Samsung and Google have introduced a new Chromebook, the Samsung Series 5, as well as the Series 3 Chromeboxa compact, Mac mini-ish desktop for home or office, in a first for Google.
Touted as the always new computer, these sorta-PCs have no operating system and no programsand so no need for updates or virus-protection software or backups. They center around Googles Chrome browser, run applications and rely strenuously on the cloud.
This is the next step in our journey toward an always-new computing experience focused on speed, simplicity and security, Googles Caesar Sengupta, director of product management, said in a May 29 statement.
This next-generation of hardware delivers nearly three times the performance of Googles first-generation Chromebooks, said Sengupta, adding, With a new, app-centric user interface rolling out today and thousands of available Web apps, we couldnt be more excited about this evolution.
The Series 5 Chromebook measures less than an inch thick, weighs 3.3 pounds and features a full-size keyboard and a 12.1-inch display with a resolution of 1280 by 800.
It runs a 1.3GHz Intel Celeron 867 dual-core processor, offers a battery life up to 6 hours, has a 1-megapixel HD Webcam, Intel HD Graphics, 4GB of SO-DIMM (small outline dual in-line memory module) memory, a 16GB solid-state drive and lots of ports2 USB 2.0, a 4-in-1 memory card slot, a DP++ for HDMI and DVI, and ports for Gigabit Ethernet and headphones and microphones.
With WiFi only, it will run you $450; with optional built-in 3G, the price hops up to $550. Go for the 3G option, however, and for two years Verizon Wireless will spring for up to 100MB per month of Mobile Broadband service.
The Chromebox, which comes with 3G, measures 7.6 by 7.6 by 1.3 inches, weighs 2.45 pounds, runs a 1.9MHz Intel Celeron B840 dual-core processor, Intel HD Graphics 3000 and can be connected to two 30-inch displays.
There are 6 USB 2.0 ports, 2 DP++ display out ports that support HDMI and DVI for a resolution of 2560 by 1600, a headphone/microphone jack and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Theres 4GB of RAM, a 16GB SSD and a price tag of $330.
Google, in a blog post, called the user interface app-centric, explaining that one can use apps alongside the browser or other apps. You can pin commonly used apps for quick access, display multiple windows side-by-side or experience your favorite apps in full-screen mode without any distractions, it added.
There are also hundreds of offline-capable Web apps in the Chrome Web store.
Plus, says Google, Microsoft Office documents can all be viewed, so theres no need to install additional software; with the next release of Chrome, in six weeks time, Google Drive will be integrated with File Manager to support offline access; and Google Docs offline support, arriving over the next few weeks, will let users keep working on [documents] even when offline and seamlessly sync back up when you re-connect.
Despite these still-to-arrive components, both the Series 5 Chromebook and Series 3 Chromebox will go on saleat Amazon.com, Tiger.com, NewEgg.com, BestBuy.com and BHPhoto.comMay 30.
Earlier this month, Chrome pulled ahead of Microsoft Internet Explorer to become the worlds most-used browser for a full week, according to data from StatCounter. The site called the growing trend in Chrome usage, which picks up on weekends when people have more browser free will, undeniable.
Samsung also had a big monthif not also a big daybeginning sales of its anxiously awaited Galaxy S III smartphone May 29. Arousing the type of enthusiasm generally reserved for the Apple iPhone, the smartphonewhich features Android 4.0, a quad-core processor, reportedly a great camera and one of the largest displays on the marketreceived more than 9 million preorders.