Chromebook is now available from Google Play

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).

The new model adds ARM to x86 processors supported by Chrome OS. The change in architecture, combined with netbook/MacBook Air size and weight and low price generates interest -- and also concern. Can it meet potential buyers' computing demands -- applications and performance?

As I explain in my first-impressions review, performance is a mixed bag. Some people will be satisfied, many others will be disappointed. The $249 Chromebook is not a screamer, unless perhaps you're the one screaming in frustration about sluggish performance. But, as I expressed in the review, many people will find the portable to be fast enough for the price. Don't expect Porsche perfromance for Datsun pricing.

To find out just how good (or bad) is the experience, I will use the $249 Chromebook as my only PC for seven days and report on the experience here, but more frequently on Google+. Some quick things now. I continue to test the battery, which Google and Samsung claim is 6.5 hours.

The battery was fully charged when I went to bed last night, and I forgot to check capacity when starting work (late) around 6:30 am. Amount of battery life stated by Chrome OS and time:

  • 7:30 am: 85 percent, 5 hours
  • 10:30 am: 29 percent, 1:37 hours
  • 11:30 am: 13 percent, 52 minutes
  • 12:14 pm: 1 percent, 3 minutes

Computer shut down at 12:20 pm. That's in line with 6.5 hours.

Also, Google updated Chrome OS today, or the version shipping on the ARM Chromebook. Mine came with 23.0.1271.39. It's now 23.0.1271.49.

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