On Tuesday Google announced the launch of two new 2nd-generation Chrome OS products: the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook laptop and the Samsung Series 3 Chromebox desktop. They're based on Intel Core processors and feature support for hardware accelerated graphics, a built-from-scratch multi-touch trackpad, and a boot time of less than seven seconds.
"This is the next step in our journey toward an always-new computing experience focused on speed, simplicity and security," said Caesar Sengupta, Director of Product Management at Google. "This next-generation hardware from Samsung based on Intel processors and hardware-accelerated software delivers nearly three times the performance of the first-generation Chromebooks. With a new, app-centric user interface rolling out today and thousands of available web apps, we couldn’t be more excited about this evolution."
The Chromebook arrives in two flavors: Wi-Fi only (XE550C22-A01) and Wi-Fi + 3G (XE550C22-H01). The tech specs include a 12.1-inch screen (1280 x 800), a dual-core Intel Celeron 867 processor clocked at 1.3 GHz, 4 GB of SoDIMM RAM, a 16 GB SSD, an integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU, a built-in 1MP HD webcam, 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity, and a battery life of up to 6 hours. Ports include 2 USB 2.0, a 4-in-1 memory card slot, a DP++ port (2560 x 1600), Gigabit Ethernet and more.
The Series 3 Chromebox (XE300M22-A01) can be connected to up to two 30-inch displays simultaneously. It packs a dual-core Intel Celeron B840 processor clocked at 1.9 GHz, 4 GB of SoDIMM RAM, a 16 GB SSD, 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity, Gigabit Ethernet and an Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU. Ports include six USB 2.0, two DP++ display out ports (2560 x 1600) and a combined headphone/microphone jack.
"The new Samsung Series 5 Chromebook and Series 3 Chromebox provide the rapid, convenient and ever-improving computing experience that was so well-received in our first Chromebook," said Todd Bouman, vice president of marketing at Samsung Enterprise Business Division. "As the world’s first Chromebox, the Series 3 provides users with the Chromebook’s ease-of-use in a compact desktop product, which easily integrates with their existing accessories."
Google's blog on Tuesday talks about the updates in Chrome OS including a revamped media player and a built-in photo editor and uploader so that users can easily play and manage personal media collections. Google Drive is now seamlessly integrated with the File Manager and will support offline access with the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks. Google Docs offline support is also rolling out over the next few weeks.
"We’ve released eight stable updates over the past year, adding a number of major features and hundreds of improvements to all Chromebooks through our seamless auto-update mechanism," Google adds. "There’s a lot more on the way, so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the benefits of the (always) new computer."
The company added that it's expanding the Chrome Zone experience centers in the United States, available for hands-on trials in select Best Buy stores in the coming weeks. The new Chromebook and Chromebox can be purchased now through Google's online retail partners in the U.S. and U.K., and in other select countries over the coming weeks.
As for pricing, the Wi-Fi only Samsung Series 5 Chromebook 550 costs $449.99 USD, whereas the Wi-Fi + 3G model costs $549.99 USD. The Chromebox is a mere $329.99 USD.