Acer has started shipping its WiFi-enabled Chromebook at US$349.00. A 3G model will follow. By Ian Scales
Acer has followed Samsung into the Chrome OS market with the slightly (no, very) boringly entitled AC700 laptop. However, Acer has gone for a more budget-priced approach, at US$349.00, than Samsung, a trend that must be continued if the Chrome OS computers are to find a viable niche.
Trying to sell a slimmed down computer that does less (just browsing, but does it cleverly) will only work if there's a real price break on the table as well (otherwise, why not buy a conventional netbook with a Chrome browser and have the option to run native applications?). At this price, and with time and volume kicking in to knock another US100 off the retail price, then the Chromebook might have a chance.
The AC700 has a 11.6-inch screen and runs Intel's Atom N570 netbook processor. This version is Wi-Fi only but an AC700 with 3G capabilities is being promised for mid-August in the US.
As well as pricing, there are a few advantages to the Chromebook approach. This example, for instance, boots up in around 10 seconds and can run for up to six hours with a six-cell battery - a big advantage for those of us used to a shoulder-sagging laptop which starts to demand AC power after an hour or two of use. It weighs around 1.34 kilograms (2.95 pounds) and is an inch thick.
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