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Google announces Chromebooks at Google I/O 2011

Planning to buy a new laptop? What will you be looking for? Faster boot time, freedom from annoying updates pop up, relief from virus threat and updating your anti-virus, unlimited storage space and most importantly the one that suits your budget and save you some money without compromising on the benefits. This is exactly why Google Chromebooks are invented. Really light , sleek laptops running on Chrome OS with inbuilt WiFi/3G. The much awaited Chromebooks were launched in the two days mega event Google I/O and will hit retailers on June 15th. Chromebooks will be a revolution and is believed to give fierce competition to Microsoft Windows OS and Apple Macbook.

Key Features of Google Chromebook

Chromebooks are mainly designed and developed for the web and does not much focus on offline data and applications. Focus is on  faster, simpler and secure web experience for the users.

 

  • Lightening Fast boot up: Chromebook has a boot up time of less than 8 seconds and you are instantly connected to web. All your web applications loads faster with full support of HTML5 and also Adobe Flash which is missing in iPad 2.
  • Stay Connected: Chromebook has dual connection option to web; Inbuilt Wi-Fi when at home or work and 3G support while on travel. This guarantees you to be connected to web all the time, even while on move.
  • No Antivirus needed: Chrome head Sunder Pichai is very much confident about the several security layers which Chromebook has and believes that it is immune to hack and does not need any Anti-Virus to be installed on the machine. So no extra cost to pay for subscription of antivirus and no more annoying antivirus updates.
  • Uses Cloud to store data: Yes!! You got it right. No hard disk for Chromebook, it will have around 16GB storage space like iPad. All the applications on Chromebook are web based and uses cloud computing to store the data. No hassle of backing up your data regularly nor you need to worry if your machine is lost. You always have your data securely stored on remote cloud which you can access anytime from anywhere.
  • Auto updates: Instant, automatic updates by Chromebook keeps all the applications up to date and you have access to the latest version all the time. So no longer annoying updates pop up which keeps on asking for a restart.
  • Up to 8 hours battery life: The two manufacturers for Chromebook are Samsung and Acer. Samsung has a battery life of 8 hours with 12.1” screen. Whereas Acer has 6.5 hours battery life and 11.6” screen. Also the weight is just about 1.8 Kgs. Google Chromebook product page gives you more details about specifications.
Samsung Chromebook by Google launched in Google I/O

Samsung Chromebook by Google

How to use offline applications like Photoshop on Chromebook?

So by now you will thinking of how do I install and run my offline applications like Photoshop, Autocad? Well, to be honest there is no direct way you can install them on your Chromebook and you need specialised Laptop with proper operating system like Windows or Mac to run the same. Chrome OS is the first OS of its kind with no support for offline applications and is mainly based on Web applications.

But to get around this problem, Google has teamed up with Citrix Receiver to provide faster, secure access to virtual desktops on remote servers. This enables you to access any application installed on the remote server through your Chromebook at lightening speed as if it is installed on your machine. The same have been tested on a CR-48 and the results were really amazing. But really wonder how will that perform on a 3G connection. But the good thing is that there is a possibility and support for offline applications and in future they might come up with something more innovative to support it. Already they have announce the offline versions of some web applications like email, calendar and many more.

How Much Will the Chromebook Cost me?

Now you don’t want to pay fortunes for a laptop which does not have a real OS, no hard disk and no support for offline applications. So Google has carefully deviced the pricing plan for Chromebook after lot of market research. Samsung Chromebook will cost around $429 for WiFi and $499 for 3G whereas Acer will cost $349 for WiFi laptop. Also for US customer, they have a monthly plan of $28 for business customers and $20 for education users. But there will be a contract of 3 years and you cannot terminate the contract before 3 years.

For European customers they have not yet announced any pricing plans and Indian customers will have to wait as the product is not yet ready to be launched in India. Detailed pricing can be found at engadget.

Is Chromebook worth for the money?

A definite Yes from us. The future is going to be cloud based and more and more applications will be using cloud computing eliminating the need of offline applications. Most of the users already spend 90% of their time on web based applications and hardly use any offline applications these days. Considering the fact that offline applications are also supported through Citrix receiver, the price that we will be paying for Chromebook will be worth every penny.

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