We received two press releases this morning relating to Chromebooks, one from Acer and one from Samsung. Starting with Acer, they have announced a $50 price drop on their AC700 Chromebook, bringing the price to $299 for the standard model or $399 for the Verizon 3G model (note that the latter is apparently out of stock right now). The Acer AC700 sports a standard Atom N570 CPU (dual-core, 1.66GHz, with Hyper-Threading), an 11.6" LCD, 2GB DDR3 RAM, and a 16GB SSD. It weighs in at just over three pounds and has a suggested battery life of six hours.

In a similar vein, Samsung has recently updated their Series 5 Chromebook with a new offering at a lower price point. The Series 5 XE500C21 comes with a 12.1" SuperBright display, with the remaining features echoing what Acer offers: 2GB RAM, 16GB SSD, and an N570 CPU. Samsung equips the Series 5 with a 6-cell battery and rates the battery life at up to 8.5 hours. Pricing on the WiFi-only model starts at $349, while the 3G-equipped models will go for $449. The Series 5 is available in white, silver, or black.

We looked at the initial Chromebook and Chrome OS reference platform late last year, but we haven't actually had any hands-on time with a shipping Chromebook (yet). The core idea behind Chromebook is that the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has opened people up to using new types of devices and changing operating systems, and it should be far more secure as the applications come through Google's app store.

We're trying to get some Chromebooks in for testing now that hardware is available at retail. We're basically looking at netbook-type hardware, except with a small 16GB SSD standard and with a different OS. We've complained about netbook performance in the past, but running a full copy of Windows (or Linux) is quite different from running an optimized-for-the-hardware version of Chrome OS. Pricing is similar to what you'd pay for netbooks as well, but the designs at least appear to be a bit more elegant than most Windows netbooks.

Source: Press Releases

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  • Pessimism - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    Battery life I will give you. TBH it slipped my mind entirely as it is a factor I never look at when computer shopping, I simply never use a computer away from an outlet for more than an hour at a time so it never comes up.

    Noise I don't agree on. Both systems would have a processor fan. The fan would be working a lot less on a core duo or core 2 duo notebook running at 5% usage than the screaming micro fan on an atom as it struggles to render a webpage. The mechanical hard drive in the laptop would make some noise, yes. It can also be argued that you can drop an SSD into one of these older laptops to also make it near silent, and still be ahead both financially and in performance vs the chromebook. Many of the corporate level laptops also support hard drive acoustic management to make the hard drive silent at the cost of performance.
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  • stephenbrooks - Sunday, November 27, 2011 - link

    --[Battery life I will give you. TBH it slipped my mind entirely as it is a factor I never look at when computer shopping, I simply never use a computer away from an outlet for more than an hour at a time so it never comes up.]--

    This is a common thread in the "Atom is rubbish" crowd! It's just different use cases. The ability to do programming or write a paper on a 8-hour transatlantic flight is an instant win for me. (And yes, Atom/Intel graphics are sucky, so I do gaming/video back at the desktop.)
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  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    These Chromebooks are (hopefully) better built and designed, so they're not just chasing lowest cost platforms. The idea is a reasonably fast and responsive laptop replacement that gets most of its content from the cloud. Given that tablets are considered sufficiently fast by a lot of users, Atom with the right OS should be sufficient as well -- though the GMA 3150 graphics is definitely not going to help things out. We're working to get a review sample (or two) in for testing, and I'll be sure to try out all the major sites (YouTube and Hulu being particularly important tests as far as performance goes in my book).

    As for the $450 price, I'm not sure what you're thinking. The price is $300 for the Acer and $350 for the Samsung, and the higher priced models include 3G support for an extra $100. You can want a 3G enabled laptop for $100, sure, but unless you end up with a two-year, $100/month contract it's not going to happen. The iPod Touch is a $200 device that comes with substantially less hardware than a laptop. Yes, it's easier to fit things into a larger chassis, but you still have to add a keyboard, a larger battery, more RAM, etc. and I'd say realistically $200 is the lowest price we'll ever see for new laptops, with $300 being far more realistic.
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  • ECIT - Thursday, November 24, 2011 - link

    The new pricing and other improvements should make Chromebooks even more attractive to businesses and schools. Ericom has an offering that can extend the benefits of Chromebooks by providing quick and easy access to Windows applications and virtual desktops. Ericom AccessNow is a pure HTML5 RDP client that enables Chromebook users to connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server (RDS Session Host), physical desktops or VDI virtual desktops – and run their applications and desktops in a browser.

    Ericom‘s AccessNow does not require Java, Flash, Silverlight, ActiveX, or any other underlying technology to be installed on end-user devices – an HTML5 browser is all that is required.

    For more info, and to download a demo, visit:
    http://www.ericom.com/html5_RDP_Chromebook.asp?URL...
    Reply

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