Google has unveiled the first Chrome OS laptop, the Samsung Series 5. The 'Chromebook' will be available for purchase in the UK on 24 June.
Chrome OS is Google's cloud-based operating system. Chromebooks will run all of your software on the Web.
Acer is also making Chromebooks. The first Chrome computers will arrive in the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands in June. Google will offer discounted Chromebook packages to schools and businesses.
The 12.1-inch Samsung Series 5 packs a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N570 dual-core processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM and 16GB of storage. The battery will last 8.5 hours, and the whole shebang weighs around 1.4kg. It sports two USB slots, an SD card slot and space to bung in a SIM card for 3G connectivity when there's no Wi-Fi about.
The computer will start up in under 10 seconds and wake from sleep almost instantly. Indeed, one of the main selling points of Chrome OS is that, because you work online, you don't have a computer full of software slowing things down. Google also reckons that cloud computing gets rid of the danger of viruses and spyware installing themselves on your computer.
Below is a handy video that explains the Chrome OS concept in words of few syllables.
We particularly like the part in the video where Google claims you can use the Chromebook on a train or boat. Good luck getting a data connection while riding the rails or sailing the seven seas -- some train operators offer Wi-Fi, but most don't, and neither do most boats that we've come across.
That's the problem with the Chromebook concept -- it requires a decent Web connection. That's all very well in Silicon Valley, but what about the Rhondda Valley? There are still plenty of places in Britain and around the world that don't have a decent Internet connection.
The Samsung Chromebook will be available from Amazon and PC World. The 3G and Wi-Fi model will cost around £400, and the Wi-Fi-only model £350.
Are you ready to live your life in the cloud? When Google first announced Chrome OS, we questioned whether the world and his wife was ready to wave goodbye to Windows. A couple of years down the line, though, and we're used to using an assortment of operating systems and keeping our stuff in the cloud. Tell us whether your think this cloud has a silver lining in the comments section below or on our Facebook wall.