Mobile and Wireless: Chromebook's Google-Only Experience Leaves User Feeling Disconnected

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2012-06-28 Print this article Print
The Latest Chromebook

The Latest Chromebook

The new Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook is basically a netbook that is linked to a Google account.
The latest editions of Google's portable and desktop hardware line, the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook and the Samsung Chromebox 3 are simple-to-use, consumer-oriented devices for people who want an Apple-like hardware, operating system and application market experience without the hefty price. Both new hardware devices reached the market May 30. The second-generation Samsung Chromebook comes in fairly slim, lightweight Samsung case and is built around an Intel Celeron 867 dual-core processor with a 16GB solid-state drive (SSD) and 4GB of RAM. Security features are built-in and updated to defend against the ongoing threat of malware and viruses, reducing the need for users to install antivirus software and simplifying life for IT administrators. But the comparison to Apple really stops almost as soon as it starts. Apple devices have a far greater breadth of application choice. And at the time we tested Google Docs, the productivity apps still had a limited ability to work offline. The new Samsung 5 550 ($449.99 for the WiFi model and $549.99 for the 3G wireless model) and the Acer AC700 Chromebook (starting at $299 and not tested here) can optionally use Verizon 3G cellular service in addition to the wireless LAN capability found in the previous-generation Chromebook. Unlike Apple, the Chromebook has an RJ-45 wire-line port. The all-new Samsung Series 3 Chromebox 3 is the first iteration of the Google Chrome OS in a desktop product. The compact form factor device measures 7.6 x 7.6 x 1.3 inches and resembles a set-top device. The Chromebox comes with a 16GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, and an Intel Celeron B840 Dual Core (1.9GHz) processor and can support up to a 30-inch monitor or use an HDTV using the Display Port output. The Chromebox supports Bluetooth and comes with six USB ports. Both devices tout an "always-new" computer via automatic, mandatory updates. Both devices are intimately connected to a user's Google account, which is required to log on to either device.
Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant is the executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Prior to ENP, Cameron was technical analyst at PCWeek Labs, starting in 1997. Cameron finished up as the eWEEK Labs Technical Director in 2012. Before his extensive labs tenure Cameron paid his IT dues working in technical support and sales engineering at a software publishing firm . Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his analysis is grounded in real-world concern. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at

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