On Monday night while watching "Resident Evil: Afterlife" on USA Network, Google aired the first Chromebook commercial -- not once but twice. The ad played a lot better during primetime than on YouTube, with that oh-so tempting $249 price reaching out from the screen. Advertising where real people go shows Google's seriousness to reaching the masses. Make no mistake, something of a computing revolution quietly is brewing here.
Chromebook is still the top-selling laptop at Amazon, and that while being out of stock. Meanwhile, the cloud-connected device gains some surprising followers. On Google+, Chromebook chatter cracks the pipes, and mainly because of the newest model, which matches MacBook Air's form factor and ergonomics, including 11.6-inch screen and better keyboard, for one-quarter the price.
Apple should learn something from Google and Samsung. In a poll which results I'll post today, the majority of respondents tell us that iPad mini costs too much; prices start at $329. Meanwhile, the 11.6-inch Chromebook is priced just right. The WiFi model is Amazon's laptop top-seller, while the $329.99 3G model is No. 4 (and declining). Both models are sold out, like Google Play. Get one, if you can!
Many of you want new Chromebook, which swaps x86 for ARM architecture. So far, 1,770 people have responded to buying poll "Why you buy $249 Chromebook?". More than 35 percent plan to get one within 3 months, while 15.37 already placed orders. How funny if Google's Chrome OS portable turned out to be autumn's ARM sleeper sales success, and not iPad mini or Microsoft Surface.
Somebody believes Google's marketing claim that the $249 Chromebook is "for everyone". Just five hours ago, I reported the device's availability. It's not anymore. A spokesperson confirmed this evening that Google Play sold out of the portable during its first few hours of availability "with more stock coming soon".
Google introduced the new Chromebook, which uses ARM processor rather than x86 processor, on October 18, with pre-orders starting same day. What's different today: Google selling the portable direct from the Play store, alongside Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7. Samsung manufactures the portable, which shape, 11.6-inch screen and overall size resembles Apple's MacBook Air. But Google makes a value push, by selling a computer with similar benefits for one-quarter the price.
What's that saying? Something taken, something gained? Today Google Play started accepting orders for the $249 ARM Chromebook, a new item. Delivery estimate of 3-to-5 business days is typical of the shop. In my experience, buyers can expect delivery sooner. To be clear, Google isn't taking pre-orders, which started October 18 from other retailers. The computer is in stock and ready for purchase. The search and information giant only offers the WiFi version; you'll have to look elsewhere for the $329.99 3G model. BTW, the portable takes the spot long held by "coming soon" Nexus Q.
You'll read more about the new Chromebook here at BetaNews than you might like over the next week or so. That's because I see so much interest and discussion on Google+ and elsewhere on the InterWebs. Lots of people ask: "Should I buy?" For good reason. The new mobile is one hell of a value and represents a paradigm shift in laptops with keyboards -- what MacBook Air could have been had Apple chosen more affordable price and what netbooks should have been if not for Windows limitations (version licensed by Microsoft and low-powered processors).
This week, Google will demonstrate real commitment to Chromebook, by bringing to market a lower-cost model with refined Chrome OS and package primed for mass-market buyers. Until retailers started taking preorders on October 18, the current generation Chromebook, Samsung Series 5 550, sold for $449 and its predecessor for $329. The newest model's $249 price is devastatingly appealing -- all but irresistible. It's almost a no-brainer "yes", particularly for most anyone wanting Apple MacBook Air's svelte size and empowering ergonomics without the hefty price tag.
But there's more here tempting than selling price. Chrome OS has reached near mass-market usability, supported by cloud apps and services that will be good enough for most people. Google even provides Chrome Remote Desktop (beta) for accessing other computers. That's right, you can connect to Macs or Windows PCs, run applications and get to data. While PC marketers and geeks focus on faster and bigger, real world performance is more measure of what you need than what they offer. The new Chromebook needs to pass the "good enough" test, and does so in many ways.
Yesterday, Google suddenly unveiled, in cooperation with Samsung, the first ARM-powered Chromebook and for remarkably affordable price -- $249. There also is a $329.99 model, that includes 3G. Both are available for pre-order now from major retailers, and Google Play will join stores selling the WiFi-only model next week.
The question: Will you buy? It's the right time to ask, because the price is so appealing. From my initial testing, about 24 hours now, it's hard not to recommend this new Chromebook, if for no other reason than price. But as I'll further explain in my forthcoming first-impressions review, there are plenty of trade-offs for the price -- and benefits, too.
Chromebook 3G comes with an 11.6-inch display sporting a 1366 by 768 resolution, 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5 dual-core processor based on the Cortex A15 architecture, 2GB RAM, 16GB SSD for storage, runs Chrome OS and, on top of the Wi-Fi model from yesterday has a Verizon Wireless 3G WWAN with up to 100MB of free cellular data per month for a period of two years. The price for getting a Samsung Chrombook with cellular connectivity is $329.99. Worth it?
Google and Samsung are giving Chromeboook a mighty big makeover -- smaller screen, lower price and something unexpected: ARM processor. Say goodbye to x86, baby, and hello to $249 selling price, which is $200 less than Samsung's Series 5 550 model. The architectural change comes as Microsoft and its OEM partners prep ARM-based Windows RT computers for release in just eight days. Like Windows 8 systems, future Chromebooks will have either ARM or x86 processors.
ARM means there's more Samsung in the new model than ever before, which includes the microprocessor. That makes the new Chromebook a lot closer to an end-to-end product that Apple might make. Judging from Google-Samsung success with Galaxy Nexus, which feels integrated all the way -- hardware, services and software -- the new Chrome OS device promises much. Kilogram for kilogram, the device is ready to stand against MacBook Air, which offers same screen size and similar dimensions but starting price is $750 more. Then there are ultrabooks, some of which sell for even more than Apple's laptop.
The cat's out of the bag, and we can all stop guessing as to what the Surface RT will cost. Microsoft confirms many things, namely that Steve Ballmer was spot-on with his estimates on Surface pricing roughly a month ago. The Surface RT is going toe-to-toe with the iPad down to the very last penny. That's a good thing.
One thing I'm curious about is how Surface will change the way K-12 looks at computing devices for the next generation of students. I've already penned my thoughts on why I believe the Surface could very well outshine the iPad in education. A big part of this winning equation has to do with the ecosystem that surrounds a given technology.
Four months ago, I put aside (and later sold) MacBook Air for the Samsung Series 5 550 second-generation Chromebook and never looked back. They say three times is a charm, and that proves true with my third foray using a laptop running Chrome OS. The first two proved life-changing, as I adopted a partial cloud computing lifestyle. Now I live a vigorous, charmed cloud life, which includes Android embrace.
Chromebook isn't easy, because it demands a thinking reset. I had to put aside concepts about everyday computing, fear of losing Internet connection and perceptions about hardware configurations and what's good enough performance value. Something else: When I started this journey, in December 2010, Chrome OS wasn't good enough, because there weren't enough supporting cloud apps. That has changed dramatically, because of Chrome Web Store and how much desktop-like utility Google now brings to cloud services like G+ or YouTube.
Apple is on my mind again, with the company hosting a big media event tomorrow presumably to unveil iPhone 5. I'm not seriously thinking about buying the smartphone, certainly not sight unseen. I'm super satisfied with Galaxy Nexus -- if not, I'd move to a LTE Android, perhaps HTC One X or Samsung Galaxy S III. Rather, iPhone 5 is good time to assess my personal Apple boycott, where I sold off all my fruit-logo gear in protest of patent bullying.
Until July, I was a long-time Apple user, starting with the December 1998 purchase of the original Bondi Blue iMac. Then about six months ago, Apple's persistent competition-by-litigation tactics finally made me mad. I also had grown sick of Apple media bias that borders on the insane. How crazy? Yesterday, Washington Post explained "How Apple’s iPhone 5 could singlehandedly rescue the US economy". Bad is worse -- today, extending this economic lift to US presidential elections, Nextgov (a product of the National Journal Group) asserts: "How the iPhone 5 could help re-elect Obama". These are people I really don't want to associate with. (Say doesn't the president use BlackBerry?)
Since December 1998, when on impulse I bought the original iMac from CompUSA, I've used Apple gear. No longer. Late yesterday, I replaced the last fruit-logo with another, fulfilling my pledge nearly a month ago to boycott Apple. I wanted to declare independence sooner, but with so much news to write about in June and Google I/O last week, researching and replacing the AirPort base station was too much trouble. But it's offline now -- and, along with Apple TV, going on Craigslist today.
Circumstances since choosing to boycott make me all the more adamant. Last week, US District Judge Lucy Koh issued two preliminary injunctions against Samsung devices -- Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus. Yesterday she denied Samsung's request to stay the ban pending appeal. Anticipating Nexus' similar fate, Google swiftly responded by pulling the phone from its online store and dispatching an update to existing phones. I chose to boycott being so angry by Apple's aggressive patent bullying that thwarts competition and takes away consumer choice. Today, I celebrate America's independence anniversary by gaining freedom from Apple.
Perhaps my biggest surprise walking around Google I/O 2012: Autodesk, and a Chromebook! Cough, cough, gag, gag. What the hell is this? Why would Autodesk demo its big-iron 3D design products on the Samsung Series 5 550. This is not MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
As Randy Young explains it's all about the cloud and extending Autodesk customers' capabilities in the cloud. Let's say you're a builder. You've got AutoCAD and your client doesn't. They can view the design in Chrome. Sure enough, there's an AutoCAD WS plug-in available in the Chrome Webstore. Yes, apps for Android and iOS are available, too. But the developer is here promoting Autodesk 360 cloud service. The concept: Store and share design files in the cloud. If your customer is crazy enough to buy Chromebook. No problem.
I'm here in San Francisco, undeterred by cancelled and delayed flights, and it's madness. At 7 am PDT, when the doors were supposed to open, the line wrapped around and down the block and around the next one. Man, you should have come. I/O closes an exciting month of developer events -- Apple's WWDC, Microsoft's TechEd, Windows Phone and surprise Surface announcement. But the last word goes to Google, which is expected today to debut the Nexus tablet, expand cloud services and delight with lots more. I'm too rushed to go through them all.
The keynote commences at 9:30 am PDT -- that's 12:30 pm Eastern Time, and all updates here will be in chronological order reversed -- meaning newest first. You'll want to refresh often.
Save your greenbacks now. During these thirty days you'll hear about lots of innovative and imitative products coming for the holidays. There's no coal in Santa's stocking this year, just too much tech to fit your gift list.
Not since the late 1990s, when seemingly every day some vendor announced a new PC that was ever-so-better than the one you bought the week before, is there so much new tech coming so close together. The cloud connected-device era ushers in a storm of tech. Save up now so you don't break the bank account or exceed credit card limits later.