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They’re nearly six months late, but the first systems running Chrome OS, which will henceforth be known as Chromebooks, were showcased Wednesday at Google (NSDQ: GOOG) I/O ahead of their launch on June 15 in the U.S. Here’s a little more information about the systems themselves and what’s in store for the first users to take the Chrome OS plunge.
Samsung’s take on the Chromebook is more like a traditional laptop, with a 12.1-inch display. Most netbooks (Google appears to have banned the word netbook from its promotional material, but that was the original intent for Chrome OS) ship with screens smaller than 12 inches, which means the Samsung Chromebook is a little bit more like an ultraportable notebook. Samsung claims it will get 8.5 hours of battery life (your mileage always varies), and it comes in either a Wi-Fi only for $429 or a 3G-equipped configuration for $499. It doesn’t appear that you’ll have to sign up for an extended contract if you want the 3G version, which is a nice touch.
Acer chose a bit more of a familiar netbook size for its Chromebook, with an 11.6-inch screen. But that screen is HD-capable, which Samsung’s does not appear to be, and Google made sure to emphasize that despite the smaller screen the Acer system still comes with a full-size keyboard. One common complaint about netbooks has been the smaller keyboards, which can make for cramped hands when trying to type anything of significant length. Like Samsung, Acer will offer Wi-Fi-only models as well as 3G-equipped models, although it did not disclose pricing for the 3G models. The Wi-Fi-only Acer model will start at $399.