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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chrome Laptops Coming Next Month


By: Kareem Ali

Google finally made it official, the much rumored Chrome powered netbooks from Acer and Samsung will be shipping next month. The CR-48 (pictured above) was Google’s sexy test bed for the platform and thankfully the Acer and Samsung tabs don’t differentiate much from it’s design.

First a bit on Chrome for the uninitiated. Chrome is Google’s answer to Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. According to Google those operating systems are pretty much just getting in the way of what people really use their computers for nowadays, the internet, and this is their way of fixing that.

At it’s heart Chrome is hardly more than a simple really really small Linux kernel that only serves to run basic bootstrap code and then start up the Chrome browser. What that means for those of you who don’t know squat about OS kernel's and whatnot is that it can boot in about 8 seconds, and have you on the web within 15 (accounting for login and all). That’s pretty damned fast if you ask me. I’ve argued before that the cloud can help Linux get into more peoples hands. The way I see it Google is pretty much dead on in assuming that most people boot their computers, start up their browsers and spend pretty much all their time on the web. You don’t need a gigantic OS chugging along in the background slowing you down. so why bother having it? I know there are still a lot of people (like me) who use their computers for more than just surfing the web and playing games, and we need a powerful OS to handle all the editing and gaming software. But the fact of the matter is most people are just using their computers (laptops especially) to get online and do their thing, y’know check Facebook, Spam Porn, whatever it is you do online. Those people would benefit greatly from having a huge chunk of their OS removed so they could surf around faster and not have to worry about maintaining an OS, which if you ask any tech, seems to be well beyond the capabilities of the average computer user for some reason.

Here are the specs for each Chrome book, then I’ll get into some of my beefs with Chrome:


  • 12.1" (1280x800) 300 nit Display
  • 3.26 lbs / 1.48 kg
  • 8.5 hours of continuous usage 1
  • Intel® AtomTM Dual-Core Processor
  • Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
  • HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • Mini-VGA port
  • Fullsize Chrome keyboard
  • Oversize fully-clickable trackpad




  • 11.6" HD Widescreen CineCrystalTM LED-backlit LCD
  • 2.95 lbs. | 1.34 kg.
  • 6 hours of continuous usage 1
  • Intel® AtomTM Dual-Core Processor
  • Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
  • HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
  • High-Definition Audio Support
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • HDMI port
  • Full-size Chrome keyboard
  • Oversize fully-clickable track pad


The stats are pretty similar, as you can see, the glaring differences seem to be the battery life and the HDMI out port. Now on to my gripe with Chrome.

The only thing that really bothers me is that Google expects people to store most of their data in their cloud. The option is there for flash memory, but as you can see neither device comes with a hard drive. That’s the problem with netbooks in general however, they seem to straddle this fence of not quite being a laptop, while at the same time not quite being a tablet. It’s kind of weird and off-putting to me personally.

The problem with storing all my data in a cloud rather than on a hard drive is that I simply don’t fully trust it. You can tell me it’s safe, reliable and secure, but they say that about every new car that comes out and yet look how many people die in car accidents. I don’t want my data to die, I want it triple backed up in different ways stored in different places. I like the way things are now where I can choose what I want backed up in the cloud and then go from there. There’s no question that cloud servers are going to play a vital role in the future of computing but I don’t think it’s smart for Google to be banking on people trusting it.

For the people that do adopt Chrome as their day to day OS and don’t want to go all crazy on the cloud storage, are going to have to deal with carrying around lots of different storage devices in an attempt to make up the common 250-320 GB hard drives that come in laptops today. That means more chances to lose data as you could misplace on of those pretty much anywhere.

That’s my biggest gripe with Chrome OS, if you only use your laptop for surfing the web, and are ok with spending that extra money for memory or don’t mind storing all your ish in the cloud, than June 15th will be a great day for you. Otherwise I don’t see Chrome doing anything more than I could do in Linux if I really wanted to (except maybe the over the air updates) so, you might as well buy an OS-Free laptop and get you a copy of Ubuntu, it boots fast, you can find a really small bare-bones version if you look for it and if your hell bent on the chrome browser than it’s only a couple command lines away.

So there you have it, I found a video of Google introducing the Chrome book check it out below.

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