Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chromebooks, the notebooks running the lightweight Chrome Operating System designed for powering Web applications through the Chrome browser, are getting discounted to $299.
Google introduced the Chrome notebooks from Samsung and Acer at the Google I/O developer conference last May as speedy machines that boot up in less than eight seconds and power down in less than that.
The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook launched for $429 for WiFi-only with a WiFi+3G model costing $499. Acer's Acer AC700 Chromebook cost $349 at launch. The new $299 price point is for the WiFi versions only.
The Series 5 was originally launched in titan silver and arctic white. Samsung is now selling a black version of its WiFi only Samsung Chromebook Series 5 for $349, a notebook that is currently available to U.S. users only.
Though Google positioned the price cuts as holiday discounts in a blog post, the cuts also may signal that Chromebooks aren't selling as strongly as the OEMs and Google would have liked. Recall that Logitech slashed the price of its Google TV Revue companion box from $299 to $249 before its most recent $99 fire sale en route to discontinuing the product.
Google is trying to punch up interest. The search engine is inviting potential customers to test Chromebooks at the Samsung Experience in New York City and has tapped Virgin America to let travelers on four different flight routes check out and use Samsung Series 5 Chromebooks paired with complimentary WiFi access free for the duration of their flight.
Folks who fly Virgin America from San Francisco, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth or Boston can "check out" a Series 5 Chromebook from a so-called "Chrome Zone" near their departure gate.
Meanwhile, Chromebooks and the rest of the Chrome ecosystem are getting upgrades. Google refreshed the Chromebook operating system-which, like the Chrome browser, gets upgraded every six weeks. Google claims Chromebooks now sport a new log-in experience.
Moreover, Google refreshed the New Tab page in Chrome to make it easier for users to access and manage applications and bookmarks; these include shortcuts to the File Manager on Chromebooks and to music applications and games in the Chrome Web Store.