Google announced the Chrome OS project two years ago, and with it came the first Chromebook: the CR-48. The Chrome OS concept seemed revolutionary at the time. In 2010 we were well into the latest round of questioning whether today's PCs were fast enough. The Ultrabook revolution hadn't yet begun, and the iPad was starting to gain momentum. Capitalizing on the market being flooded with poor quality, yet affordable PC notebooks that still struggled with the same virus/malware issues they'd been facing for years, Google took the opportunity to attempt to revolutionize the PC OS.


The Chrome OS desktop

Chrome OS was that attempt at a revolution. As an OS built around a web browser, Chrome OS offered many of the advantages that the Chrome browser itself brought to the table: sandboxing, guest mode and constant/painless updates. All user data is encrypted on the drive by default. Security was and remains a major feature of Chrome OS.

Google's revolution extended to hardware as well. The Cr-48 notebook delivered a good keyboard, trackpad and solid state storage. Future Chromebooks would do the same. While the price points of these machines (<$500) kept ultra high resolution IPS displays out of the bill of materials, Google promised good build quality and solid state storage - two things you couldn't find in cheap notebooks of the time.


The new Samsung Chromebook

Since then, some of the traditional PC makers have woken up. Although confined to the $999+ price point, we're finally seeing attention paid to build quality, display quality and storage performance. Over the next couple of years there's going to be increased focus on bringing those premium features down to sub $700 price points.

For Chrome OS and Google's Chromebooks to remain relevant, they also had to move down the pricing stack. With its most recent announcement, Google has done just that. The new Chromebook (Samsung XE303C12) is priced at $249, while maintaining much of what made its predecessors interesting.

Even more interesting than its aggressive price point is the choice of SoC inside Google's new Chromebook: Samsung's Exynos 5 Dual, featuring two ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores. This move makes the new Chromebook the very first non-x86 machine to ship with Chrome OS. Given that I also happen to have a dual-core Atom based Chromebook from 2011, the new Exynos 5 based machine gave me a unique opportunity to get a preview of how ARM's next-generation CPU core would stack up against Atom.

The Chromebook
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  • iwod - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    Both Atom and Sandy /Ivy Bridge uses 4 thread compared to 2 threads the Cortex A15 uses. A better comparison would be a Quad Core A15. Which free the Core from doing other work in a Single Threaded Benchmarks and better illustrate mutithreaded performance.

    The A50 will offer 20 - 30% performance increase compared to A15 at 32 bit and further improvement at 64bit mode. This, with higher frequency and Quad Core or Hex Core will surely bridge the gap between everyday Laptop and a Chromebook.
    Reply
  • Krysto - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    It doesn't matter. HT is pretty gimmicky anyway. You can maybe 10% improvement in performance.

    Don't forget A57 will not just have better IPC than A15, but will also go to higher clock speeds - up to 3 Ghz, actually. A quad core A57 chip at 3 Ghz will be more than enough performance for most people, while having very good battery life.
    Reply
  • nishantmohan - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    "Plugging the Chromebook into a relatively modern (~2 year old) Samsung LED backlit LCD HTDV caused the Chromebook to reboot itself."

    i dont know why but I burst into laughter when i saw this....
    Reply
  • legoman666 - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    Any word on the ship date for the 3g version? I preordered one on Amazon on the 19th, no word on ship date and I can't find one mentioned anywhere. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, November 01, 2012 - link

    I opened this page and got taken here: http://testables.net/d/juicyru.com

    I'm guessing this is not what you guys agreed to regarding what advertisements on your site can do. Here's the brilliant message you get:

    CONGRATULATIONS!
    You've been selected from the [MY STATE] region to take part in our annual visitor survey.
    This will only take 30 seconds of your time and will enhance user experience. Upon completion you will have the opportunity to get a iPad or iPad Mini, a $1000 Best Buy Card , or a $1,000 Visa Gift Card.
    Reply
  • Mumrik - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    "PC notebooks that still struggled with the same virus/malware issues they'd been facing for years"

    That comment had me confused. Is he talking about the crap companies put onto their non-business notebooks or did I miss some sort of virus/malware hell in 2010 that somehow later got solved?
    Reply
  • yannigr - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    This could be better, but it is ok
    I have seen worst than this
    What did you expect with so low price
    This does not work but let's see something else that works
    And here it is a USB 3.0 that works as a slow USB 2.0, and here it is a slot that it is not a slot but a hole

    More or less this is what I was reading in this article. So you pay $249 and you buy a very light machine with overall poor quality and an OS that it is very limited in what you can do with it. And only 6 hour battery time?
    Better buy a netbook, tablet or a second hand laptop for that price.
    Reply
  • koss - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    "Note that the previous Atom solution required two chips: the N570 and its NM10 Express PCH. The !!! -= N570 =- !!! had a 2.1W TDP and was used for all IO, while the N570 and its two Atom cores needed about 8.5W. "

    I guess that is the NM10 actually? Otherwise it makes no sense, to me at least.
    I keep reading and loved the expression that "ARM is the new AMD", perhaps we should call them "ARMeD", since they are in the same boat now.
    Reply
  • owned66 - Saturday, November 03, 2012 - link

    put ubuntu on it = win Reply
  • runeks - Monday, November 05, 2012 - link

    Anyone care to take a guess on how much this device would retail for if it included a battery with 50% or 100% more capacity? That would be a 45 or 60 Whr battery, respectively. I think it would fairly useful to be able to pull 9 hours from a single charge. Reply

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