By May 11, 2011

Chrome OS Gets a Huge Update and Chromebooks are Announced at Google I/O 2011

gchrome-notebook Google’s second keynote at it’s developer conference was all about Chrome. The browser got some cool features such as speed improvements, in-app payments and Angry Birds, but all the big news is about the operating system version of Google’s browser. Chrome OS was a definite experiment from Google but this announcement cements in the fact the Chrome OS is here to stay.

For those unfamiliar with Chrome OS, let me fill you in. It basically is an entire operating system based around Chrome. Instant web, 8 second start up, data stored in the cloud and built-in security are just some of the big attractions of Chrome OS but there were some concerns when it was announced; such as could it replace a fully-fledged laptop and would ever catch on.

The Chrome OS beta did have some pretty big omissions but Google has now listened and delivered. The first update announced by Sundar Pichai, the Senior VP of Chrome, is that Chrome OS will be getting a fully fledged file system. Accessed by a tab in the browser, the file system is just like any other, sans the fact that it is in the browser. It recognises document types for quick upload to the cloud, USB sticks and SD cards can be mounted and there is a new preview mode for media such as movies and media. The preview mode can be either in the bottom right hand corner and it remains there while you do other tasks such as email or you make it full screen for your viewing pleasure. As one of the biggest complaints from Beta testers, I am glad to see it added and I would say that this is the biggest feature that could enable migration away from full computers towards Chrome OS.

Chromebooks is the name given to the devices that run Chrome OS. Samsung and Acer will be the first companies to manufacture Chromebooks. Samsung’s device will have a 12.1-inch screen, an 8-hour battery life while weighing in at 1.48 kg. Whereas Acer’s device will have a slightly smaller 11.6-inch display,  6.5-hours of battery life and it is slightly lighter at 1.34 kg. Both of these devices and future Chromebooks will have Intel’s dual-core Atom processor. But before you scream to the rooftops about the lacking processor, remember that there is only a browser running. No heavy lifting is involved so Intel’s Atom processor should be more than up to the job.

I was liking what I was seeing while watching the keynote. I feel like I am the ideal user of Chrome OS as everything I do is on the web; blogging, writing documents, tweeting, gaming, email and of course browsing. All was looking great right up to when they announced prices. Samsung’s Chromebook will be priced at $429 for Wi-Fi only ($499 for 3G version) while Acer’s will start at $349. Rough currency conversion is £260, £305 and £210 respectively. I feel like this is way to much. You can get a Windows machine for around the same price and for Google to succeed with Chrome OS. I feel like if Google priced the Chromebooks betweek £125-£200, it would be the best price for attracting consumers to their platform. Both Chromebooks will be available in the UK on June 15 at PC World and at

Three will be the chosen carrier in the UK for Chromebooks’ 3G connection. I expect data plans and prices will be announced shortly.

Read on for pictures.

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Samsung’s Chromebook


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Acer’s Chromebook



Chrome OS’ File System


Posted by: Patrick



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