It seems an odd time to launch the updated Chromebook, but at least the price is now right and the styling looks okay for those who are comfortable working in an all-cloud environment.
Looking for Some Shine
With all heck about to break lose in the PC market with Windows 8 Ultrabooks, all-in-ones, notebooks, tablets and combo devices, is this really the time for Google to wave a new Chrome device at people? Is there a "Google-only" fan base that will rush to this new product over the huge range of tablets, superphones and other gadgets on offer?
Smaller, sleeker and less expensive than previous versions, which is perhaps reason enough for Google and partner Samsung to be optimistic, the new Chromebook is here, available from popular stores. As a hobby device, it seems rather appealing, as long as you have a proper computer and OS as back up.
What you get for US$ 249 is an 11.6-inch screen with 2GB RAM, powered by an ARM processor that doesn't need a fan, resulting in a silent machine. With 16GB of storage (and 100GB of free cloud storage), it happily runs the latest version of Google's Chrome OS which has been steadily improving over time to become its own little OS within a browser.
Quickly and Sleekly
Connecting over 3G (which is available on the more expensive $330 model) or WiFi, you can access all your cloud data and services over Google's services, including the likes of Google Play and Google Movies, for those who can't live without their games, music or video. For those with long-standing Amazon or iTunes accounts, well this isn't for you!
With a super-fast boot time and over six hours worth of play on a battery charge, users can at least spend all that time working, as long as their connection holds. If you use Google's Chrome browser on your PC then you're already familiar with world-of-Google and can zip around the many services with ease.
With people less worried about cloud storage, and with a growing number of apps and utilities in the Chrome store, this now looks like a viable proposition, but you'd have to be pretty brave to go all-in on a Chromebook.