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Chromebooks drop to $299, gain Chrome OS update

Nov 21, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Google announced that the Wi-Fi only version of the Samsung and Acer Chromebooks, including a newly announced black version of the Samsung Chromebook, will drop $50 in price to $300. Google also released updated firmware for the Chromebooks' Chrome operating system, featuring a new login page and a revamped New Tab page that offers new shortcuts.

Acer reportedly revealed in November that it had sold only 5,000 Acer AC700 Chromebooks, and Samsung was rumored to be struggling with its own Samsung Chromebooks. Now, Google and its two Chrome OS hardware partners are betting on price cuts to jump-start the notebooks for the holidays.

Previously available for $350, the Wi-Fi only versions of the 11.6-inch Acer AC700 and 12.1-inch Samsung Chromebook will drop to $300, says Google. The company also announced that Samsung has begun shipping a black version (pictured below) of its Wi-Fi only Samsung Chromebook model that will join the existing white model.

New piano black version of the Wi-Fi only Samsung Chromebook

It was unclear whether the $50 price cut will apply to the 3G versions, which have been priced at $400 along with a Verizon data plan. These may well now be discounted to $350, but we'll have to wait and see.

Google also announced that the notebooks' Linux-based, cloud-oriented Chrome OS platform has been updated with a "fresh, clean" login page and a revamped New Tab page. The latter makes it easier to manage apps, bookmarks, and most visited sites, with the addition of some new shortcuts, says Google. These are said to include a shortcut to the File Manager, as well as to music apps and games in the Chrome Web Store.

The update follows a late October revamp of the Chrome Web Store, adding an improved UI and easier installation, according to Google.


Google introduced the Acer AC700 Chromebook and Samsung's Series 5 Chromebook May 11 at the Google I/O developer event in San Francisco. Samsung began shipping its Series 5 system in mid June priced at $430 for the Wi-Fi-only model and $500 for the 3G version, while Acer shipped its Wi-Fi only AC700 (pictured at left) later that month for $350. A 3G version followed later. All the Chromebooks are powered by a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N570 dual-core processor.

Beyond developers gambling that Google's web-based operating system will eventually gain ground as cloud computing becomes more accepted, the Chromebooks are finding few early adopters. The $350 prices stood out even more starkly compared to cheaper N570-based netbooks because the Chromebooks are by design limited in features.

The new $300 price brings the Chromebooks closer to a typical netbook like the 10.1-inch $280 Acer Aspire One AOD255E-1643. However, the Chrombooks lack hard disk drives and other features available as standard options on the Aspire One and other netbooks. The Chromebooks instead rely on cloud storage.

The Chromebooks do offer at least two qualities that even Linux netbooks can't come close to matching, claims Google. These are said to include easy, almost nonexistent set-up, and eight second boot-up.


At the time of writing, the new $300 prices for the Samsung and Acer Chromebooks had yet to register on Google's Chromebook retail partner sites:, Best Buy, and Tiger Direct.

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