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.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook 550

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.

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5 replies on “Cheaper Chromebooks could be on the way (and pricier ones too)”

  1. I’m probably one of the few that wants Chrome OS to succeed. No, I don’t use it and don’t see myself getting a Chromebook any time soon, for that matter. What I want is Coreboot to make its way to regular laptops and desktops.

  2. I don’t see Chromebooks taking off at least in the US. Mobile broadband costs way too much. You can’t just pop out your phone’s SIM into your notebook or tether it without violating your terms either.

    Also, both mobile and non-mobile broadband are sometimes not reliable nor fast enough to do certain things like streaming music and videos or enterprise software that would require a fast, low latency and reliable connection.

    With the price and physical size of Chromebooks (the bigger the device, the more I expect to do with it), most people and businesses are better off spending their money on the many affordable ULV ultraportables.

  3. yeah I didn’t understand how the old chromebooks were so expensive when I could get an eeepc for $250ish with the same specs, often with a windows xp license. 

    1. Multiple factors contributed to Chromebooks costing more…  First was the use of more premium construction and parts than typically used in netbooks.  Even with the same ATOM N550 processor the motherboard cost more than the netbook equivalent.

      Netbooks also have a more minimal size at 10″ versus the typical Chromebook at 11.6″ and 12.1″ sizes.  Though netbooks are sold at that size as well but bigger does tend to cost more and magnifies the effect of using more premium parts.

      Chromebooks also have a higher reliance on needing to be connected.  So many add the cost of 3G/4G, which most netbooks don’t offer.

      Establishing a new product, even based on previous products, has start up costs and needs to reach certain levels of mass production before costs go down.  While Chromebooks have yet to be successful enough to reach those kinds of production numbers.

      Now though the technology is improving, they’re learning how to make these systems more cheaply, and they’re getting alternative options like we may soon see ARM based Chromebooks, along with more powerful solutions like the series 5 Chromebook represents.

  4. chromebooks always needed to be available for the $200 mark to gain any kind of market share…  they are an extra PC,  even more so than a netbook

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