Samsung Chromebook is $249, skinny and already outdated

Samsung and Google have lifted the lid on the new Chromebook, an exceptionally underpowered device for US$249. For those who watched the video above, this online-only laptop really is “for everyone”. Just not for us.

Underwhelming specs

The new Samsung Chromebook has an 11.6-inch screen, is two-inches (5.08cm) thick and weighs a mere 1.1Kg. It runs Chrome OS, an operating system that has to be online to operate. All information is stored on the cloud, the Chromebook saves nothing save for basic user details.

The CPU is a very weedy 1.7Ghz. There’s 16GB flash memory which, as mentioned earlier, is not for standard storage purposes. The screen runs at HD, or 1366×768 but 1080p video is supported. With this little processing power, the bundled 2GB RAM suits the new Samsung Chromebook just fine.

There are a few connectivity options. HDMI, an SD card slot, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports plus Bluetooth 3.0. Finally, Google’s chucking in 100GB of cloud storage.

Obviously, the new Chromebook is not for tech-heads like us. But at this price, it may find a core casual audience and play the same trick Nintendo did with the Wii and the upcoming Wii U. Tech doesn’t need to be frightening and complex.

The Chromebook is positioned as “throwaway” laptop of sorts. Buy one, says Google. Hell, buy three and use one Chromebooks as a dinner plate. Here’s what Google has to say about it. “If you ever felt it was too complicated and too expensive to have an additional computer (or two), we hope you (and the entire family) will give the new Chromebook a try.”

And guess what? It’s available for purchase right now. At least this time it’s cheap and underwhelming, compared to the last batch of Chromebooks which were ridiculously  expensive and woefully underpowered. Progress?

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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