Chromebooks are lightweight, highly-mobile laptops similar in many ways to netbooks, but are unique because they run Google’s Chrome OS which provides a boost in speed over Windows 7 Starter, which, despite being scaled down compared to other Windows editions, still performs rather clunkily on most netbook hardware.
The Chromebooks are manufactured by both Samsung and Acer, two familiar faces in the laptop and netbook world, and makers of some of the best netbooks such as the sleek Acer Aspire One and the top-of-the-line Samsung NF310. Unlike netbooks, Chromebooks will come in both Wi-Fi and 3G versions. Samsung’s Chromebook is designed with a slightly larger screen (12.1 inches) and HD 1280×800 resolution. Acer’s Chromebook has an 11.6 inch screen. Both versions come equipped with a built-in HD webcam and the standard dual USB 2.0 ports. The Samsung Chromebook will have Mini-VGA display out capability while the Acer version will have HDMI output — something unseen on netbooks to date, only appearing on higher-end laptops.
The Chromebook is able to boot up to a usable state in only 8 seconds, compared to the typical ~45 seconds to over 1 minute required by Windows 7 Starter. In addition, Chromebook users do not have to worry about viruses (or resource-hogging virus protection programs) due to the unique nature of the hardware and software. As of May 2011, Google is also said to be developing desktops using the Chrome OS operating system.