Google has made an unexpected announcement today ahead of Windows 8 launch, the same day with Ubuntu 12.10 was scheduled to be release. The announcement holds all the potential to disrupt the consumer PC market, something Ubuntu has been trying since 2004.
A $249 Laptop?
After the massive success of Nexus 7, Google is going with the price point as the primary driver to push it's Chromebooks in the market where users will be frustrated with Windows 8 UI.
First things first - the device.
Google's new Chromebook is the first laptop to be powered by an ARM chip - Samsung's Exynos 5 Dual processor. This chip offers several advantages over Intel. It's cheap so it brings down the cost of the Chromebook. The price was one of the reasons Chromebooks were not becoming popular as users were not convinced to throw $500 on a browser only device. But $249 makes it dirt cheap, considering the fact that a majority of us live inside a browser.
Besides price ARM chips also get rid of fans which are necessary evil for Intel based devices. So you get more battery juice for your laptop which otherwise goes to the fan.Google says that this Chromebook gives over 6.5 hours of battery.
The Chromebook comes with 16GB on board SSD storage for data with an SD card slot so you will never run out of space. It has 2GB of RAM which seems to be more than enough for what this device is capable of doing.
The device has 2 USB ports so you can connect your peripherals and one HDMI-out port which you can use for connecting it to your HD TV or projectors. This Chromebook has a decent (keep in mind the price) 11.6-inches with 1366 x 768 resolution.
For this price point its a decent hardware. We have not 'felt' the device in our hands so we can't comment on the build quality but The Verge says its decent build for this price (we are trying to get one unit as soon as possible).
There is not much to talk about software or OS -- which is the unique selling point of this device. It's maintenance free operating system which always stays updated. Unlike Windows or Mac you don't have to shell out few dollars every-time a new version is out. Google takes care of the updates so you always run the latest and the safest version of Google Chrome OS. There are so many apps available from Google Chrome Store that you may find something or the other to fulfill your needs. As far as content goes you can also access Google Play content on your Chomebooks so you can watch movies, buy books, magazine and listen to music from your Chromebook.
Google is offering free 100GB Google Drive storage space with this Chromebook for 2 years, which amounts to roughly $120.
I don't think a consumer PC (targetted at online users) can get any better or cheaper than Google Chromebook. We have two ChromeOS devices and we love them for what they are capable of doing.
The latest Chromebooks will be available on sale for $249 since Monday, in case you want to buy one here is the link Buy $249 Chomebook
This is the first time we see a really compelling competitor to Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac. The new $249 Chromebook holds great potential to finally crack the Windows market.
What do you think?