Last month Google unveiled the first Chromebooks from Samsung and Acer
. Today the company announced that the notebooks are available for order in the U.S. from Amazon and BestBuy.com and also in other countries.
You can visit google.com/chromebook to find a local retailer in the Netherlands,
Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the U.K.
Acer is offering the 11.6-inch Acer Cromia AC700 Chromebook (Wi-Fi version,
$350) and Samsung the 12,1-inch Samsung Series 5 (Wi-Fi version, $450)
Chromebooks are are actually web-centric PCs, based on an operating system -
essentially Chrome web browser - that steers users to use applications like
email and spreadsheets directly on the web, instead of storing software such as
Outlook or Word directly on PCs.
The average out-of-the-box laptop starts up in 45 seconds. By contrast, the
Series 5 starts up in less than ten seconds. When waking from sleep, a user
simply opens the lid, and it's ready to go.
Chromebooks do not run traditional PC software. They run web-based applications,
or web apps, that open right in the browser. For example, Google Docs lets you
do word processing, spreadsheets and presentations online. You can access web
apps by typing their URL into the address bar, or by installing them instantly
from the Chrome Web Store.
Every Chromebook runs web apps, from games to spreadsheets to photo editors.
Thanks to the power of HTML5, many apps keep working even in those rare moments
when you're not connected.
In the near future, Chromebook users will be also able to run traditional
software remotely on Google Chrome notebooks. Companies like Citrix are
developing solutions that will be available in the Web Store, and Google is
developing a free service called Chromoting that will enable Chrome notebook
users to remotely access their existing PCs and Macs.
Chromebooks also run the first consumer operating system designed from the
ground up to defend against the ongoing threat of malware and viruses. They
employ the principle of "defense in depth" to provide multiple layers of
protection, including sandboxing, data encryption, and verified boot.
Chromebooks manage updates for you automatically so you are always running the
latest and most secure version.
On your Chromebook, each web page and application you visit runs in a restricted
environment called a "sandbox." So if you visit an infected page, it can't
affect the other tabs or apps on your computer, or anything else on your
machine. The threat is contained.
When you use web apps on your Chromebook, all your documents are stored in the
cloud. But certain kinds of files, like downloads, cookies, and browser cache
files, may still be present on your computer. Your Chromebook encrypts all this
data using tamper-resistant hardware, making it very difficult for anyone to
access those files.
If anything goes wrong with your Chromebook you can simply push a button to
enter the hardware-backed recovery mode and restore the operating system to a
known good version.
With Guest Mode, you can let friends use your Chromebook without signing in.
They can use the web freely, but they won't be able to access your email or
other data. And once they sign off, all their browsing data is permanently
erased from your computer.
The Chromebook has also reduced concerns about security and data loss by moving
everything to the cloud. If the Chromebook is ever broken or lost, all of your
files are saved online.