$249 Samsung Chromebook now shipping from the Google Play Store

Google is now selling the Samsung Chromebook in the Google Play Store. You can order a WiFi model for $249 and expect it to be delivered in 3-5 business days.

Update: And… now it’s out of stock, but more units are expected soon. Either Samsung didn’t make very many, or $249 is a very good price. You be the judge. 

Up until now, the only hardware Google has sold through the Play Store has been the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone and Asus Nexus 7 tablet.

Retailers including Amazon, TigerDirect, and Newegg are also taking orders… but those stores still list the new Chromebook as available for pre-order with a ship date around Halloween.

Samsung Chromebook

Google is also selling accessories including a hard case and a spare charger.

The new Samsung Chromebook features an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, a Samsung Exynos 5 ARM Cortex-A15 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. It measures less than 0.7 inches thick and weighs about 2.4 pounds.

It runs Google Chrome OS, an operating system designed around the Chrome web browser. Instead of downloading and installing apps the way you would on a Windows PC or an Android tablet, Chrome OS users run web apps such as Gmail, Google Docs, or iPiccy (for editing photos).

Earlier Chromebooks had Intel x86 processors, but the new model is the first with an ARM-based chip. It’s also one of the first devices of any kind to ship with an ARM Cortex-A15 processor.

While even the latest ARM-based chips don’t have as much raw processing power as Intel’s Core Family processors, the Samsung Chromebook has been optimized to play well with the Exynos processor. It boots in 10 seconds, resumes from sleep almost instantly, gets about 6.5 hours of battery life, and feels pretty zippy when surfing the web — even with half a dozen or more browser tabs open.

In fact, I ran a few browser-based benchmarks on the Samsung Chromebook this morning, and found that it got a SunSpider score of 711 (lower is better) and a Peacekeeper score of 1095 (higher is better).

While most modern laptop and desktop computers score higher, those scores are better than I’ve seen from most phones or tablets. And they’re not that far from the scores I got with the Samsung Chromebook 550 this summer. That model has an Intel Celeron 867 processor and scored 606 on SunSpider and 1694 on Peacekeeper.

Anyway, I’ll have more results to share when the full review is ready to go, but right now I’m reasonably impressed with this $249 laptop — especially since customers get 100GB of Google Drive storage at no additional cost for 2 years. That’s a bonus worth about $120 at Google’s current rates.

Oh yeah, the new Chromebook can also run Ubuntu Linux.

A $330 model with 3G is also expected soon.

via Android Police

  • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

    I am curious to know how easy it is to use an alternative source of cloud storage. I’ve seen hints that it can be done — so you can use Dropbox intsead, for example — but is this something you can do easily in the UI (like picking your favored browser in Windows) or does it take a hack to do it?

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      As far as I can tell there’s nothing keeping you from using dropbox, sugarsync, skydrive or any other cloud storage. But you’ll have to upload and download your files manually using a web browser.

      Google Drive files can be accessed using the same file manager that you use to access items in local storage.

      • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

        Yeah, it was mostly seamless integration I was looking for. Of course, it’s not in Google’s best interests to make that easy, and I guess they’re trying to soften any blow of being locked into GDrive with the free 100GB for two-years deal. Thanks for looking into it.

      • http://rct.me.ht/ crashsuit

        Not sure how much this’ll help, but Otixo is a web app that can remotely shuffle files between different cloud storage services. You get a certain amount of bandwidth free each month, or you can pay extra for (I think) unlimited. I have the free account and it’s pretty nice for syncing all my cloud services. They also support FTP and WebDAV sites.

      • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

        That’s certainly one approach, though for Chromebook specifically, what’s really needed is something that hooks into the back end of ChromeOS and allows you to access other sources of cloud storage as transparently as you can with Google Drive.

  • Vouty

    I can see using a netbook for Windows/Linux, but wondering why anyone would choose to use a Chromebook instead of an Android tablet for the same price? I still use an Asus 1215B (Win 7 64) just to have a cheap portable that can run desktop Photoshop CS5, but I hardly use it anymore for anything else. On the go email, web browsing, etc. is all done on my Android smartphone.

    • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

      How many hours a day do people surf, email, Facebook, and use other online services that often require more than the occasional line of text input? Google’s thesis (no doubt based on a lot of market research) is that enough people do this often enough and for long enough that a cheap but well-built netbook-style device would fit their needs. Tablets are more suited for watching videos and playing casual games, perhaps, but when it comes to typing, a real keyboard is still hard to beat.

      The Chromebook is over $200 cheaper than the equivalent sized tablets+keyboard combinations. Whether that is enough to win them a place in the market remains to be seen. The confluence point between tablets, netbooks, and cheap notebooks is a tough nut to crack for sure.

      • Vouty

        Good point Mike. $249 for a quality netbook is still a good deal. Though it seems like it’s getting more and more common to see people with ipads in a keyboard case sitting in waiting rooms all over town.

      • Mark

        It’s going to be a big pain during those few situations that are not web related or supported by Chrome OS. I can only see tech enthusiasts going for a notebook/dekstop + Chromebook setup but not regular users. I’m sure many people would rather have a single device that can do everything. For me, I’d rather go for an 11.6″ – 12.5″ ultraportable and a monitor at the desk.

        Then again, I also thought this about mobile OS based tablets except this time Chromebooks aren’t exactly as portable. So maybe I’ll be right this time :) .

      • John

        Ubuntu or any other Linux distro on netbooks didn’t take off at all. Chrome OS on notebook-like devices will probably have an even harder time.

      • http://rationaldreaming.com/ Mike

        That’s fine if you have $800+ to spend on an ultraportable. Chromebook will live or die by its native OS. I think they have an uphill battle but I do understand why they believe it’s worth a shot. At $450 they didn’t have a prayer, but at $250, we’ll see.

      • Joe

        Are you saying that there’s a good enough amount of people who would only use a Chromebook? I don’t believe that is so. Chromebooks look like a secondary device for people who will also have a desktop or regular notebook which, together, could cost more than that $800 ultraportable.

        I agree with Mark. Chromebooks would likely be used as companion devices like tablets where people would also be using traditional PCs.