Google today announced a new Chromebook today and it costs just $249. That’s less than many a tablet or even smartphone. However, there are some caveats associated with the 11.6-inch machine, which include storage space and all together power.
Under the hood is an ARM-based processor (1.7Ghz Samsung Exynos 5), which is often found in many mobile devices. The previous Chromebook used an Intel Celeron processor, and while that offering is more analogous to that of a traditional laptop, it’s also louder, sucks up more energy, and is generally more expensive – the last Chromebook was over $400.
Despite boasting a smaller screen (11.6-inch vs 12.1-inch) than it’s predecessor, the new Chromebook has a higher resolution display of 1366×768, weighs 2.48lbs, and measures .8-inches thick. 16GB of on board storage comes standard with the machine, though thanks to an SD card slot you can bump that amount to infinity, provided you’ve got a bevy of SD cards on hand. Google also includes 100GB of online storage for up to 1 year, but after that you’ll need to pay a fee. Those that travel a fair bit, you’ll enjoy the 12 free Gogo inflight WiFi passes (estimated $150 value) that you can use over 2 years on domestic US flights (not bad considering the price of this machine).
Additional specs include 2GB of RAM, a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port, HDMI output, a .3MP camera, dual 1.5w speakers, and a purported 6.5 hour battery life. Sorry, there is no 3G or 4G connectivity, but it’s a caveat we’re willing to accept in light of the lower price, though it’s important to note that it is not WiFi N enabled. Like the previous machines of a time past, this one will include the same chiclet style keyboard and a comparable trackpad.
So, it’s obvious that the new Chromebook (model number XE303C12-A01US) isn’t intended to replace, but complement your existing computing power. It’s a bit hard to agree with that, though, especially seeing as most machines these days are light enough, and powerful enough to complete most tasks (putting aside Photoshop and other media like editing programs). That said, we could easily see this fitting in nicely into the family room or kitchen. Kids could complete home work assignments, parents could look up recipes or quickly surf the web, and supposedly it’s capable enough to support full HD streaming.
The 11.6-inch Chromebook should ship sometime soon.