The new Samsung Series 5 Chromebook 550 boots more quickly than most computers running Windows. It resumes from sleep instantly. And while its Celeron processor isn’t exactly the fastest CPU around, the computer feels very quick and responsive most of the time.
Part of the reason the laptop feels so zippy is because it’s running Chrome OS — Google’s operating system designed around the Chrome web browser. But with a starting price of $450, the Chromebook is more expensive than many Windows laptops which are perfectly capable of running the Chrome browser and thousands of native apps such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop.
Future Chromebooks might not be as pricey, though.
Google VP Sundar Pichai tells ABC News that the company is working with a number of companies producing Chromebooks — and that there will be a range of price points. The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook 550 is in the middle… which means we could see Chrome OS laptops for less than $400 soon. We could also see more expensive models as well.
Samsung’s latest Chromebook has a 1.3 GHz Intel Celeron 867 dual core processor, 4GB of RAM, a 16GB solid state disk, and a 12.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display.
One way to produce a cheaper Chromebook would be to skimp on the CPU or RAM — but that would leave you with a product like last year’s Samsung Series 5 Chromebook or Acer AC700. Those models were powered by Intel Atom processors and felt downright sluggish when compared with the latest Chromebook.
ABC News reports that another way to lower costs could be to offer laptops that are at least partially subsidized by advertising — much the way Amazon sells Kindle eReaders with “special offers” at lower prices than the ad-free models. Pichai says this is something Google is at least aware of, although it’s not clear if there are currently any plans to release an ad-supported Chromebook.