updated 02:10 pm EDT, Wed June 15, 2011
Google Chrome OS hits stores
Google marked its official step into desktop operating systems Wednesday by shipping the first Chromebooks. Both the Acer Cromia and Samsung Series 5 are on sale today both through Amazon (above) and Best Buy's online shop. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK can get it as well but will have to turn to local retailers.
Just two models start off the range. The 11.6-inch Acer Cromia is the entry level and at $389 has a dual-core 1.66GHz Atom, 2GB of RAM, a 16GB SSD, and a six-hour battery. A 3G version is $450. Samsung's Series 5 ups the size to 12 inches with a longer-running 8.5-hour battery to match for $430 in Wi-Fi only guise and $500 for 3G.
Every American 3G model comes with 100MB of free Verizon data a month and can add more for a fee.
The systems are primarily aimed at toppling Microsoft's hold on netbooks and large-scale notebook sales, such as corporate and educational buyers. Chrome OS depends almost exclusively on the web and can always be up to date with a minimum of the setup associated with Windows. The lack of native apps and the sandboxing in Chrome also prevents many of the security issues.
Google's approach is conspicuously clear of Apple's, where the focus is on tablets and high-performance computers with native apps that sync to the cloud rather than rely on the cloud itself. Critics have said that Chrome OS flies against the company's own Android 3 tablet strategy and could undermine chances of competing against the iPad. Google has more lately answered that it sees Chrome OS as a more conventional notebook platform where Android is based around touch.