous Samsung Chromebook 550, the new model ditches the numeric naming scheme and sheds a few pounds. The new model weighs 2.5 lbs and is 0.8-inches at its thinnest point.
The Chromebook is Google's answer to Intel's Ultrabooks and Apple's MacBook Air. Only the Chromebook ditches Intel processors in favor of the ARM-based Samsung Exynos 5 Dual processor, a newer, faster version of the CPU running in the Galaxy S III. The Exynos should run remarkably faster thanks to a the quad-core Mail-T604 graphics processing unit built-into the Exynos 5.
The Chromebook, at least on paper, is better than its predecessor in a few other ways, too. It should be whisper-quiet as there are no fans and is expected to get around 6.5 hours of battery life on a full charge. The 11.6-inch display with a 1366x768 resolution (same as the MacBook Air) should look lovely. There's no built-in 3G mobile data, but it does have duel Wi-Fi antennas to make it easier to connect to any wireless networks in your area.
It's not short on ports, either. There's one for HDMI out (awesome), one USB 3.0, and one USB 2.0. It's Bluetooth 3.0 compatible and has a built-in VGA front-facing camera for video chats.
The only specs that give us pause are the storage, a 16 GB solid state drive, and the RAM which is 2 GB. However, Google will give new buyers 100 GB of free Google Drive Cloud Storage for free.
But local storage is not what the Chromebook is about. It's about living your life in the cloud. The operating system Google's Chrome, is based around the company's browser of the same name. At its media event, held today at Google's San Francisco office, Google stressed that Chromebooks are not meant to be a digital workhorse. It's meant to compliment people's other gadgets—laptops, desktops, even tablets.
Price and availability
Then there's the price. When it becomes available on Monday, the Samsung Chromebook will cost $249. That's a fourth of the price of the entry-level MacBook Air. Granted, the MBA is more powerful and feature-filled, but the Chromebook is priced to move and could prove to be the perfect machine for those who need a tablet-like device with a keyboard.