Chromebooks to hit Australia before Christmas


The two foundation manufacturers which search giant Google has signed up to sell hardware running its fledgling Chrome OS platform have pledged to bring the devices to Australia in the second half of this year — although Australians have a while yet to wait for information on exact availability, linked 3G mobile broadband plans and pricing details.

Overnight at its I/O conference in the US, Google finally announced — after several years of developing and demonstrating the new operating system — that Chrome OS would hit the market through new laptops built by Korean manufacturer Samsung and Taiwanese manufactuer Acer, with the devices to go on sale from the middle of June starting from US$349. The video above by Engadget features a demonstration of the Samsung model.

Unlike traditional laptops or even the lighter, smaller breed of netbooks, the Chromebooks are designed to be constantly used with the internet — with data and even most applications to be stored online and used through modern cloud computing techniques — as opposed to run from the machines’ hard drive. Chrome OS itself is based on the open source Linux operating system. Google is also offering enterprise pricing for the devices on a rental model.

In separate statements, Acer and Samsung this afternoon made it clear that Australia was on their release lists — despite the fact that the nation wasn’t mentioned during Google’s event.

“Samsung Electronics Australia is planning to launch the Samsung Chromebook in the second half of 2011,” a company spokesperson said. “We look forward to sharing further details closer to launch.”

For its part, an Acer spokesperson said the company’s own offering would launch in “mid to late quarter 3” of 2011, confirming that the device would be enabled for 3G mobile broadband, but that the design and functionality was to be “managed by Google”.

Opinions are divided as to whether Chrome OS will become a mainstream platform as Google’s Android system has for mobile phones, or whether it will remain a niche offering. Since Google first outed the new operating system in 2009, the laptop market has changed dramatically, with much of the global interest in netbook devices being subsumed into the burgeoning tablet market let by Apple’s iPad.


  1. Meh indeed, I’m waiting for my bonus then I’ll get a netbook, forget this strapped to the internet to do anything silliness.

  2. I want these for my users. We already have Citrix doing everything, same price as a Wyse thin client(outright, not contract), but the user can feel special because they have a laptop and i can get away from the awful management systems for the multitude of thin clients i have to manage.

    +1 ‘ere ‘ere..

  3. I like the idea, but the price needs to be lower, and they need a way of keeping less-internet-exposed users, well, connected. If they’re around $400 the point of it becomes smaller.

    That said, anything officy I do is always when I’m connected to the internet, and as a uni student this might have great practical worth provided the 3G plans are good, and a better alternative does not present itself – although knowing me I’d much rather spend $300 on heaps of video games that I’ve been missing out on.

      • Google have already said that Android and Chrome will converge at some point whether that is 5, 10 or 20 years from now. Today we DO still need computers whether desktop or laptop and that’s why we have ChromeOS.

        • True … but for my purposes, and I would wager those of most organisations, ChromeOS =/ computer. It’s more akin to a mobile operating system — very limited. Apple is clearly merging its two platforms, iOS and Mac OS X (although iOS is based on Mac OS X, of course), in a much faster way than Google is. My gut tells me that Google won’t get anywhere with ChromeOS. There will always be one more specialised application which requires a footprint on the hard drive …

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