Samsung is going to begin selling a notebook computer running Google’s Chrome operating system that is powered by an ARM processor, features an 11.6-inch screen, battery life of 6.5 hours and carries a list price of $249.
Google unveiled the Samsung Chromebook at an event in San Francisco Oct. 18.
Bearing a resemblance to the Apple MacBook Air, the Chromebook weighs in at just 2.43 pounds, is just 0.8 inches thick and boots up in less than 10 seconds. And because it’s equipped with an ARM processor, it doesn’t need a fan.
This latest Chromebook launch follows Samsung’s release of the Series 5 550 Chromebook notebook, with a starting price of $450 and the Chromebox Series 3 desktop computer for $330 in May. With a starting price of $250, the latest Samsung Chromebook is expected to find a few more buyers.
Google describes Chrome OS computers as “cloud-based” computers, in that they are built for a Google ecosystem of Drive, Gmail, Google Docs, You Tube, Search and Google +. The Samsung product also includes 100GB of free storage for two years on the Google Drive cloud-based storage service.
“Many people use the Chromebook today as the perfect additional computer for their home,” wrote Sundar Pichai, senior vice president in the Chrome and Applications business unit at Google, in a blog post coinciding with the Samsung launch. “There’s no need to worry about security, and maintenance is easy; all you need to do is charge the battery. It just works.”
The only applications installed on the device are the Google Chrome Web browser, which incorporates a media player, and a file manager.
The Chrome browser is more of a presence in the computer industry than the OS. The OS doesn’t even register in a ranking of the top operating systems, based on market share, from Net Applications.com. Its September report puts Microsoft Windows at a 92 percent share of the desktop/notebook market, Apple’s Mac OS X at 7 percent and Linux at 1 percent. Chrome OS is built on Linux, but it’s unclear from the Net Applications report whether the Linux number includes Chrome. Even if it does, its share would be less than 1 percent.
The Chrome browser, meanwhile, holds a respectable 19 percent of the desktop browser market, while Google Android enjoys a 21 percent share on smartphones and tablets.
The Samsung Chromebook is available for preorder now on Amazon.com and the Websites of Best Buy and PC World, a U.K.-based electronics retailer. Starting Oct. 22, it will be available at more than 500 Best Buy physical stores in the U.S and at more than 30 PC World and Currys stores in the U.K.
Besides Samsung, Google Chrome OS is also available on the AC700 model notebook computer from Acer.