Google’s New Chromebooks Are Like Little MacBook Welfares

Google’s New Chromebooks Are Like Little MacBook Welfares

The one-two punch of the iPad and the new 11.6-inch MacBook Air have basically killed netbooks off, but Google doesn’t seem to be paying attention: they’ve just announced the first two commercial netbooks running the new Chrome OS. Christened ‘Chromebooks,’ they’re like little MacBook Welfares.

On sale starting June 15th through Amazon and Best Buy, the first two Chrome netbooks will be from Acer and Samsung. Google’s been making a point of downplaying processor, hard drive and RAM specs for Chrome OS, since the entire idea of Chrome is doing everything in the cloud.

As such, the distinction between the two netbooks is their slightly varying sizes (the Acer is 11.6 inches, the Samsung 12.1), battery life (6.5 hours on the Acer,
8 hours on the Samsung), style and price.

Otherwise, both netbooks are roughly identical, and have obviously taken some cues from the MacBook Air, including their 12-inch sizes, their ubiquitous solid state drives, their slim form factors and their lack of an optical drive.

Both netbooks with come with 3G as an option. The Acer is the cheaper of the two, starting at just $349, while the Samsung will cost you a little more, with prices starting at $429 and costing $499 for the 3G version.

[image via Gizmodo]

  • Steve M

    Oh man, what a great title! These look okay if you’re a Chrome fan. But I think one of them only has a 16 GB SSD. How much can you really do with this? It would be nice though if the Air had a built in 3G version.

  • Chris

    for something so basic i feel like it should be a bit thinner, just my opinion. Pretty neat though.

  • Chris

    for something so basic i feel like it should be a bit thinner, just my opinion. Pretty neat though.

  • Todd Walker

    Thanks for perpetuating the Mac user stereotype (that we are all snobs who think we and our computers are better than everybody else,) with your snarky title. Geez.

  • Tankfantry

    As I stated to co-workers, would buy one for my kid but can’t see giving up my MBP or iPad for one.

  • sirhomealot

    Don’t believe the hype. Still plenty of people who want an inexpensive low-power laptop with a keyboard. For instance, how many college students would be ok with an iPad that can’t do IMs while they take notes in class, or with $1000 for a computer? I predict these machines will find an audience. I further predict that most of the mainstream press will ignore it :-)

  • B066Y

    I don’t know…I’m a bit of an elitist but maybe that’s just me.

  • macgizmo

    No need for a lot of storage on these, since everything you can do with them is stored in the cloud.

  • Mondetrotter

    It is ugly. Why do they persist on trying to compete with the MacBook Pros. They are pathetic.

  • Chris

    why do they even have two producers for two products from the same company and of the same name? They have still not understood that Apple succeeds because of the unity of all their products

  • Dean

    John, “MacBook Welfare” is a cruelly snarky label, but I admit it’s also funny…

  • BarryOToole

    There are several apps for the iPad that let you do IMs; I use one – TextPlus – all the time.

  • Anon

    Great…now you can have ALL your private shit up there in the google cloud.

  • Christopher

    I believe there is certainly a market for low cost laptops like these. My wife for example, uses her current Macbook to print recipes, read email, watch videos and shop, nothing more ever. Minimal need for local storage(currently using about 2gb outside of the OS)

  • Ronald Stepp

    ummm, always connected eh? Tell that to the less-than-100%-dependable internet depending on where you live. It’s not up to google to declare it always connected, it’s up to the internet infrastructure nationwide. And what if you go on a cruise? I doubt the Captain of the Cruise ship is toeing googles line.

    “Google’s been making a point of downplaying processor, hard drive and RAM specs for Chrome OS, since the entire idea of Chrome is doing everything in the cloud.”

    Ah hah, so we move from the crappy processor performance to the typically crappy internet performance. Wow, way to make sure the experience isn’t dependant on the hardware, lets move that to the connection being the bottleneck. Plus, we’re just in time to make the most of the caps all the cable providers are putting in place to even further limit your experience.

  • Ronald Stepp

    Yep, definately something to have a few of around the house, even given my low opinion of some of the spin in this article. Bottom line, competition is good, and given Googles efforts to buff up the internet in towns and cities, maybe in a few years the hype above will match the content.

  • Ronald Stepp

    Which is great when your power goes out, or the local servers go down, or the cloud goes down, etc etc. So anytime you don’t have clear and guaranteed access to “the cloud” your data is basically as good as if the computer had crashed and nothing is backed up.

  • macgizmo

    Agreed. I don’t like these one bit. Seems to me you’re paying nearly $500 for a glorified web browser.

  • twitter-227677332

    This “Storage in the Cloud” Idea is terrible for people in South America, For example.
    I live in Argentina and the Internet speed is really crappy, so it’d be a pain to have to be always online to use your stuff. And the Internet goes down frequently here, too.

    This is only good for technology advanced countries like USA. But for less advanced countries, this is just not going to work.

  • R.W. Elti

    Nobody has touched on the giant elephant: privacy.

    Why use Chrome when it probably reports all you do back to Google for indexing and storage… forever??

    OK just give away your information, your activities, but don’t complain, like the ridiculous Apple/Google location tracking non-event, when people record what you do.

  • gareth edwards

    on the surface this looks like a good offering and it’s pointing to where all companies want to take their products. A monthly revenue stream with a predictable model but I think a few people on here have touched on the main problem. It’s the internet connection that will define the quality of the experience. Not that average UK connectivity is routinely bad overall but if you’re unlucky enough to live in an area with poor broadband (and there is enough areas like that) then this directly effects the user experience.

    This coupled with the all seeing eye of Google constantly monitoring all aspects of your always connected experience might be enough to keep a lot of more savy users adopting it.

    I think the most telling thing though is how they are gunning for the educational market.

  • sirhomealot

    Sure, you can do it, but you can’t do it simultaneously. The iPad does task-switching quite well, but it doesn’t multi-task well at all. Most people looking at the chrome netbooks are going to be trad. PC users, who want to have more than one window open at once. I can’t imagine how annoying it would be to be taking notes in one app, then get those awful iOS notifications every time I get a new IM, then double-tap the home button, switch to TextPlus, reply, double-tap home, go back to my notes….. arrrggg!

  • John Marshall

    The target market for these devices is Enterprise. It’s meant to reduce TCO among corporations with large numbers of laptops in the field. With Citrix and VMware, these become the ultimate thin-client, with almost no downtime.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News |