Google, Samsung to sell newChromebook for $249

Posted: October 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

Google is dangling a low-priced
laptop computer in front of consumers as rivals
Microsoft and Apple prepare to release their
latest gadgets. The lightweight computer
unveiled on Thursday will sell for $249 and is
being made in a partnership with Samsung
Electronics, which also makes smartphones and
tablet computers that run on Google’s Android
software. The laptop will run on an operating
system revolving around Google’s Chrome
Web browser.
Like other Chromebooks, this laptop doesn’t
have a hard drive. It functions like a terminal
dependent on an Internet connection to get to
information and applications stored in large data
centers run by Google or other technology
providers. It’s the least expensive Chromebook
that Google has released in the two years that it
has been working on the product line. Google
and Samsung released a slightly more
sophisticated Chromebook priced at $449 in the
late spring.
The lower-priced model will go on sale early
next week in more than 500 Best Buy stores in
the US, as well as on various websites. Google
hopes to begin accepting online orders at its
Play store by this weekend. Google appears to
be trying to beat Microsoft and Apple to the
punch with the discount Chromebook.
Microsoft is poised to release Windows 8, a
dramatic makeover of its famous operating
system, on October 26. The long-awaited
makeover is designed to run on touch-based
tablets, as well as laptop and desktop
computers. A variety of manufacturers will be
selling a hodgepodge of Windows 8-powered
personal computers and tablets. The prices of
most of those machines, including a tablet
made by Microsoft, will range from $500 to
$1,000.
Apple says it plans to show off a new product
on Tuesday. The event is widely expected to be
the coming-out party for a slightly smaller
version of its hot-selling iPad. The mini iPad is
expected to feature a 7.85-inch screen
compared to the nearly 10-inch screen of the
pioneering iPad. Industry analysts expect Apple
to price a smaller iPad in the $249 to $299
range in an effort to siphon sales away from
other scaled-down tablets, such as Google’s
Nexus 7 and Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire.
Now, Google has a laptop vying for a piece of
the same market.
“This is a big step in the journey for us,” said
Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of
Chrome and apps. “I think it’s generally an
exciting time in the computing industry.”
Like tablets, the discount Chromebook will rely
on a computer chip design known as ARM,
instead of Intel microprocessors. The ARM
architecture is more energy efficient, extending
the duration of batteries between charges. With
an 11.6-inch screen, the new Chromebooks also
will have a larger display than tablets selling in
the same price range.
The laptops will be set up to automatically use
all of Google’s services, including its search
engine, Gmail and YouTube video site. Because
the laptop lacks a hard drive, Google also is
offering 100 gigabytes of free storage on
computers kept in its eight data centers. Those
remote computers provide the backbone for
Google’s online storage service, Drive.
Despite the low price, the new Chromebook will
face a tough time winning over consumers
because it isn’t set up like a traditional PC with a
hard drive, said Gartner analyst Carolina
Milanesi.
“A lot of people are going to see it and think,
‘Once I have it, what exactly do I do with it?'”
Milanesi predicted.
Google, which is based in Mountain View,
California, will try to educate and woo
prospective buyers by setting up Chromebook
kiosks in Best Buy stores where staff will be on
hand to field questions. The company also will
promote the new Chromebook in television
ads.
The attempt to grab a few early headlines
Thursday backfired, though, when Google
prematurely released its third-quarter earnings
while the company was providing a preview of
the low-priced Chromebook to a group of
reporters. Once the earnings slipped out, some
reporters bolted from the laptop presentation to
focus on numbers that disappointed investors

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