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As Google (news, site) gets ready to unleash the Chrome OS, hardware makers such as Samsung are preparing their products to run the web-based OS.

By the Book

Samsung's new range of Chromebook machines has been unveiled to the public, paving the way for everyone to break away from the classic OS paradigm and become totally Web 2.0 (or is this Web 3.0?) self-sufficient.

With Google now pushing the OS as a credible alternative to Windows PCs and Macs, can this reignite plummeting sales of affordable notebooks (as everyone goes iPad-crazy) or is this just another niche that will fail to ignite?

Show Us the Specs

Samsung's Series 5 Chromebook range comes with WiFi as standard and 3G as an option, an Intel N750 Atom processor, 2GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD for local storage, with the idea that all your stuff stays in the cloud. Prices start at US$ 429 for the WiFi version up to US$ 499 for the 3G edition and they will be available in white or silver.

 

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Samsung's Chromebooks could capture the world's imagination

The 3.3-pound machines come with an 8.5-hour battery life (5 hours for movie playing) and have a 10 second or less boot time, plus a one second out-of-standby time. These machines will certainly make people more productive, but could also deny us those first-thing coffees and watercooler chats.

Acer is offering a similarly specced machine, although its model comes with a HDMI-out port for watching movies on your big screen.Both makes will come with a HD webcam for Microsoft-Skypeing (oh, the irony) and chat.

The Big Questions

The major issue with Chrome OS remains: Who is going to risk their data to the cloud, which has been shown to be all too frail in recent weeks? Recent weaknesses have been found in Chrome too, which could also dampen enthusiasm. But the fresh subscription offers for work and schools could be enough to get the ball rolling.

The June 15 launch event should certainly be spectacular, but it will only be with hands-on experience that the Chrome OS experiment will prove to be a success (partial or otherwise). Can you see many users getting a good signal in a car on on a boat to perform typical computing tasks?