Chromebook: Big Brother to Netbook, Distant 3rd Cousin to Tablet

Samsung’s Series 5 Chromebook hit the shelves Wednesday, selling for US$500 for a 3G version and $430 for a WiFi-only model.

A teardown performed by IHS iSuppli senior analyst Wayne Lam found that the Series 5 Chromebook has hardware attributes commonly found in a full-featured notebook.

The Chromebook Series 5 is “an interesting device because it’s priced like a netbook, but if you look at the construct, it somewhat resembles what Apple’s trying to do with the MacBook Air,” Lam told TechNewsWorld.

The Chromebook Series 5 could initially find it difficult to gain acceptance among users because they may not see how they can use it, Lam suggested.

“It’s a product awaiting the creation of a use case,” Lam said.

That’s similar to a criticism often lobbed at tablets, though some models have proven to be better sellers than others.

What the Series 5 Is Made Of

The Series 5 measures about 0.8 inches high — roughly the same height as a penny stood on edge. It has a 12.1-inch anti-reflective, anti-glare SuperBright display with 300nit brightness. SuperBright is Samsung’s name for its glossy screen.

A “nit” is a measure of luminance, meaning the amount of light that passes through or is emitted from a particular area falling within a given solid angle. It’s used to characterize the brightness of displays. A typical computer display is rated at between 50 nits and 300 nits.

The Series 5 Chromebook weighs 3.3 pounds. It has a battery life of up to 8.5 hours and has an Intel Dual-core Atom N570 processor.

It has 2GB of memory and a 16GB solid state drive.

The device comes with a full-sized Chrome keyboard and an oversized multi-touch trackpad. It starts up in less than 10 seconds, and resumes instantly from standby. It has two USB ports.

Connectivity is provided through 3G, WLAN, and a four-in-one card reader.

The Samsung Chromebook comes bundled with up to 100 MB per month of mobile broadband service from Verizon for two years.

IHS iSuppli’s Teardown

The total hardware cost of the Chromebook Series 5 is just over $334, iSuppli said.

In terms of features and connectivity, the device mostly resembles a value notebook or 3G netbook, iSuppli stated.

However, the Samsung Chromebook includes some advanced hardware features not typically found in low-cost notebooks, iSuppli said.

The motherboard is the device’s single most expensive subsystem, coming in at over $86, or 26 percent, of the total bill of materials cost.

The Chromebook Series 5 has an Infineon Technologies Trusted Platform Module, something more usually seen in enterprise-level computers than in value-priced computing devices, iSuppli pointed out.

Bright Lights, Big Touchpad

1 Comment

  • These ChromeBooks will die sooner then the Netbooks did. But not before some Geeks line up to be one of the first to buy one. It’s a interesting ideal but it relies too much on a connection and locks you into Google’s eco system for the most part. What is the resale going to be on something like this? I mean , no hard drive, no way to really use another OS, Its just a throw away laptop. It would be a decent ideal for someone who wants to be tied to Google, but not at the prices for the ChromeBooks. If they were $350 or less I could see them being worth taking a chance on.

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