Cloud Computing: Samsung Series 5 Chromebook Features Invite Hands-on Experience
David Steel, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics, introduces the Samsung Series 5, which was presented at a Google I/O keynote earlier in the day. "We're thrilled to be partnering with Google in launching what we consider to be an entirely new product category," Steel said. He noted that consumers are spending more time online and credited Google with being the leader recognizing this trend. Chromebooks, Steel said, will help users access applications online.
Pichai is Everywhere
Google's Pichai said it's been a four-and-a-half-year journey from the Chrome browser to Chrome OS. Pichai argued the Chromebook will grow on users over time because the OS continually "gets better over time," which doesn't happen in the traditional computing industry where machines get junked in favor of new models.
Samsung's Series 5 is a sleek machine with a typically crisp "SuperBright," 1280 x 800 display geared for outdoor viewing.
The Series 5 Chromebook comes in Titan Silver or Arctic White.
At 0.79 inches, the notebook is super thin, though that is a relative term in an age in which users are snapping up iPad 2s that are 0.34 inches thick.
The chip is an Intel Atom 1.66GHz dual-core processor. The device also has a high-definition Webcam for video chat.
The Series 5 boots up and gets users online within 10 seconds. Most tests show 8 seconds or less.
Solid PowerPlus battery life yields 8.5 hours of time for most use cases.
Samsung is offering the notebook for $429 in a WiFi-only version, or $499 for a WiFi+3G model. Verizon will provide 100MB a month of data for two years. Users who need more data can tap into pay-as-they-go plans.
We got to see the Arctic White Series 5, which had a matte material finish to reduce fingerprints.
As white as the device was on the outside, it was black on the inside. In fact, what we saw was strikingly like the Cr-48 test model Google issued last winter. A Google official booted the device up like the Cr-48 by opening the lid. Closing it puts it back to sleep.
Here is the side profile, which reveals headphone and microphone jacks, and dual USB ports. The SD card slot is in the front.
If the chiclet keyboard and trackpad look familiar, that's because it's the same hardware design as that of the Cr-48. Indeed, even the log-in process, which shows a user's picture and takes only seconds, is the same.
Gmail on the Series 5
Gmail worked well on the Series 5. The multi-gesture trackpad was scrollable via two fingers. Support for offline Gmail, Docs and other applications is coming later.
Running a Gmail Chat Session
Here's a peek at the application home screen. Note that a user's Gmail chat session stays open as the user moves from screen to screen.
Here is the file manager, which is something users didn't see on the Cr-48. Users may manage Google Docs, Picasa pictures, YouTube videos and other media here.
Check out this HBO Go application on the crisp Series 5 screen. In general, applications loaded within seconds, a nice reprieve from waiting several seconds for localized applications to load up.