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New $250 Chromebook (chrome.blogspot.com)
423 points by ConstantineXVI on Oct 18, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 329 comments

"A Chromebook for everyone"; cool. The article talks about the author's childhood in India, how he dreams of bringing computers to everyone. The price makes it a device that could be bought by anyone. The size of the computer, the autonomy, the low power, everything looks like it's meant to really democratize computers to an even wider audience, say in developing countries where 3G/LTE networks are surprisingly developed and cheap (depends on the country, of course).

But then, its bundled with Verizon, limited to the US and the UK. What are the 3G frequencies? Is this thing locked with Verizon? Say I want to give one to my friend in Vietnam, so he/she can get access to a computer, will the 3G modem support the carrier's frequencies there? Unknown: it's listed as "WLAN : 802.11 a/b/g/n, WWAN : Verizon 3G". Great.

The device is nice, the price is nice. But marketing it as "a Chromebook for everyone" is just wrong. It's a laptop for people in the US, that's it. And really, I wonder what kind of "humanitarian" problem it's solving. I understand the low price is to create a following for the product, but I find the "Chromebook for everyone" brand phony.

Unless "everyone" == "Verizon customers living in the US".

"A Chromebook for everyone" (who wants to be tethered to the Google ecosystem and the preying telcos).

A "laptop for everyone" is far easier. There are thousands and thousands for $100 or less on eBay that are far more powerful, easier to repair, have local storage and don't tie you to an ecosystem or a telco. Grab a Lenovo T61, chuck Mint on it and you've got something several orders of magnitude more useful. They even work in space:


Sorry but I don't get it. It's a rather expensive (for the limitations) toaster.

I have a thinkbook. I love it to death, but I can't leave it on for more than 15-30 minutes before the sound of the fan going annoys me too much. Same with the MacBook Air for that matter. A friend of mine has one and as soon as he launched WoW on it, the fans kicked in and I was amazed at how loud the Air was.

These have no fans. No moving parts to worry about. That is one of their biggest advantages. I can use an ARM netbook while my SO is sleeping next to me. Not so for an actual laptop.

I don't think this is a fair comparison. You might as well compare a tablet running a web browser to a laptop running a 3D game.

For anything other than gaming, I don't even notice my Air has a fan (I agree it's -very- noisy when it's running, but the point is for the stuff you're going to do on a Chromebook the fan isn't going to be noticeable on any other laptop either), and that's the same for most modern laptops I've used.

That isn't what I'm comparing though. My use case is obviously different. For me, I'm working on software, I'm compiling software. On an ARM machine with no moving parts, this is a silent activity. On every other machine, this is far from silent.

I brought up the Air mostly because I didn't know what the noise was when he started the game. I thought that the Air didn't have any moving parts. In fact, I'm still debating getting one, but a machine that's silent at 250 that can do what I want it to is a much faster decision than one that is ~1000.

I know my use case isn't typical, but it is the one I rely on when deciding what to get for myself, and silent is good for my needs, and how much noise the computer makes when I've got all cores running on a compile is a factor, for your needs it may not be, or you may not do the same type of work.

The point I'm getting at is that no matter what I do on a machine with no moving parts, it's going to be silent. An older laptop on eBay may be more useful for some people, and I'll never fully move away from a workhorse machine until ARM performance is on par, but it's still nice to have when she's sleeping and I'm still mulling over a fix.

I understand your point that it's silent. I just don't see how comparing the another laptop to the Chromebook by talking about something that the Chromebook won't run (eg WoW). Personally, apart from 3D gaming I haven't noticed any noise at all from my Air (from compiling, rendering video, etc).

You said yourself that you're not in a position to fully change to something ARM-based because of performance issues, and that's precisely my point: what's the point of saying the Chromebook is superior in it's silence? I might as well say that a piece of paper has superior battery life to my laptop because I can use it for 24 hours without charging. They do different things.

(On a tangent, what are the options for actually developing software using ChromeOS, my understanding of it was there was little to no access to local filesystems for that sort of thing? Or are you talking about installing some other OS on it?

Edit: Read your post a bit further down about putting Gentoo on it. Still curious if there's much scope for developing in ChromeOS itself... did a bit of searching but not a lot of the hits sounded practical or were native.)

The newest Air uses a different type of fan (as does the retina MBP). It's quieter (perceptibly so) and is nothing like the traditional "whining" fan; it sounds more like white noise. In my rMBP, I'll intentionally max out the fans when playing a game (to reduce heat on my hands) and the sound isn't really noticeable at all. It sounds like the ambient noise from my air conditioner or the highway near my house; in fact it's so close that I literally can't hear the laptop if I'm sitting on my balcony.

That said, I think you're significantly overstating the noise of a modern Mac in the first place. Some of the non-retina MBPs run pretty warn, but my last-gen Air was silent unless I tried to play games on it. Even when writing code. I could build a ~500 file Java project in IntelliJ and it wouldn't even get warm, let alone kick on the fans.

The only Mac experience I have personally is a core duo version (one of the first intel MacBook Pro) and then listening to the coworker's air. I'm glad to hear that newer ones are quieter, and that's definitely going to weigh in on my next "workhorse" laptop.

Cool. FWIW, my retina MBP idles around 45 deg C, goes up to about 65 when watching a Flash video (maybe 55 for HTML5 video), and as high as 90 deg C when playing XCOM in Parallels (at which point I manually crank up the fans because OS X tends to prefer heat over noise and I do not).

>These have no fans. No moving parts to worry about. That is one of their biggest advantages. I can use an ARM netbook while my SO is sleeping next to me. Not so for an actual laptop.

That is a ridiculous statement. My mac air is silent under normal use for everything but 3d gaming.

My t61 is silent. You probably need to replace the fan or add thermal grease.

A T61 is more like at least $200, at least here in Romania. Though, buying a second hand or refurbished computer might be a good option.

I think you are somewhat confused. (Edit: I had misunderstood the parent; see below.) The $250 model does not appear to be bundled with Verizon. In fact, I don’t think it has 3G capabilities, just Wi-Fi.

The higher-cost Chromebook 550 (Intel) does support 3G.

So your entire argument is based upon a misunderstanding, is it not?

Sorry, I was refering to the 3G model (329.99$), but I forgot to make it clear in my comment.

However, my perspective is that Chromebooks are meant to be used with a connection to the internet, which makes the 3G model sort of mandatory (for 3G/LTE access is more accessible - in my experience - in developing countries than full internet connections). It's in that perspective that I hold this argument.

For the case I'm basing this opinion on, a basic internet connection (DSL) in Vietnam costs much more money than a basic 3G/LTE internet connection. Also, a DSL connection will only be usable from home. I know this DSL/3G relation is also the case in other developing countries.

if your chromebook has 3g capabilities, you can connect to global 3g networks. chill. you have no basis for your argument. http://support.google.com/chromeos/bin/answer.py?hl=en&a...

Ah, that does make a lot of sense, and jives with what I've gathered of developing markets, as well.

One imagines some sort of tethering to be feasible, if not universally applicable, for those who want a computer form factor and already have 3G Internet on their phone.

I don't know about Vietnam, but in the Middle East(at least in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt which is where I've been in the past few years) 3G is usually way more expensive than DSL due to low data caps. I pay 10$/mo[1] and have a 100MB/mo cap + 0.1$ for every MB over quota. DSL is ~30$/mo and a 12GB cap(this is Lebanon). So at least in this part of the 3rd world 3G is useless for anything other than checking your mail, chat and the occasional google search.

[1] That is, over and above the 20$/mo for the phone line itself. So if I were to get a line just for 3G usage(so as to put it in a tablet or chrombook, for example) it'd be more like 30$/mo.

Exactly. Tablets/Netbooks have been going down in price for some time, so while this is cheap by hardware standards, I would take into account the hidden costs - that many users will need to shell out ~$30 a month on data plans.

So this $250 + ~$600-700 over 2 years for a total of almost $1000. I'd consider that instead of the "low sticker price" when comparing options.

Except the 250$ model does not have 3g so it really is 25$.

It's the 330$ 3g model that's got the deceptive pricing.

Weird future moment: a 21st century industry titan has to use puppies, kitties, and children to sell a machine that freely dispenses the sum total of humanity's knowledge.


Since I learned I was going to be a dad (in 7 months!), I've found these kinds of advertisements increasingly unsettling, in an uncanny-valley kind of way.

I love my tiny one. I've heard the quick little heartbeat. I'm largely responsible for if this little person grows up happy and healthy. The enormity of the ensuing feelings is impossible to express.

Uncanny valley situations arise when a simulation looks almost real, maybe 96% real, but the 4% difference is very unsettling because it just looks _off_. You feel a creeping sensation that something is wrong.

In this video, Google very poignantly portrays a bunch of vibrant people, children and fathers prominently featured. They are picking at the deepest heartstrings I've ever known. At the deepest anxieties and aspirations that it is possible to have in the human experience. It's 96% poignant.

But...they're doing this for what reason again? So they can sell me a $250 piece of electronics and absorb my family into their ecosystem? It's a 4% that makes the entire rest of it feel fake.

Turns out that cognitive dissonance relating to your children, even peripherally, is really uncomfortable. :/


I don't mean to deny your gut/emotional response. But isn't all of capitalism based on the idea that two entities can make an exchange that is mutually beneficial?

On the purely economic level, Google is offering a hunk of electronics and software for $250. (There are secondary economic effects too; the Chromebook will encourage the use of Google services, etc).

On the emotional level, Google is offering an an experience and trying to show how it could be a part of your family life and make it better. And you are offering Google employees a chance to feel like they're making the world better (speaking as a Googler, I can say that I definitely care about that sort of thing).

As a completely honest question: do you feel this way about ads that sell diapers/baby-food/etc?

ps. Congratulations on fatherhood!


No, I don't really have this visceral reaction (or at least not nearly as much) to baby companies, but that is probably because none of their stuff that I've seen feels as starkly personal as this video. Maybe their stuff is 50% to 80% compelling, and thus doesn't make it into uncanny valley territory.

Also, because products more fundamentally require themes of babies / children / parenting, so discordance is limited anyway.

That's an interesting thought about the emotional exchange, I never thought of people in a company as recipients in an emotional exchange with their customers. Fascinating.

Hey, there's a reason "Won't somebody please think of the children?" is such a devastatingly effective argument. I've found it is an effective cognitive defense to learn to become pissed off that somebody would be so manipulative as to reach for that. It's the cognitive-emotional equivalent of grabbing you by the balls, and it's not a polite move.

Appeals to emotion rarely have any substance - but remember that sometimes there is other supporting evidence for arguments, even if an emotional appeal is used.


Having worked in the advertising world at many points in my career, I completely understand the visceral reaction you're talking about (I now work in news).

When my son was born a year and a half ago, my wife and I agreed to a "no screen time" clause for him until the age of two. When he's around, there's no television, laptop screens, Netflix, or iPhones. Occasionally, exceptions occur, and it's not a big deal. NPR and Pandora are acceptable media alternatives in our household.

So far the results have been great. He LOVES to read, and has shown a general disinterest in television when it is on. As a bonus, I've already prevented him from exposure to thousands of advertisements.

For more: http://commercialfreechildhood.org/issue/screen-time

Best of luck to you and your new family.


Go for it. I grew up without TV other than occasional exposure. Its a good choice. There is an opportunity to introduce children to Wikipedia before TV now. Creation before consumption. Could be interesting. Clay Shirky wrote a lot about creation first.

Hey congrats, and I hear what you're saying about people tugging on heartstrings to sell stuff.

But I think the kid connection is a legit part of the point. In the developed world at least, $250 is getting into the range where something stops being an Expensive Piece of Electronics and starts being something that your kids can break without breaking the bank.

Many people would hesitate to give a more expensive laptop to a young kid. But something this cheap changes that equation. So the kid stuff in the ad isn't just heartstring-tugging, it's part of the point.

Showing an ad where a kid drops a laptop in the bathtub (um, maybe not quite that) and life goes on would be cool. Making an ad about a dead mom and playing sapping music to match a video hangout is over the top.

There was a shot with a kid walking on a closed chromebook.

As a father myself raising little programmers, I can relate to your depth of feeling--well, about the kids anyway. If it's any help, on most days my little guys grab the nearest available electronic device with Web access to work on homework, to pretend to do homework, to work on their own websites, to check on their YouTube view count, to email their friends, chat online with grandpa (a former programmer), and so on. I only watched once, but that video didn't strike me as strangely inauthentic.

I'm just hoping that devices such as these can evolve to the point where ubiquitous, online touchscreen and laptop devices run HTML5-based apps that are effectively as good as any native app (for most types of apps) so that I don't have to teach these little ones a whole different programming stack for each device in the house.

Now that you mention it, I realize how creepy that must seem. I also realize that I have a huge barrier or boundary to feeling emotion about anything I see on an advertisement. It's like the most cynical piece of me dismisses all emotions with prejudice.

Have you seen the Dear Sophie ad? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4vkVHijdQk

I've often wondered - do people really wish to see the earliest events of their lives? My parents took tons of videos and photos of me as I was growing up, but I've never felt the urge to look through them. Sometimes I think that these sorts of collections are more for parents to relive their children's early days (and as a parent of a 2 year old, I definitely feel like all the pictures and videos I take are more for me than my child when she's older).

Because the latter is not a distinguishing characteristic. Everything does that now.

That's why it's a weird future moment. We're living in an era where all the information in the world is so readily available that the market for devices that can display this information is hugely competitive.

I had exactly the same weird future moment a few hours ago when I saw the Android event invite: "The playground is open" [1]. Got me thinking what Mad Men era execs would make of it all.

1. http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/10/googles-october-29-an...

Good question, but the medium has changed. That's a media invitation card, that is guaranteed to be carried by online tech sites, but we'll likely never see in Mad Man era TV or print.

It's obvious now that Google intends to keep improving Chrome OS, the devices on which it runs, the services that come with it (100GB of free online storage!), and the cost & headaches of maintaining it -- while aggressively cutting prices.

I'm expecting a $199 Chromebook within a couple of years, and a $99 model within the next five years. This has the potential for upending the prevailing business model of traditional PC vendors.

Google's revenue is very closely tied to the amount that people use the web in general. So much so, that they will make more money simply by encouraging people to use the web more. As a result, their strategy is largely to reduce the barriers to the next click and the next session, and thereby moving closer to the next Google search. Faster connections, faster browsers, cheaper devices, more ubiquitous access, etc.

It's almost like oil companies subsidizing the cost of cars to make more money. Reminds me of the start of the Michelin guide book, which was created to encourage people to drive to interesting places in France.

The same can be said of Amazon and their willingness to take losses on hardware just for the chance to get people into their content ecosystem. I've certainly found that, since getting my Kindle, I purchase all of my eBooks (used to pirate), and also use the Amazon store for goods quite frequently, whereas I previously had never used it.

And at this risk of stating the obvious: the Michelin guide then went on to evolve a culture and impact well beyond it's intended use...

I don't think it ended up selling that many tyres but a cost benefit analysis would be interesting. It was a good branding exercise.

... and this means Google has a strong incentive to prevent the public from getting trapped in walled gardens (facebook, iOS, etc).

This a good thing, as it means they're powerful advocates for a more open internet.

I'm not convinced:

The 'open internet' is often just a reverse walled garden. Things used to be locked down on your device, now they are locked down on remote servers where you couldn't even pry them out if you tried hard & ignored the law. (Unless you're the US government, in that case things have gotten much easier.)

The only advantage is that there is no middle-man between you and using any app (website) you want. But no company has ever tried to restrict web access on its devices, so where's the advantage?

And judging Google by its products: Google+ actually seems a lot more closed to me than Facebook (hardly any API?). Android itself is open source, but it is hardly about pushing the open web either. (At least it stopped pushing Flash)

While I don't entirely disagree with your point about the "open internet" being another kind of walled garden, there are definitely companies and organisations that have taken steps to ensure that the open web is actually "open," and Google is one of them. Evidence: https://www.google.com/takeout, which lets you export data from almost all of your Google services.

Some major innovations from Android have inspired sister projects for the open web, like http://webintents.org/

Also, I think you're misinterpreting the term "open internet" ; it usually means "open" for the developer, not the user. However, it's still better for users, as competition between open standards and technologies means that they usually get the best solutions (exceptions being things like h.264) This is certainly better than the classic walled garden where one company gets to decide what developers may or may not use.

In short, it's better because it's: - unfiltered (mature content, etc.) - unrestricted in terms of technologies used - partially open for users

takeout is not the same as interoperability. Google's new products have very weak interoperability (APIs to non-Google clients)

I don't know why people keep complaining that Google+ doesn't have an API https://developers.google.com/+/api/

It is readonly.

It's still an API, but it's incomplete.

Not necessarily, since it seems Google's new strategy is to create its own walled garden and keep you inside of it as much as possible.

I would say they are more like a funnel. And they are trying to make their funnel even bigger. They make their money by sending you to other websites and services, which is why most people don't consider them a walled garden.

Their search engine makes money that way.

Their mail and calendaring apps sure don't, for example.

At this point Google is big enough that generalizing about how they make money is a bit pointless, because they have a bunch of different revenue streams. The only commonality is advertising.

They have the open data policy allowing you to take your data with you. And this is what makes people less suspicious of them.

Sure. They're way better than many about vendor lock-in, because they do realize that it's somewhat evil. Not to mention often counterproductive.

But that's not stopping them from signing deals to get Chrome drive-by installed on users' computers, say. Again, it's a big place. Some of it is still all about "do no evil", while other parts seem to be run by scumbags. Pretty good for a large corporation, all things considered, but not exactly all wonderful.

How so? (genuine question - you don't make it clear what you're referring to)

This business model is not new at all. That's what video games console manufacturers (except Nintendo) have been doing for dozens of years. Selling the hardware very cheap, at no margin or even "dumping it", to make money on the software licenses. Really, Google has not invented anything.

Who's claiming it's new?

What do you mean "except Nintendo"? They nearly invented the practice.

All consoles use the "cheaper razors, more expensive blades" model, but there is a big difference in exactly how.

Nintendo actually prices their gaming consoles above production cost (and probably above all-in cost) AND charges huge license fees to developers (and also has a huge first party developer userbase, unlike the other companies).

Nintendo is the company who maximizes profits, Sony and Microsoft at best maximized top-line and in reality just tried to maximize market share.

> the services that come with it (100GB of free online storage!)

The fine print: "100 GB of free storage is valid for 2 years, starting on the date you redeem the Drive offer."

My first thought was, "I'll just buy a new one every two years."

In two years 100GB or close to it will likely be the free tier anyway. What is the Moore's law graph on Google Storage?

I assumed 1 year when I first read the ad. I get your point, but it still seems like a pretty nice feature.

Aren't these Chromebooks subsidized by Google to get into mainstream faster? I always felt there were big tie-ups. (See Asus Nexus tablet pricing)

And How much is a google user+account worth? An android or a chromebook device is worth atleast $$$+ for Google on the long-run. And users are Locked'in with google's services! And more and more Web users mean more $ flows for google. :)

It must be certain for every subsidized device that ships, Google must be sharing revenues.

Why is $GOOG focusing on PC's when the world is shifting to tablets? Why not put most of your focus on tablets, and make them 10x better?

You may be interested in a little startup called Android that Google bought recently.

> Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor

So cortex A15 has finally landed.. no mention of RAM or size of on-board SSD, i'm guessing 1-2GB and 8/16GB respectively (e: 2/16). Disappointing battery life ('over 6 hours', same as the x86 one), i guess the battery wasn't spared from the cost-cutting. Exynos 5 also means USB 3.

And do we know if you can definitely get linux on these (==interesting), or might they be super locked-down?

Definitely a device worth recommending to the former netbook/ 'only use my computer for facebook' crowd.

e: the battery is 2 cell, AFAIK even cheap x86 laptops come with 6-cell batteries, so it is a case of cost-minimizing.. shame, i'd lap this up with a 12-18hr battery life.

I've got one on preorder. I'm a gentoo dev in my spare time, and I definitely intend to get Gentoo running on it. I kind of have a leg up though since Chrome/ChromiumOS is built on Gentoo. In that regard, it already does run Linux, just their custom spin.

Please do a blog post! I imagine lots of HN readers would be interested.

Now, here's a comment where I would think it makes sense to have karma visible. Because I suspect your comment should get some upvotes and that might influence OP's interest in doing a blog post, but we are also discouraged from "bump" comments. And instead, here I go, meta.


Well, actually, part of doing it IS documenting it so that others can enjoy Gentoo on their machine.

I normally do blog posts when I first get a machine, the unboxing and so forth, but documenting normally goes somewhere on the gentoo documentation site. Or possibly our new wiki.

And for the record when fun topics come up like ARM based hardware, or Linux stuff in general (I'm not much if a web guy, I prefer lower level work) I tend to visit the comments more than a couple times.

Oh, and if anyone is curious, it looks like in the ChromiumOS sources, the overlay for this is "overlay-daisy".

For those not familiar with building chrome, it should be something like export BOARD=daisy before doing the setup/build steps.

Ok! By "blog post" I suppose I could have said, "post it somewhere, anywhere, and link us to it"... :-)

In about 6 days you can see how many votes it got: http://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/comments&q=by%3As...

All ChromeOS devices to date have come with a "Developer Mode" hardware switch which turns off trusted boot and allows you to run your own OS / custom ChromeOS builds. I would bet this Chromebook is not locked down.

I thought they only allowed you to replace user space, not the Kernel?

I'm always so tempted by Chromebooks... All I want out of a laptop is no moving parts, < 12" screen, an 8+ hour battery, and 1080p video playback using my Linux distro of choice for under $300, but nobody delivers... Instead it's just endless parades of 'ultrabooks' that mysteriously cost $800+...

I could care less if the hard drive is 100 gigs or 16. But if you can't use your own Kernel I won't use it. Too much like buying a car with the hood welded shut.

But I guess for me a laptop is just the minor sibling of my desktop that's supposed to be good enough to watch movies while traveling and look up something on Wikipedia from the couch, and also be cheap enough that it doesn't have to last or not get stolen. In other words, not my main computer. But still have a keyboard.

I put a 40 GB SSD in my Cr-48, re-installed ChromeOS, then overwrote the BIOS, loaded Ubuntu, works fine. So long as they have an SD card slot, onboard memory shouldn't be a huge issue, but 16 GB is cramped.

They allow you from replacing the firmware on the x86 devices (and it's similar on ARM: https://plus.google.com/109993695638569781190/posts/6MDhf9Hu...). From there, you can do whatever you want.

If you don't want to dive _that_ deep, the developer switch still disables signature checking on kernels, so you can replace that one as well, but with their specialized bootloader, it's somewhat more difficult to get a system onto there than on a regular system (expectations on SSD partitioning etc)

(edit: clarified bootloader/firmware situation on ARM after finding appropriate link)

Nope, flip the dev switch and it'll let you do whatever you want.


You are confusing things and that is not true (at least not for past models). See more here: http://dev.chromium.org/chromium-os/developer-information-fo...

Very confusing now that parent is deleted but grandparent is not.

2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of SSD + 100 GB of SSD storage in Google Drive (for 2 years). The battery life does seem a bit strange. My guess is Google hasn't had enough time to optimize it as well as they did for Atom, which gives them pretty equal battery lives now, or they are using a smaller battery to cut costs, or Chromebook simply isn't as "ultra-mobile" as Android. But for a Chromebook, I think they need to increase that battery life somehow.

2 cell battery? Ouch. No wonder the battery life is surprisingly small for an ARM "laptop". My old netbook had 5 hours of battery life with a 6 cell battery, so they shouldn't have needed much more in battery capacity. 8h would've been "okay". 10-12h would've been hype-worthy. They definitely need to take this into account at least with future Chromebooks.

And the batteries tend to die during sleep if you travel with the device not plugged it.

Oddly, the 3G model (which I can't understand why it isn't LTE) is listed on Amazon[0] as packing an Exynos 4210 instead, which is over a year old.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-XE303C12-H01US-Chromebook-3G-1...

Indeed is a mistake, Samsung lists the Exynos 5 Dual on the 3G model[0].

[0] http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/chrome-os-devices/XE303C1...

Considering it lists usb3 and 1.7GHz, both of which are unique to Ex5, i'm pretty certain that must have just been a mistake.

"100 MB of internet per month, for free, from Verizon Wireless."

So I'm really sort of conflicted by Chromebooks, I love the concept, but wonder why it doesn't come with 4G/LTE (seems like a 'new' device should), what sort of data plans and are they dynamic like the iPad? (month to month) And 100MB a month? Seriously? That is what 5 minutes of 3 mbit video? 10 minutes of cheezy 1.5mbit video a month? Web sites that start up a youtube embed video when you visit? poof go the mBytes. Heck the WSJ is like 20 - 30MB per issue these days. Seems like 2.5GB is a healthy net allocation for a tablet/laptop experience, that 25x more.

Looking forward to seeing one 'in the flesh' as it were.

"why it doesn't come with 4G/LTE?"

Because that would eat your 100MB data plan in 42 seconds. Not too mention it would probably increase the price. Nobody actually needs 4G yet, we just like it in our fancy things. It has no place in budget (attainable) hardware.

"And 100MB a month? Seriously?"

Because that is what Verizon, a company that makes its money off selling wireless data, is willing to give away for free (or a subsidized price paid by google). I'm sure they will not hesitate to sell you more if you are in the minority who need to watch 3Mb videos on the bus...

"Nobody actually needs 4G yet, we just like it in our fancy things."

Nobody who doesn't need 15 ms latency (low jitter [low latency stddev]) vs HSDPA 90 ms+ (huge jitter, latency up to 1000 ms+). LTE truly rocks and can deliver true low latency 100/10 Mbit/s wirelessly. I got 99.5 Mbps result with speedtest.net.

Cr-48 owner here. You will go through the first 100 MB in a week, maybe you make it almost to the end of the month. By month 3, you want that 1 gb plan to autorenew so you don't have to think about it.

have you had a problem where the wifi disconnects ifnyou move the cr 48 at all? :-(

We have a Cr-48, and we've used the 3G several times. The monthly caps get you surprisingly far, if you're doing simple things like GMail and Google Docs.

And when we've needed it, we've used the "unlimited for 24 hours," which has been fine. It's a tad pricey.

I mean, the 3G in the Chromebook is NOT going to be your new ISP. You will continue to use WiFi the vast majority of the time. But every now and then, you won't have WiFi. 3G to the rescue.

My wife used it last year, while we were driving cross-country, to watch Youtube videos for class, write a paper for one of her classes, and apply to summer educational opportunities (on a web page with hundreds of questions). Without the 3G, we would have had to NOT DRIVE on our trip, which we also needed to do. We would have had to buy a 3G fob from Best Buy or Verizon, or sign up for tethering the phone with Verizon - both of which are MORE expensive for the one or two times a year when you really need it.

I love the concept, but wonder why it doesn't come with 4G/LTE (seems like a 'new' device should)

Oh, come now. You can't even buy an unlocked phone with LTE for less than $400. That cellular stuff is not cheap!

Is that 100MB per month for the life of the device? If so it sounds awesome.

(The Google Drive offer has a two-year limit, but this one didn't have any fine print.)

EDIT: You get the Verizon service for 2 years, and it's only on the $450 model.


On Google Drive I had a previous per-year subscription for storage - 80 GB for $20 per year. It just got renewed because they don't cancel or upgrade old accounts, you just have to make sure that the yearly payments don't stop.

You americans, you're so used to freebies, while the next step is a ripoff contract. I get 3 GBs per month for €12 and 5 GB for €15 on a Prepay plan and you can recharge multiple times as needed. Why would I need free bandwith from anybody?

We in the USA pay triple what the continent does for LTE.

That sounds like augmented data for if you take your notebook out and about, while they expect you to base it on Wifi if you're at home. It's a cost-effective combo.

Here's the actual product landing page: http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/landing.html

Yes, I so wish that people would cut out the middleman when posting these types of announcements.

But the landing page doesn't have the awesome (seizure inducing) video!

I realised the video wasn't aimed at me when there was a focus on the "who" and not just a list of specs

Middleman? That is the official announcement (the "news") on the Chrome blog.

The ARM bit is quietly hidden away on the specs page[0].

Can't find anything yet either way if these will still have the developer switch. If the build is as good as the 550 and this particular Exynos has decent performance; it'd make an awfully good cheap Linux laptop (not to say CrOS is worthless, far from it).

[0] http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/samsung-chromeb...

> not to say CrOS is worthless, far from it

I think that the biggest ingredient of Apple's success is the "it just works" aspect. iOS and CrOS are much closer to this ideal than desktops have been. It is also possible to get even closer.

Argh I HATE that phrase, they "just work" as often as any Windows PC since XP has. In the past week in fact one of my designers was complaining of problems getting some work finished on her Mac that "just works" because guess what? It didn't JUST WORK!

Note the phrase "much closer to this ideal." And actually, I switched away from XP in 2003, because XP did't just work when trying out new video codecs. OS X did.

I should add I am not a MSoft fanboy, I've owned a Mac Classic back in the day and recently a Macbook Pro. But the Macbook pro had all kinds of issues with my outboard soundcard and midi interface that my windows PC never had and in the end was glad to get rid of it.

"It works" and "it is compatible" are different. Apple does more former than latter. MS is reverse, on the hardware side, for obvious business model reasons.

250$? I really don't get it. Three years ago I bought a Gateway LT23 Netbook, with a 160GB HD and 1GB memory, it runs Windows7 and cost me 300$. Aren't Netbooks better? And have been availbable for many years now?


Processor: Atom n450 (single-core 1.6ghz vs Arm 15 (dual core 1.7ghz)

Fan: Yes vs No

HDD: Spinning rust vs. SSD

Weight: 2.75lbs vs 2.lbs

Screen 10.1" 1024x600 vs 11.6" 1366x786

Innovation continues apace from what I can see.

What sells me on the netbook is that I have 100GB of space for the life of computer, not for the 2 years after I buy my netbook.

At 250 bucks and the rate at which technology advances you'll probably be tempted to swap it out before 2 years is up.

For what it does, there is no reason to need to swap it out in the next two years.

Agreed, and nowadays for ~$250 it's an 11+" screen at 1366x786, with 250GB drive.

We really shouldn't be encouraging more garbage in our dumps...

Despite having a few other my portable devices my original single-core atom netbook (that came with XP!) is still one of the most remarkably useful devices I own.

I sort of lament how useless my Android tablet is in comparison. It's by far a better device for consumption but nothing beats a full desktop experience (even at a laughably low resolution).

This also probably runs a lot better with this chip and ChromeOS. I have one of those old netbooks myself with Windows 7, and the experience is very frustrating. You can't even switch to a different Chrome tab sometimes because the CPU is too busy loading another tab.

I have the 1st gen Chromebook with an atom and the experience is the same, laggy.

The last Chromebook (which I used as a Google Intern, so take with a pinch of salt) wasn't laggy at all. They're a lot better since Rev 1.

I've been using a i5 Windows 7 box for some office work and it has been, by far, the worst desktop experience I had in years. For other activities, I'm using a first gen Acer netbook running Ubuntu on an Atom processor and it's much smoother.

The Atom is not the problem here.

So they're lying when they say it can play 1080p videos - the screen is barely larger than 720.

1080p is via the HDMI port, I reckon.

Yeah, that was the first thing I looked at on the specs. I was amazed they were going to include a 1080p screen in this machine.

I think that's very misleading. The average consumer is just going to take that claim at face value and believe they are getting a 1080p screen.

agreed. Totally misleading

Is Dell lying when they say their desktops can play 1080p? They don't even have a screen at all! Playing 1080p is more a gpu/cpu performance thing. Chromeboxes can do 1080p on 2 monitors, which is quite a feat considering their hardware.

At least for me, it has a nice plus. The new Chromebook is not only Windows-free, it's Windows-proof.

Not that I would want to install Windows on it, but it certainly feels nice to have a machine like that.

Aren't these Chromebooks subsidized by Google to get into mainstream? I always felt there were big tie-ups. (See Asus Nexus tablet pricing)

Unlike Microsoft, here Google pays for every device. :)

I don't think they are. The only thing that they might've subsidized (as in you get it for free) is that 100 GB of Google Drive storage, that you only get for 2 years.

I think the more germane comparison is:

Microsoft Surface with Keyboard: $600. Chromebook: $249

And the Chromebook is more capable. With the current state of Microsoft's marketplace, there is literally zero compelling reason to buy into the WinRT ecosystem.

Chromebooks just run a browser. Windows runs a browser and other things. Even if there aren't that many other things, your comment is fundamentally wrong.

Except that browser also has apps:


You can run Chrome (and all Chrome webapps) on Win8.

but can it on Surface/Windows RT? I haven't checked back in on that for a few months, but my understanding is that they still won't let you run JIT compiled code unless you're built into the system -- aka Internet Explorer 10 or the CLR.

Firefox and Chrome will have Metro versions on x86, but will have to interpret JavaScript under Windows RT, and V8 doesn't have an interpreted mode.

Too bad the Surface currently for pre-order is ARM and thus runs Windows RT. An x86 version with Windows 8 should come later, but will likely be more expensive. Chrome won't run on RT unless it is in the Microsoft store.

On WinRT you can't. Microsoft won't let the JavaScript interpreter do JIT on it.

So you can run them they'll just be slow? And could Chrome Frame be modified to run Chrome apps in IE at full speed?

Edit: just to be clear, without VirtualAlloc() and VirtualProtect(), you can't really run any JIT. No LuaJIT, no PyPy, no Java. No Scala, Clojure, or jRuby either.

It may be possible, Google may opt to release Chrome on it (or someone may port Chromium) but the lack of an optimizing runtime will probably make it suck when compared to IE.

Yeah, V8 doesn't do that. Meaning the effort to support Windows 8 RT will/would be large and possibly with little reward.

Chrome could use the IE10 JavaScript engine presumably (depending on how easy it is to hook native APIs back into the rendering engine from JavaScript).

I never said you couldn't? The point is that to call Chrome "just a browser" is misleading.

The comment you replied to said "Chromebooks just run a browser. Windows runs a browser and other things." The fact that Chrome (and Firefox) can run apps doesn't change that.

It doesn't change that distinction, but it does render it pretty meaningless.

I love how the most prominent app on the official store's homepage is a blatantly copyright-infringing Sonic the Hedgehog game.


$250 for a browser, with a metal/plastic shell.

Rubbish. Two concepts to consider: office and the fact that the surface device works entirely offline.

I've got a chromebook in the office as a test machine and its a fancy brick without a network connection.

There will be more offline capability with the new chromebook, and the updates to the old versions. http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57467667-1/hands-on-offl...

That's a bit of an unfair comparison. The surface works entirely offline, if you're using it for offline tasks. The Chromebook also works offline if you're using it for offline tasks.

The number of offline apps available for chrome is pretty limited, but so is the total number of apps available for winRT. as far as i can tell, both of these devices are basically just a web browser plus potential.

Can I downloads a movie to watch later? Edit a document?

You know very well you won't be able to make the same claim in a couple months so I think this argument easily falls flat.

We don't know whether we will be able to make that claim or not. It's unclear how many vendors will port their software to the ARM version of Windows at this point. Even if they do, I suspect it will be more like 6-8 months, since a lot of people will be waiting to see how big the market is before supporting it.

And in case you are wondering, all my paychecks at the moment rely on Windows, and I have 0 involvement with anything related to the ARM version, nor do I hear about it. Anecdotal at one company, but I don't think it's unusual. Mobile support on the other hand, seems to be a big deal.

The software in Metro for Windows 8 and Windows RT is the same. You don't have to do any porting.

Sorry, right. We aren't sure how many people are porting to the Windows Runtime (Metro) environment from the Win32 APIs.

While it might have a high number of entries, I just don't think we know how well supported it will be 2 months from now.

The PC market is in decline but still huge. Windows 8/RT will have more total users than Android tablets within a few month. The idea that companies aren't going to build for the default interface is silly.

But how dedicated to the default interface are they really going to be? I imagine there is going to be a lot of developers who decide that if they have to re-write their app anyways, it makes more sense to port it to the web than to port it to metro.

Really doubt it (about Win8/RT having more users than Android, ever), Smartphones are already selling more than PCs. Windows 7 took 2 years to reach 500 millions, and Android is already on that many hands (counting only OHA devices, ignoring Amazon/Nook/China Androids), will be on 1 billion by middle next year.

OP said Android tablets, which excludes phones.

Did you just miss the words "Current state" or..?

Won't the Surface tablets be able to run Chrome just as well as a Chromebook, in addition to apps that aren't Chrome?

>Won't the Surface tablets be able to run Chrome just as well as a Chromebook, in addition to apps that aren't Chrome?

That depends entirely on the good graces of Microsoft.

On a less snarky note, the WinRT based tablets (the ones coming out in a week or so) can only run metro apps. Unless Chrome puts a version of the browser in Microsoft's marketplace, it won't be available for use.

If the Metro APIs include anything capable of running binary code, Chrome will probably be developed for it. Given Microsoft's recent history of being careful to display monopolistic behavior, I'm sure they'd allow Google to distribute Chrome through the Windows app marketplace.

And yet everyone goes on about an ipad being a 'cheap laptop alternative'. This isn't for everyone, but it definitely has a great niche. It has USB3, HDMI, 1366x768 screen, no moving parts and 6.5 hour battery life.

Putting the time difference aside, how many of those does your gateway have? The processor is probably a little faster, too.

That and with a better battery (sure they will come out or exist in some form) it becomes much nicer.

Though the 16GB storage, thought even with the Nexus 7 they are dropping the 16Gb and replacing with a 32GB as the new top end model. But this is the base model. Even adding a 4-cell battery and an a base of 40gb would of been a nice move and offered a longer lasting platform.

That all said I recently got me a netbook cheap on clearance, 2gb ram built in 3g modem...Even if I stuck a 80gb ssd in there it would still work out cheaper. Though this does look appealing as a grandparent/parent pressy given the time of year. Just show them how to email google and your covered; Very tempting.

This product looks very similar to Macbook Air.

Agreed. I think $150 is more appropriate. What makes me even MORE confused is the 550 model. $450 seems awfully expensive when compare to all your other computing options.


Edit - After a bit more consideration, I might be interested if the HDMI output is decent and the network TV websites won't block the browser. I would use the Chromebook as a replacement HTPC for my Google TV which is basically a brick now.

Blame Intel for the initial $450 Chromebooks and $300 Google TV. Now we're starting to see $250 Chromebooks and $99 Google TV's, thanks to ARM chips.

Why on earth would we blame Intel? How about blaming Google for designing a $250 quality laptop that retailed for $500?

Because Intel chips and boards are ovespecced and overpriced for the use hey were put to.

That's a spinning disk. There were 8/16 GB SSD netbooks for around the same price as that 160 GB HDD netbook. Plus, this seems higher quality than those typical netbooks. It's more like an ultrabook for $250, at least in terms of build quality and looks. The specs are obviously lower than a $1000 ultrabook.

Build quality? You can't assess that. You haven't used one.

Until Google upgrades their apps, or write new ones, that utilized advanced HTML5 capabilities, I have to assume they aren't serious about the platform and neither should anyone else be. They didn't release Android without apps, Chromebooks should get the same treatment.

Google Apps uses a ton of HTML5. For this reason, they recently discontinued support for Internet Explorer 8: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/our-plans-to-support-m...

What other "web apps" work better these days than Google's? What is your basis for saying Google's apps don't have advanced HTML5 capabilities? Have you heard of Offline Google Drive for example? How do you think they pull that off? HTML5...

The page you linked to says they are discontinuing support for IE7 not IE8.

good catch...that's last year's announcement. here is the IE8 announcement: http://googleappsupdates.blogspot.com/2012/09/supporting-mod...

Packaged apps (still Chrome canary) now at least have most UDP/TCP socket functionality (when experimental API turned on in flags), so the door is at least open (soon) to more advanced apps.

It's been open since they did ChromeOS, but Google Talk was the only app they wrote specifically for it. Even today, 95% of Google's apps are firmly HTML4.

Chrome apps (apps, not websites) use proprietary Chrome APIs beyond HTML.

Behind Chrome, Google uses plugins, like webgl for Maps and the Talk plugin for chat.

Why does HTML " 5 " matter more than the actual functionality?

Can you be specific about which apps and which html5 features you are referring to?

All of the normal apps you would get when you buy a new computer or smartphone. Email, calendar, maps, news reader, word processor. Technologies would include things like css transforms, transitions, animations, application cache, indexeddb, file api, canvas, video, full screen... the things that make web apps feel like apps and not web pages.

Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Reader, Google News, and Google Docs aren't enough?

What do CSS transforms have to do with making an app feel like an app? They all work full screen, or you can open them windowed, with no chrome controls. They don't need local file access (though many use it) because they're beginning to store files in Drive. Some of the apps may already use appcache to speed up startup.

> Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Reader, Google News, and Google Docs aren't enough?

No, they're not. Aside from Maps using WebGL, I don't believe any of those are using anything that can reasonably called "cutting edge", and most of them are relatively unchanged in the last 5 years. Since Google wants developers to built for Chrome, and wants users, companies, and educators to spend money on Chrome, they should show that they themselves are dedicated to Chrome as well. The first party app support is equivalent to releasing Android without a Gmail app, but a shortcut to the browser version.

Huh? Gmail is the Chrome app. There will never be a separate Chrome version of Gmail. Over time Gmail is using more HTML5 features, but those work on other browsers too.

I made the mistake of getting the Acer chromebook in the UK when it came out and it was probably the worst computing experience I have ever had. Slow, laggy, frequently crashed, terrible video playback (couldn't watch YouTube videos), cheap hardware (screen developed a crack which split corner to corner completely), terrible battery performance, no cellular connectivity and flaky wifi behaviour. All for 400 quid! It looked like a fisher price toy and behaved like one as well.

I'm skeptical about the 'for everyone' part. Will I be able to buy this in Canada? Or is it really just 'everyone' in the USA and UK?

Came here to write the same comment, but replace Canada with Sweden.

The only UK shop doesn't seem to ship outside of UK. And as usual, the price is almost $370, so there you go with the $250 Chromebook.

I'm very confused! They say it starts at $249, but the 550 is at $449. What is the model number of the new one here?

It links to this PC WOrld page for the UK model which just confuses me further: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/chromebook-1460-commercial.htm...

I was interested in buying, but I'm totally confused. Wikipedia also just lists the 550 model as the one released now, and has nothing matching the spec in the Google post.

Anyone worked it out? Sorry if I've missed something...

This is the $249 one here:


£229 or £249 in-store. Bananas.

It says preorders don't start until noon PT, so another 50 minutes from now. Maybe they are not even listing it until then.

Yeah, I can't work out if PC World even have it listed? It doesn't seem to have a model number, it's just Samsung Chromebook, which doesn't really help!

I'm pretty sure it's this one:


But it's 300 GBP, or 484 USD (excluding shipping), almost twice the price advertised!

The model number is XE303C12 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009LL9VDG/

So glad they finally did this. I've been begging them to do a $250 Chromebook since day one, because I think that's the sweetspot for a "Chromebook", and the only way they could've achieved that, while also having good build quality and whatnot, was to use an ARM chip, and not an Intel one, so I'm glad they finally did that, too. I think it's long overdue, but perhaps they were waiting for the Cortex A15 chips to come to market, which I guess makes sense.

If Google would partner with Verizon or AT&T to offer these things for free (much better marketing than say a $50 price) with LTE and a 2 year contract, I think they would see even more sales, especially from businesses and professionals. Obviously they should be getting the data plans they get with an USB modem, not the amount they get with a cellphone plan.

$250 in the US, £249.99 from PC World in the UK. That's just over $400. Even if you take off 20% UK sales tax, that's still $320.

Last time I checked, the exchange rate wasn't £1=$1!

The PCWorld website seems to suggest £199.97 [0]. Perhaps that is without VAT though.

[0] http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/chromebook-1460-commercial.htm...

Edit: The pictured models at the bottom of the page start at £250 but the copy at the top says "Starting at £199.97".

Unfortunately, this is the case with more or less all products that are available in both the US and the UK.

$333 rather than $320 - not a huge difference numerically, but a flaw in your calculation that's worth pointing out :)

What is odd is how self defeating it is, I just don't see them selling many at £250.

If Chrome OS had a package manager hooked into Debian's (or anyone's) repos, I'd be all over this. I do almost all of my non-programming work in the browser, but I can't leave the batteries included world of Linux behind just yet.

Is your programming done via SSH to a linux desktop or VM? You can SSH from a chromebook no problem: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/secure-shell/pnhec...

Most of mine is done offline, which is so far the dealbreaker for the Chromebook for me. I need to be able to run vim on a local filesystem on a plane. I hear it's possible to root the Chromebook though?

It's pretty straightforward, and as long as you don't modify the hardware it's completely reversible:


Solid state hard drive, acceptable processor, 6 hour battery. Could be an awesome linux box. Though, you always could just flash it and put your own OS on there.

I hope this gets released in the rest of the EU too. You couldn't even get the previous Chromebooks in Germany, let alone Romania.

A 250 euro Chromebook (VAT included) would be a nice buy. This means an ARM-based Chromebox should be around 150?

It's unclear from the announcement if Flash works or not since Youtube could be streaming H264.

Edit: Specs, including prices on https://sites.google.com/a/pressatgoogle.com/samsungchromebo...

There's 2 models listed in the UK at £229 and £299. Not sure why, the only spec diff I can see on PC World is one says LCD the other says HD LCD. Yet the resolution is listed as being the same.

I have an iPad 3 and a Chromebook. I like and use the Chromebook much more, because of the built in keyboard. I know plenty of people who would hate using a Chromebook and much prefer their iPad for everything. To each his own.

Why was the title modified? I think the fact that it's ARM-based is very relevant.

There seems to have been a rise in over-zealous post title modifications recently. New employee at YC Towers?

A few details from one of the developers: https://plus.google.com/109993695638569781190/posts/6MDhf9Hu... "...getting a regular u-boot on these to use as generic linux hacking platforms isn't all that hard..."

Why won't they take this same kind of device and scale it up. I love most things about the chrome book, but I would rather have a 14" laptop with a bigger battery. O know you'll be competing with "full feature" laptops, but honestly chrome books have most of the features I would want ( I would like to see better native support for the development life cycle, but i can get by with ssh )

I use my ($350 in 2008) Acer One a lot more than my cr-48. Although the cr-48 is decent for remoting into VMs via ssh.

Seriously, shut up and take my money?! 100GB of Google Drive storage for 2 years is included in the price. That storage alone would cost $120 ($5/month). So if you were already in the market for extra storage, you can get an ARM Chromebook for $130.

Didn't realize it was a 2-year limit. I wonder if Google Drive space is what ink is to the color printer business.

If it was you'd only have 14 days worth of storage, like the undersized ink that comes with new printers.

I love the idea of this. I'm tempted to get one to replace my eee pc 701.

I am gently curious how Google avoids the trouble that MS ran into when they tied IE into the OS and pre-installed it on the desktop. How is it okay for Google to ship product that uses all their services? Especially when Google trawls for ad relevant data to make money?

(Note: I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm just wondering what the difference is.)

The same way Microsoft can bundle Office and all their other services with Windows RT. These markets are very niche right now. However, I do hope Google is able to bundle Quick Office with Android next year, at least on tablets.

I'd like to see a regulator try and say that it's not fair for Google to bundle their very little known Office suite (relative to MS Office), while Microsoft can bundle their very known Office suite with Windows.

As long as Google doesn't prevent other companies to develop software for Chrome OS, it should be fine.

my guess is the fact that MS had dominating market share with Windows, while Chromebooks are but a small fraction of the overall PC market.

The weirdest thing about these Chromebooks is that they are terrible machines to code on. You would think that Google would make some sort of effort to put some free development tools on them to promote their technologies like AppEngine, DART, Go, etc.

Instead we are left with various garbage pail cloud IDEs.

I would totally get one of these, but I'll probably install Ubuntu on it (at least as a dual boot).

Weirdest? Did you see any developers in that video? I think you're misunderstanding who this is targeted at.

Having said that they would make nice dev machines, it'll just take a bit of effort.

But that's my point. People have been trying to get kids to start coding. What better way than to make the price of entry less than $300.

They have SSH, so they are better than Android and iOS tablets for this task.

You mean: They have a keyboard.

Both iOS and Android have SSH.

I really think there is a fundamental problem with the ChromeOS idea. Android & iOS seem much better.

If they could get a good android laptop to market @ under $500, I would definitely buy one for my Dad, maybe for myself as a second machine.

I thought chromeOS was a great idea when it was first announced. You could get most things done on the web. On a browser only machine, you wouldn't need to worry about managing your machine. Installing apps. Worrying about OS versions. Keeping your file system straight. Malware. Things most users were completely lost on. A browser-only machine would give you 80% of the power with 20% of the problems at 50% of the price.

Along came Android & iOS.

They're platforms where finding, installing and uninstalling apps is safe, fun & easy. OS updating & general admin is manageable. Malware isn't as much of a problem. Some things like the level of access a user has to the file system (and therefore needs to know about) are till unsolved. But, overall the complexity that a browser-only machine bypassed became a much smaller problem. Ipads can be figured out by 4 year olds and computer illiterate adults quickly and enjoyably.

On the other hand, the web is having trouble solving the last 20% of the problem. Just before android OS was announced, the momentum for things moving on to the web seemed unstoppable. The last 20% has been slower. Browsers have been getting more capable at a great pace but when I look at the web apps that most people use, they are not really that different. Sure, you can use Google docs and edit photos online and read books and watch youtube, but its still a compromise in some cases. Users have the option of using webapps on an ipad, but in many cases they prefer native.

Basically, a webbrowser-only OS is a compromise. It's not an deal breaker compromise, but it is a compromise. And if iOS/Android start coming in notebook form, I don't see any upside to making it.

Can I install GNU/Linux on it?

Second this question, if it can be "jailbroken" so you have a terminal with root privileges and a standard environment underneath it becomes an interesting option.

Current Chromebooks require a signed kernel on a separate partition. No grub, no BIOS. Not falling into that trap again, don't see why the new crop would be any better.

If you flip the developer switch on the side, you can load whatever you want. Here's a guide for loading Ubuntu on one: http://www.devchronicles.com/2011/10/installing-ubuntu-on-sa...

Ubuntu 12.10 may support Cortex A15, but I'm not sure. I know they were working on supporting it, so it's possible. There's also an open source Lima driver (for the Mali GPU's) but I don't know if they've even started reverse engineering the Mali T604 GPU in this thing, which is on a totally new GPU architecture, and has support for OpenGL ES 3.0 as well.

From one of the developers on the project: "(And getting a regular u-boot on these to use as generic linux hacking platforms isn't all that hard. Should be a nice base for people to do native ARM development)"


What puzzles me is why the ChromeBox, with no display (and I'm not sure if it comes with a keyboard and mouse) costs $329 and lacks HDMI. If it were $199 and had HDMI it would seem like a very compelling device.

The Chromebox has 2x DisplayPort and DVI though. Could always get an adapter for HDMI.

I'm with you on the price thing though.

You can buy a very cheap displayport HDMI adapter; we have a chromebox connected to our television. Although we're currently having a problem with overscan. (The displayport-hdmi connection also seems to flake out when the TV is not connected to it...)

Yeah its overpriced compared to Chromebooks. Lets wait until it hits mass production. :)

The cost could be better, but keep in mind that this thing can drive 2x30 inch monitors. My latest and greatest macbook pro can't even do that smoothly. Actually, streaming 1080p Netflix on my 30 inch monitor makes the fan get pretty loud.

Flash forward a few years...

With the amount of cash GOOG has, and the droppping costs of hardware, they can take an AOL approach if they so choose. Instead of free CD's, they could distribute free computers. Load them up with Goog default search and all sorts of reconnaisance functionality to enable them to deliver more enticement to advetisers.

It's like signing up for AOL. It's hard for people to drop it after they've gotten used to it. Could people get used to free computers? I think so.

I'm glad they switched to ARM and keep working on this, but...

I just cannot get into the idea of a thin client given that storage keeps getting bigger / cheaper and bandwidth doesn't seem to be getting cheaper (a case could be made is more expensive). I like the cloud for backups / sync, but I still dream of an pocket device with a couple of terabytes.

> and bandwidth doesn't seem to be getting cheaper

Google seems to be working on that. :)

I would believe that if they had bought Sprint, T-Mobile or won the spectrum auction; but fibre in one city is not very exciting if you're not in that city.

Perfect for Grandma except..... no skype.

Wow. I hadn't thought about this, but Skype is one of the defining apps of the internet for me. Now it feels just weird looking at the Chromebook (same as the PlayBook with its front-facing camera, yet no Skype).

Google chat/Hangout....

They really need to find a way to provide an integrated Android/Chrombook experience.

Hardware: * Touch screen * Detachable keyboard so you can use it as either a tablet or a computer * 8+ hours battery life. Keyboard can have an extra battery.

Software: * Android * Chrome browser with all the abilities of the chrome OS

Price: $400 and under.

I've seen a lot of people travel with a laptop/netbook/ultrabook + tablet. For example a An Air 11" + ipad. Laptop for using in the airport & hotel. Tablet for using at the conference & plane. If they could do both without botching simplicity & elegance, they could probably sell a fair few @ $1000+. It's not an easy not to crack though.

Is this good for programming through an SSH shell?

I am looking for the most portable device that I can use for programming. The key concerns are: Weight + size, and keyboard layout. Since I code through an SSH shell, the laptop's mem + CPU specs are not very important for me.

I believe that the Mac Book Air 11" has a good enough keyboard. (I haven't tried it for long, but the keys are the same size as the 13", just closer together.)

The Chrome book is only slightly thicker (0.8" vs. MBA 0.7"), only slightly heavier (2.5 lbs vs. 2.4 lbs), and wider (13.2" vs. 11.8"). Weight and thickness important here. It's also much cheaper.

What do you think are the downsides of using the chrome book (or a macbook air 11") for primary coding through an SSH shell?

[edit: Is there some store I can play with a chromebook in real life?]

They're great. For a while, Chrome would take over keys needed to use Emacs and other terminal applications. However, internally a lot of Googlers user Chromebooks + Chromebox as their only window to their dev box. It's what we give interns now.

I'm particular to XMonad, and like being able to run a few GUI applications, but I used a Chromebook for a while and the dev experience was nice enough that I almost switched. One great thing is that the SSH client is smart enough that you don't have to use screen to handle network interruptions . The trackpad isn't as good as a MacBook, but other than that the device feels great.

Chromebook/-box indeed sounds great for remoting into a dev machine, but damn, what did they do to the keyboard on the new Chromebook? Lots of stuff moved around...


Only window when not sitting at the 30" monitor at their desk, right? Not for all day productivity.

Chrome Secure Shell uses Native Client:


So I doubt it will work with the Chromebooks coming out. I could be wrong. I have no experience with the other SSH tools available for Chrome.

I'm a big fan of Chrome Remote Desktop:


I use it from my Cr-48 to drive my home desktop computer. My corporate IT guys have blocked it, though (even the outgoing connections) which bums me out. Games are not playable, but otherwise, it's darn good.

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