Google's Chromebooks reach Australian shores

Samsung, Acer launch notebooks running Chrome OS

Lightweight Acer and Samsung notebooks running Google's 'cloud' operating system — Chrome OS — are available from today in Australian retailers.

Samsung and Acer have both released so-called 'Chromebooks': laptops that are larger than netbooks but generally more lightweight than many regular notebooks.

Google's Chrome OS centres on the search giant's Chromium browser, with the operating system offering access to the company's full suite of software-as-a-service offerings. Additional applications can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.

Google touts fast boot times, ease of use and security as selling features of Chromebooks. Earlier this month at Pwnium 3, hackers were unable to find a security flaw in the Linux-based Chrome OS.

A number of vendors, including Samsung and Acer have targeted the education market with Chromebooks, with a Google-sponsored study by analyst firm IDC finding that the notebooks reduced support labour by 92 per cent compared to regular desktop PCs and laptops.

Although Chromebooks have local storage, most users are expected to use Google's Drive cloud storage option. 100GB of Google Drive storage for two years is included with purchase of a Chromebook.

Acer's Chromebook will be available for $299 in Australia and runs an Intel Celeron 847 1.1GHZ CPU, accompanied by 2GN of DDR3 RAM. It has an 11.6-inch, 1366x768-pixel display and a 320GB hard drive. The Samsung Chromebook will retail for $349, and according to Google Australia, an HP Chromebook is on its way.

Although Chromebooks have generally been considered low-specced, budget device, Google last month unveiled a high-end model dubbed Chromebook Pixel, which has a 2560x1700-pixel touchscreen display and uses a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor.

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