Google, in partnership with Samsung, recently launched its Chromebook and desktop Chromebox. The “Chromebox” is the first time that Google is installing the ChromeOS on a desktop machine, and is reminiscent of a Mac Mini, only with more ports.
The Chromebox is priced at a reasonable US$329. While PC enthusiasts may not be ready to move away from a Windows machine, it seems like something like this would be ideal for a business that runs a physical location with public computers. The cheap price-tag aside, imagine the cost benefits from not having to worry about system maintenance or users installing malware — ChromeOS is, after all, just a web browser. Google themselves boasts a number of ChromeOS success stories, including the savings per device amounting to US$4,500.
This latest update features a more Windows-like version of the ChromeOS for release. The features are termed as an “app-centric user interface” with a traditional windows manager, a jump from the previous single browser versions. The interface will be the default on the new ChromeOS devices and replace the current browser on existing Chromebooks.
Coinciding with this release is Google’s new pricing for business and education management and support services. The current rates pay a one time fee of US$150 while schools pay US$30 per device to use the management console, 24/7 phone support and extended hardware warranty. Previously, Google sold the support package as a monthly subscription. One of the most anticipated features for ChromeOS would be offline Google Docs support.
As for the Chromebook, the most important change is its faster speed. The earlier versions used the Intel Atom chip and the latest version now uses the Intel Core chip together with 4GB of RAM, a high def camera, two USB 2.0 ports and 1280 by 800 display. The pricing of the WiFi only version starts at US$449.