Chromebooks are going (a little more) global. A chromebook is a laptop running Google’s Chrome operating system, and up until recently you could only buy one in the US or the UK.
Now Acer, HP, and Samsung are starting to offer chromebooks in additional countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
Prices will vary by country, but the basic features stay the same. A chromebook is designed to boot quickly, resume from sleep even faster, and get you online almost as soon as you can open the lid — which makes sense, since the operating system is basically designed around a web browser.
Most of the apps you run on a chromebook are web apps, and while some models have large hard drives, many chromebooks have relatively small solid state disks instead — the idea is that most of the apps, music, movies, and other content you need will be stored online.
In fact, when you buy a chromebook, Google will give you 100GB of free cloud storage with Google Drive for 2 years. Google gives 5GB to folks who haven’t purchased Chrome OS hardware.
Chromebooks aren’t necessarily the best laptops for every user, but if you spend most of your time on a Windows, Mac, or Linux PC using the web browser anyway, it might not be that hard to make the switch — especially if you’re just looking for an inexpensive secondary computer. Power users have also found it’s pretty easy to install Ubuntu or other operating systems on most Chromebooks if you really can’t live without native desktop apps.
Chrome OS also makes sense from a security standpoint: Updates are downloaded and installed automatically, so you’re pretty much always up to date, and since you can’t easily install third party apps, it’s tough to accidentally install malware on a Chrome OS laptop.
Google says the Acer, HP, and Samsung chromebooks will be available at retail stores in the additional countries, and also available for schools and businesses.
US retailer Best Buy is also planning to offer chromebooks in more locations — all of the company’s bricks and mortar stores (there are more than a thousand of them) will carry chromebooks soon. Google says that move will double the number of stores selling Chrome OS laptops in the US.