June 10, 2011 at 12:44 PM ET
Google's Chromebook laptops are now available for pre-order from either Amazon.com or Best Buy. The laptops, made by Samsung and Acer, start at $379.99 with the most expensive of the six models at $499.99. They'll be shipped starting June 15.
The minimalist Chromebook, which uses Google's Chrome operating system, has an 8-second boot-up time and lots of other promising features for those who aren't looking to store gigabytes of data on their laptops. Chromebooks are "not typical notebooks," wrote Linus Upson, Google's v-p of engineering and Sundar Pichai, Chrome senior vice president, on a blog:
With a Chromebook you won’t wait minutes for your computer to boot and browser to start. You’ll be reading your email in seconds. Thanks to automatic updates the software on your Chromebook will get faster over time. Your apps, games, photos, music, movies and documents will be accessible wherever you are and you won't need to worry about losing your computer or forgetting to back up files. Chromebooks will last a day of use on a single charge, so you don’t need to carry a power cord everywhere. And with optional 3G, just like your phone, you’ll have the web when you need it. Chromebooks have many layers of security built in so there is no anti-virus software to buy and maintain. Even more importantly, you won't spend hours fighting your computer to set it up and keep it up to date.
Pricing on the Chromebooks is comparable to that of many Windows netbooks. Google is also offering to lease the Chromebook to students for $20 a month and $28 a month to business users over a three-year period.
One of the higher-end Chromebooks, Samsung's Series 5 Arctic White 3G Model ($499.99 on Amazon), has a 12.1-inch screen, 2 GB memory, 16 GB flash drive and uses Intel's Atom Processor N570. (Msnbc.com's Wilson Rothman will be reviewing Samsung's Chromebook soon).
You can learn more about the Chromebooks here.