The next Chromebook to hit the streets will also be the cheapest to date. Pre-orders for the new Samsung Chromebook start this afternoon at 3:00PM Eastern, and you’ll be able to pick one up for $249. It should be available from major US and UK retailers Monday.
For that price you get a laptop with an 11.6 inch display, a Samsung Exynos 5 dual core ARM-based processor, and about 6.5 hours of battery life.
The new Chromebook is about $200 cheaper than the Samsung Chromebook 550 which launched this summer. It also gets slightly better battery life and weighs a little less. The new ARM-based model weighs 2.5 pounds while the Chromebook 550 weighs 3.3 pounds.
Samsung’s new Chromebook measures 0.8 inches thick and features 802.11n/ WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI output, and a VGA camera.
As expected, Google is also now offering 100GB of Google Drive storage when you buy a new Chromebook. It doesn’t matter if you go with the $249 model with a Samsung Exynos processor or the $449 model with an Intel Celeron CPU.
The Google Drive 100GB promotion also applies to the Chromebox Series 3 desktop computer. Google provides the free storage space for up to 2 years — after which all of your files remain online, but you won’t be able to upload additional files unless you buy more storage.
Chromebooks are basically laptops designed to run Google’s Chrome OS operating system. Chrome OS is based around the Chrome browser, and while you can store files, watch music or videos, or perform some other activities without an internet connection, a Chromebook is basically designed to let you get online and use the web.
In fact, the specifications page for the new Chromebook don’t even mention how much local storage the laptop has (The Verge reports it has 16GB and 2GB of RAM). There is an SD card slot though, so if you need extra space for local files, you can always throw a 16GB or 32GB card in there.
Google says the new Samsung Chromebook boots in just 10 seconds and resumes from sleep instantly. In other words, even though ARM-based chips are generally less powerful than Intel’s x86 processors in terms of raw processing power, Chrome OS has been tweaked to take advantage of some of the smartphone-like features we’ve come to expect from devices with low power ARM chips.
The Exynos 5 Dual chip, by the way, is one of the first ARM Cortex-A15 chips to hit the streets.
Chrome OS also supports hardware-accelerated graphics, which will help make scrolling and other activities look smooth.
Google is only offering a WiFi model of the Samsung Chromebook for now. There’s no 3G model yet, but GigaOm’s Kevin Tofel reports that there will be a 3G version eventually.
Amazon is already taking pre-orders for a 3G Chromebook for $329.99 — but the product listing shows a Samsung Exynos 4 CPU instead of an Exynos 5 chip. I suspect that’s an error.