The new $249 Samsung Chromebook.
McLean, VA (written by Edward C. Baig/USA Today) -- In the midst of its accidental earnings release, and the invitation sent out late Wednesday night to journalists announcing an Android-related press event in New York City on Oct. 29, Google is unleashing a new lower-priced Chromebook computer.
Chromebooks are cloud-based laptops that to date haven't exactly taken the computing market by storm. That could explain the attractive new $249 price, a big drop from the previous $449 entry price for a Wi-Fi only model.
The latest machine is less than 0.8 inches thick, has an 11.6-inch display (1366x768 resolution) that is a bit smaller than before, 2GB of memory, and SSD storage of 16GB. It weighs just over 2.4 pounds, which is lighter than its predecessor, and it houses a Samsung Exynos 5250 processor. Google is claiming more than 6.5 hours of battery life. It has a single USB 3.0 port, a single USB 2.0 port, a combo headphone/mic jack, secure digital memory slot, and an HDMI Port.
For all the specs, Chromebooks are marketed as hassle and virus-free machines that start up in seconds. Google says there are thousands of free apps available for Chromebook. Already preloaded: Search, Gmail, YouTube, and Hangouts. Google can and does regularly update the software.
As before, most everything you do is through Google's own Chrome Web browser and the cloud-based Chrome operating system it is based on. But that also means you're somewhat limited when you are offline.
Google faces another hurdle, the timing of the release. Microsoft is garnering a lot of attention for its upcoming Windows 8 software and the Microsoft-branded Surface tablet that takes advantage of the new operating system. Apple is widely expected to bring out a smaller iPad next week. And then there's Google's own upcoming Android event in which it is rumored to perhaps be unveiling new tablets and smartphones.