Samsung's Latest Models Could SIgnal Boosted Focus on Chromebooks
How focused has Samsung recently become on Chromebooks--portable computers that run Google's cloud-centric Chrome OS? According to a recent report in DigiTimes, after cutting its targets for notebook computer sales, the company may have plans to "no longer launch conventional notebook models except Chromebooks in 2015, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers." Back in October 2012, we were reporting on how Samsung was going all in on inexpensive Chromebooks. The company has steadily offered under-$300 models, and gotten good reviews for them.
This week, though, Samsung revealed higher-end plans for Chromebooks that look, well, pretty attractive. The company launched the Chromebook 2, with a powerful ARM processor and the option of a full HD screen. The processor inside is a speedy 2.1-GHz Exynos 5 octa-core processor, and these Chromebooks come with the same faux-leather backing that some Samsung phablets have.
The Chromebook 2 is available with two display options: an 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 display for $32, or a 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 Full HD display for $400. Note that those prices are well above the $200 to $250 price points that have represented sweet spots for Chromebooks.
Samsung hasn't skimped on internals, either. For example, cheaper Chromebooks come with only 2GB of RAM, and RAM is increasingly impactful on how fast applications run. Samsung's new Chromebooks offer 4GB of DDR3 memory, 16 GB of embedded flash storage, a 720p Webcam, and HDMI out, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 ports.
When it comes to incentives, Samsung has also made it a practice to make Chromebook purchases attractive for buyers. There have been several types of freebies, but among the significant ones, with a new Samsung Chromebook purchase users have typically gotten 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years (valued at almost $120). You get that with the new Chromeboook 2 offerings.
It's not yet clear if Samsung will focus exclusively on Chromebooks, but it is making bigger and bigger bets on them. The latest models are impressive, and come at what look like very fair prices.