Google unveiled the “Chromebook” concept and launched the first such products around a year ago, but the devices manufactured by Samsung and Acer haven’t exactly caught on. However, Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s company is not one to give up a fight so easily. This is why we’re happy to announce that the second-generation Chromebook has just been released and looks like a significantly upgrade to the computers from 2011.
The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook 550 has already been put up for sale in the US and UK and is available in two models, with Wi-Fi connectivity only and with Wi-Fi and 3G. Aside from the new Chromebook, Google and Samsung have released another product, called the Series 3 Chromebox, which is designed to be used as a desktop computer along with a monitor.
The new Chromebook is manufactured by Samsung and is powered by a 1.3 GHz dual-core Intel Celeron 867 processor. That should provide significantly more oomph than the 1.66 GHz dual-core Intel Atom N570 chipset that powered last year’s Samsung Series 5. Google is actually claiming that the new laptop runs up to three times faster than the first-generation Chromebooks.
While we’re not sure if the new processor is in fact so much snappier than the old one, it’s pretty obvious that the Series 5 550 will be a better multitasker, as it comes with 4 GB of RAM (the first Chromebooks only featured 2 gigs).
The rest of the features include a 16 GB SSD (solid-state drive), a 12.1-inch display with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution, integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics, two USB 2.0 ports, a Display Port, a 4-in-1 memory card slot, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a 1 MP HD webcam.
As far as design goes, the new Series 5 550 looks a tad more elegant and fashionable than the first-edition Series 5, but comes with the same weight and measurements. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, because at 3.3 pounds, both generations are very slim and portable.
As you might already know, Chromebooks run on the ChromeOS operating system, a Linux-based OS that works exclusively with web applications and depends greatly on Internet connectivity. However, the user experience has been slightly improved over the past couple of months, as we informed you a while back.
In terms of pricing, the new Series 5 Chromebook 550 is not what you’d call affordable, going for $449.99 (the Wi-Fi only model) and $549.99 (the 3G version). That’s a hundred bucks more than what the original Series 5 cost, but the improvements and upgrades should be significant.
Google’s new Chromebox looks designed to take a stab at Apple’s Mac Mini line of small form factor desktop computers. With a similar design (but in black) and only 2.45 pound in weight, the Series 3 Chromebox is manufactured by Samsung and, while it’s not as powerful as the Mac Minis, it might draw some attention with its affordable price tag.
Available for just $329.99, the Chromebox is powered by a dual-core 1.9 GHz Intel Celeron B840 processor and comes with pretty much the same tech specs as the new Chromebook, but with six USB 2.0 ports and two Display Ports compatible with HDMI, DVI, and VGA.
You can check out Samsung’s full press release introducing the two new gadgets below, but don’t forget to hit us with a comment and let us know what you think about Google and Sammy’s new duo. Would you be tempted to go for either the Chromebook or the Chromebox in the near future? Why? Why not?
“The new Samsung Series 5 Chromebook and Series 3 Chromebox provide the rapid, convenient and ever-improving computing experience that was so well-received in our first Chromebook,” said Todd Bouman, vice president of marketing at Samsung Enterprise Business Division. “As the world’s first Chromebox, the Series 3 provides users with the Chromebook’s ease-of-use in a compact desktop product, which easily integrates with their existing accessories. The second generation Chromebook features powerful components housed in a slim, lightweight body, thanks to Samsung’s advanced hardware engineering.”
“This is the next step in our journey toward an always-new computing experience focused on speed, simplicity and security,” said Caesar Sengupta, Director of Product Management at Google. “This next-generation hardware from Samsung based on Intel processors and hardware-accelerated software delivers nearly three times the performance of the first-generation Chromebooks. With a new, app-centric user interface rolling out today and thousands of available web apps, we couldn’t be more excited about this evolution.”
Elegant, Thoughtful Design
Both the Series 5 Chromebook and Series 3 Chromebox feature Samsung’s renowned, sleek design identity. Weighing just over three pounds and measuring less than an inch thick, the Series 5 Chromebook can easily be carried everywhere. The full-sized keyboard results in maximum convenience and productivity, and the 12.1-inch, SuperBright LCD screen is ideal for all needs, from viewing photos and work documents to chatting face-to-face using the built-in webcam.
The Samsung Series 3 Chromebox is a compact yet highly powerful home or office computer, offering the Chrome operating system in a desktop form factor. At 7.6 x 7.6 x 1.3-inches, this computer is small enough to put on a desk, in a bookshelf or next to the couch – and is also easy to transport between the home and office if needed. Its sleek matte black finish and silver accents are sure to add style to any home or office environment.
The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook boots up in as little as just seven seconds, enabling users to jump into work or play nearly instantly and, unlike traditional computers, doesn’t slow down over time. An Intel Celeron 867 Dual Core (1.3 GHz) processor sporting a 16GB SSD and 4GB of RAM give you all the computing power you need for an optimal experience and an optional built-in 3G wireless feature from Verizon Wireless allows connectivity to just about anywhere. With the 3G option, Verizon will provide up to 100MBs per month of Mobile Broadband service included with the device for two years.****
Like the Chromebook, the Samsung Series 3 Chromebox also features a 16GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, as well as an Intel Celeron B840 Dual Core (1.9 GHz) processor. Built-in 2×2 WLAN Wi-Fi enables users to set up the Chromebox in the furthest corners of their home or office and still experience full connectivity without worrying about extra cables. Users can connect their Series 3 Chromebox to monitors up to 30-inches in size, a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, or even an HDTV using the Display Port output. Users can also effortlessly connect up to six USB devices to upload photos or save files.
Simple, Secure and Ever-Improving User Experience
Google developed the Chrome OS operating system with three key factors in mind: speed, simplicity and security, and has improved on these factors since the launch of the first Chromebook in 2011. Both the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook and Series 3 Chromebox offer a rapid experience. With the Chrome operating system, you can get online in seconds, load web pages with incredible speed and access all of your favorite apps in one click through the app launcher.
Automatic updates mean that Chromebook and Chromebox users always receive the latest functionality, without any hassle. Security features are also built-in and updated to defend against the ongoing threat of malware and viruses, reducing the need for users to install anti-virus software.
Built-in cloud storage enables both Chromebook and Chromebox users to access their files securely from anywhere, and sync technology backs up all of your preferences, bookmarks and apps, so you can easily access them from a Chrome browser on another device.
Both new Samsung products also come equipped for Google Cloud Print for easy web printing to any Samsung Google Cloud Print ready laser printer.
The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook and the Samsung Series 3 Chromebox will be available beginning May 30th. The Series 5 Chromebook Wi-Fi model will retail at $449.99 while the 3G model will retail at $549.99. The Series 3 Chromebox Wi-Fi model will retail at $329.99. The Chromebook and Chromebox are only available at Amazon.com, Tiger.com, NewEgg.com, BestBuy.com and BHPhoto.com.