Google Chromebooks from Samsung and Acer have been heavily discounted for the Christmas market
Google Chromebooks are being heavily discounted to $299 (£191) in the run up to Christmas, as manufacturers seek to remind people about the devices amid all the coverage of tablets and ultrabooks.
Google Chromebooks are essentially notebooks that run the lightweight Chrome Operating System, which is designed for powering web applications through the Chrome browser.
Google introduced the Chrome notebooks from Samsung and Acer at the Google I/O developer conference last May as speedy machines that boot up in less than eight seconds and power down in less than that.
The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook was launched with a price tag of $429 (£274) for the Wi-Fi-only model, whereas the WiFi+3G model cost $499 (£318). Acer’s Acer AC700 Chromebook cost $349 (£223) at launch. The new $299 (£191) price point is for the Wi-Fi versions only.
The Series 5 was originally launched in titan silver and arctic white. Samsung is now selling a black version of its Wi-Fi only Samsung Chromebook Series 5 for $349 (£223), a notebook that is currently available to American users only.
Though Google positioned the price cuts as holiday discounts in a blog post, the cuts also may signal that Chromebooks aren’t selling as strongly as the OEMs and Google would have liked. Recall that Logitech slashed the price of its Google TV Revue companion box from $299 (£191) to $249 (£159) before its most recent $99 (£63) fire sale en route to discontinuing the product.
Google is trying to punch up interest. The search engine giant is inviting potential customers to test Chromebooks at the Samsung Experience in New York City and has tapped Virgin America to let travellers on four different flight routes check out and use Samsung Series 5 Chromebooks paired with complimentary Wi-Fi access free for the duration of their flight.
Folks who fly Virgin America from San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth or Boston can “check out” a Series 5 Chromebook from a so-called “Chrome Zone” near their departure gate.
Meanwhile, Chromebooks and the rest of the Chrome ecosystem are getting upgrades. Google refreshed the Chromebook operating system – which, like the Chrome browser, gets upgraded every six weeks. Google claims Chromebooks now sport a new log-in experience.
Moreover, Google refreshed the New Tab page in Chrome to make it easier for users to access and manage applications and bookmarks; these include shortcuts to the File Manager on Chromebooks and to music applications and games in the Chrome Web Store.