Move over netbooks and laptops: here comes the Chromebook. While Google's Android operating system is starting to be adopted by tablets and some times even hybrid netbook/tablets, Google has other plans for the affordable PC market with its Chrome platform.
It was originally released as a web browser, but Google is now evolving Chrome into a computing platform.
With Chrome, your computer doesn't work like a regular computer, with your applications and data loaded on the local hard disk drive. Instead, Chromebooks work like a browser, which access applications and data on the internet.
What that means is that Chromebooks boot up fast - eight seconds, according to Google - and resume instantly. Once up and running, you log into a host of Google services on the Web, like e-mail, office applications, photo galleries and so on.
That means you never lose any of your data, even if you lose your Chromebook. You can also log in from any Chromebook. The biggest problem is that you need to be always online to use the Chromebooks, which come with built-in Wi-Fi and 3G for this purpose.
The first two Chromebooks have been unveiled and will come in the form of a 12.1-inch model from Samsung and an 11.6-inch model from Acer. Both will feature Intel Atom Dual-core processors and more than six hours of battery life.
The Chromebooks will be available from June. Pricing has yet to be set, but expect to pay around the same as for netbook.
Pros: you never lose any of your data and software, boots fast, long battery life
Cons: you must be always online to access your data