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At $249, new Google Chromebook aims to undercut Macs and PCs on price

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(Read caption) The new Google Chromebook, which is manufactured by Samsung.

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Google this week took the wraps off a pair of ultralight Chromebook computers, both of which will be manufactured by Samsung and outfitted with the Chrome operating system – not Mac OS or Windows. The newest Chromebook is set to ship at two price points: $249 for a Wi-Fi-only edition and $329 for a 3G version.

The Wi-Fi Chromebook goes on sale Monday at a range of retailers, including BestBuy and Staples. The 3G Chromebook, meanwhile, will likely launch a week later; you can pre-order the device at Newegg.com, Amazon, and the Samsung Website. 

The Chromebook gets an 11.6-inch screen – roughly on par with the smaller MacBook Air – a 16GB solid-state hard drive, a pair of USB ports, and a listed weight of 2.43 pounds. (The 11-inch Macbook Air, by comparison, weighs 2.38 pounds.) Users will get a bunch of free Google Drive storage and automatic updates for the Chrome OS. So how does the latest Chromebook stack up to its competitors? 

Well, over at Computerworld, JR Raphael praises the "cloud-centric" operating system on the Wi-Fi Chromebook. 

"Chrome OS eliminates the hassles of manually updating applications over time; the platform's Web-based apps all update seamlessly on their own, just like the OS," Raphael writes. "You don't have to deal with messy drivers and software conflicts or worry about virus protection, either. And thanks to the nature of the software setup, Chromebooks don't get gunked up and slowed down over time, as more traditional PCs frequently do."

And at Engadget, Myriam Joire calls the Chromebook "a phenomenal device for the price. If you're used to working in the cloud, you're basically getting 80 percent of the entry-level MacBook Air experience for a quarter of the price. Factor in the Google Now integration and 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years and this latest Chromebook is a winner." 

Thinking about picking up a Chromebook? Drop us a line in the comments section. And to receive regular updates on how technology intersects daily life, follow the Horizons team on Twitter @venturenaut.


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