The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s Vice President of Engineering and Director of Product Management Linus Upson reminded the world about the launch of Google’s Chromebooks last year, and then he unveiled the new Chromebook and the industry’s first Chromebox.
“Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office,” explained Upson in the blog post.
Google partnered with Samsung to produce the Series 5 550 Chromebook starting at $449. It boasts a 12.1-inch 1,280-by-800 display, six hours of battery life, 4 GB RAM, built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11, an optional 3G modem, an HD camera, two USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 memory card slot, and a DisplayPort compatible with HDMI, DVI, VGA.
Samsung manufactures the $329 Chromebox with similar specs as the Series 5 550, but it carries six USB 2.0 ports, a 2x DisplayPort, a DVI single link output, and Bluetooth 3.0 and Kensington key lock compatibly. However, it lacks the 3G modem option and HD camera.
A gallery is available below.
The new Chromebook and Chromebox also feature Intel Core processors that are roughly three times as fast as the first-generation Chromebooks. Moreover, support for hardware-accelerated graphics, a multi-touch trackpad, and an open-source firmware stack allow a more intuitive computing experience.
The Chromebook now boots in less than seven seconds, while its user interface is now app-centric. Users can find and launch apps, tack them for immediate access, and display many at a time, or use them in full-screen mode.
Here are a few more highlights to Google’s new products:
- Get more stuff done, online or offline: With the built-in ability to view Microsoft Office files and dozens of the most common file formats, you can access all your content without the hassle of installing additional software. Google Drive makes it easy to create, store and share with just one click. Drive will be seamlessly integrated with the File Manager and support offline access with the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks. With Google Docs offline support (rolling out over the next few weeks), you can keep working on your documents even when offline and seamlessly sync back up when you re-connect. In addition, there are hundreds of offline-capable web apps in the Chrome Web Store.
- Have more fun: The revamped media player and a built-in photo editor and uploader enable you to easily play and manage your personal media collections. Through the Chrome Web Store, you can access entertainment apps such asGoogle Play, Netflix, Kindle Cloud Reader and Pandora, and thousands of games including popular games like Angry Birds and console titles such asBastion.
- Carry your other computers…inside your Chromebook: With Chrome Remote Desktop Beta, you can now securely connect to your PC or Mac from your Chromebook or Chromebox. With the underlying VP8 technology, it’s almost like you’re in front of your other computers in real time.
Google plans to add more features and “hundreds of improvements” to all Chromebooks through its auto-update mechanism. The company is also expanding its Chrome Zone experience centers to select Best Buy stores in the United States in the coming weeks for those who want to try the new Chromebook and Chromebox, while PC World and Curry stores in the United Kingdom have the products available now.
However, starting today, the Chromebook and Chromebox is available at Google’s online retail partners in the U.S. and U.K., and in other select countries over the coming weeks (strangely, Amazon no longer carries the Acer Chromebooks).