Last week Google announced a $249 Chromebook. On Monday they started they started taking orders. Guess what happened? Less than 24 hours later and it’s now sold out! Now to be fair, we don’t know how many units Google had to begin with, so we can’t exactly call this news a major success, but it’s important none the less because it proves that people will buy Chromebooks if they’re priced right.
What exactly is a Chromebook and what makes this new $249 model different from the previous generation models? Think of a Chromebook like a laptop that can run only one application: Chrome. The operating system, known as Chrome OS, is based on Linux, it uses the age old windowing user interface, and it auto updates itself every 6 weeks. This new $249 model, which is made by Samsung, is the first ARM based Chromebook. Translation: It uses the same kind of chips that companies traditionally put inside mobile phones.
Which chip is inside? Samsung’s Exynos 5250, which is a dual core chip that uses ARM’s new Cortex A15 processors. We’ve known about this chip for a while now, but this new Chromebook is the first device to actually use it. Rumor has it that we’ll see smartphones and tablets use the new Exynos 5250 in 2013.
Is the ARM Chromebook fast? Kevin Tofel at GigaOM did a performance evaluation and reached a conclusion that shouldn’t surprise any of you: It’s slower than the equivalent Intel based Chromebook, but it’s not slow enough to make it unusable. He goes on to say that his family didn’t notice any sluggishness when testing out the product.
So there you have it. It’s hard for us to tell you to buy this Chromebook because we haven’t touched it yet, but hey, if you think you can live with a machine that does nothing but browse the web, $249 seems like a price tag that’s incredibly hard to resist.
Think about it, it’s the same price as a Nexus 7.