Two and a half years after Chrome OS was first announced, Google’s Chromebook computers are finally hitting the stores, where consumers will decide if they’re going to be a hit or a miss. Here’s a look at “Chromebook Day.”
Finally, Chromebooks Arrive
Back on November 19, 2009, Google unveiled its plans for a new computer operating system, Chrome OS.
Just over a year later, on December 7, 2010, actual Chrome OS laptops were made available in limited numbers through a special program for early adopters.
Polished, consumer-ready versions dubbed “Chromebooks” weren’t available for purchase, with the exception of a special limited offer through Gilt earlier this month, until now.
Google had said during its Google I/O conference last month that Chromebooks would be out today, June 15, for purchase. The company has just reminded the world that the Chromebooks have arrived in an official blog post. In the US, this means buying through Amazon or Best Buy.
Amazon: Only 1 Of 6 Models Available
Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t appear ready, not for most of the versions. It has a nice landing page about the Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung:
But trying to buy some of the products simply shows them as”Pre-order” only and “this item has not yet been released,” as you can see with this Acer version below:
Of the six models that Amazon lists, only one — the white Samsung Series 5 3G version — is available now. The lowest price Acer, at $379, is also $20 more than Acer said it would be last month.
Acer has confirmed to Computerworld that its shipping date has been delayed. It may come by the end of the month. That original $349 price might return.
I was bemused to see one model also had a review already, even though it’s not available. It’s someone talking about the test Chromebooks that were offered, not the final consumer version.
Best Buy: Only 2 Of 4 Samsung Models, Acer Not Offered
Over at Best Buy, the other US launch partner, it’s Samsung-only. Best Buy has a landing page here, which leads to a page showing that two of the four Samsung models are ready for purchase now. You can have your Chromebooks from Samsung in any color you like, as long as it’s white:
Oddly, the page doesn’t make clear the differences between the two models you can buy now. The lower priced version is wifi-only, while the higher priced one has 3G connectivity. Even when you drill into the product pages, this isn’t clear. You have to find it buried in the fine print, rather than it being made clear in the product headline:
Chromebooks: Will They Take Off?
Those wanting the lower-priced Acer models look to have to keep waiting. Those who have been desperate to try Google’s new computers, at least they’re partially out through Best Buy and Amazon. For those outside the US, see Google’s Chromebook page here for purchasing options.
Chromebooks are expensive compared to cheap laptops that give you all that Chrome OS can provide. That’s because if you have a browser, you largely have all that Chrome OS can do. So Chromebooks will likely come off as limiting to those who are used to traditional laptops.
Google’s hope, of course, is that people will be pleased with a computer that automatically updates itself for free (no forking out for Windows 8 or MacOS Lion upgrade) and that is designed from the ground-up for those who want to live in the cloud.
We’ll see. Google also offers versions for businesses and education, where the idea of an auto-updating cloud-based laptop might be more appealing.
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