Sunday, June 12, 2011

Google Chromebook Coming Wednesday, June 15

On Wednesday, Google Chrome netbooks will start shipping. You can currently pre-order a Chrome netbook (Chromebook) at Amazon and Best Buy. The Chromebook concept was first described by Google a couple of years ago - before the iPad explosion. Here's some details on the Chromebooks shipping in the United States on June 15, 2011:
  • Most have 11-12" screens and weigh a little over 3 pounds.
  • They boot in 8 seconds and wake instantly from sleep mode.
  • There is no license fee to the manufacturer for the operating system. In contrast, Microsoft charges $73 to a manufacturer for a Windows license.
  • The devices have removable storage - Chrome supports USB memory and SD cards.
  • Many of the devices will have high-definition webcams (e.g. Samsung and Acer models)
  • Most manufactures are spec'ing a battery life of over 8 hours.
  • Flash is supported (iPads and iPhones do not run flash).
  • Wi-Fi only devices are selling for approximately $430 while Verizon 3G/Wi-Fi models are selling for $500.
  • Google has created an online app store for Chrome. The store includes apps for Chromebooks and the Chrome browser (very nice - my default browser now) many of us are running on our regular computers.
Initially, running apps on a Chromebook will require online connectivity. Google says this summer they will be releasing versions of Gmail and Google Calendar that will run on the Chromebook while off-line. They are also offering app developers support to modify apps to run off-line.

The competition is heating up in the cloud space with the Apple's Lion OS X being released for $29 in July. Lion will more tightly integrate Apple PC's, iPads and iPhones using cloud based services.

Microsoft's Windows 8 is also looking interesting. It's scheduled to come out next year (2012) and has a completely new user interface, built around what we're seeing on the Windows phone now.

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