We’ve been complaining about the lack of Chromebooks in Australia ever since Google first announced the devices back in May 2011. Our cakeholes can finally shut, with Chromebooks officially going on sale in Australia from today.
Two models will be available in JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores: the $299 Acer Chromebook C7 and the $349 Samsung Chromebook. Google is also promising an HP model in the near future, although a release date hasn’t been announced.
Despite swirling rumours, there are no official plans to sell the high-priced Chromebook Pixel device in Australia at this stage. (It’s worth noting that while the Pixel is being sold through the Play store overseas, locally Chromebooks are a retail-only affair.)
It’s possible to work entirely inside Chrome OS, but whether you find that appealing depends on your working methods. I’ve been testing out the Acer model ahead of the official release, and it’s an appealing device. Given that netbooks are now all but defunct as a market category, Chromebooks fill a useful niche for a basic second machine that powers up fast.
My only real objections are that the battery life is fairly basic (I’ve only reached three and a half hours at best) and that it does work better if you already live largely in Google services. Since I only use Gmail for backup and Drive for occasional shared documents, that’s not exactly me. However, if you’re already a Google devotee in those areas, this could be a very useful platform, especially as a travel machine.
A new computer. Built for the Web [Google Australia Blog]