Samsung's Google Chromebook Cloud Notebook Costs $300-Plus To Make


Samsung's Series 5 Google Chromebook, a cloud-based notebook that runs Google Chrome OS, costs just under $350 to build for a device that will cost users roughly $500.

According to a tear-down report from research firm IHS iSuppli, the Samsung Chromebook carries a bill of materials of $322.12, which hits $334.32 when manufacturing costs are added in.

IHS iSuppli dissected the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook, among the first Google Chromebooks available, and found that the component costs to build a Series 5 Chromebook include a motherboard that runs $86.37; a $58 12.1-inch LCD screen with 1280 by 800 pixels; a $48 7.4-volt lithium ion polymer battery; a 3G module that runs $42; and $28 for SSD storage. The "other" components, including the keyboard and touchpad assemblies and other mechanicals and enclosures total $40.45.

The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook promises 8.5 hours of battery life, a new dual-core Atom processor, 2 GB of memory and a 16 GB solid state drive. The 3G version retails for $499, while the Wi-Fi version is $429. IHS iSuppli said that when torn down, the Google Chromebook closely resembles a notebook or 3G netbook in terms of features and connectivity.

"The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is every bit a full-sized notebook PC -- just don't call it that," Wayne Lam, senior analyst, competitive analysis, at IHS iSuppli, said in a statement. "Featuring Google's Chrome operating software, the Chromebook represents the search giant's first commercial implementation of its Web-centric vision designed to entice users to move away from standalone computers to the network storage medium known as the cloud. But as much as Google would like to de-emphasize the role of user hardware, it is the hardware, in fact, that defines the Chromebook and will determine the success of the platform."

Samsung, along with PC-maker Acer, have signed on to make Google Chromebooks. Earlier this month, Google Chromebooks for both manufacturers were put up for pre-sale. The official release date is today.

Google gave developers a solid look at its Chromebooks last month at its Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

Google channel partners were eager to begin selling the Chromebooks, but, according to Google, they'll have to wait until later this year.

Google and Samsung have positioned the Chromebooks as a cloud-focused notebook that leverage Wi-Fi and 3G to connect to the Web where all data and applications are stored. One goal was to deemphasize the hardware, but IHS iSuppli's analysis found that Samsung paid close attention to the display, the battery pack and the enclosure to ensure the low-cost hardware is substantial.

For enterprise and education Google Chromebooks users, Google will offer a Chromebooks subscription service through which businesses and schools can rent Chromebooks on a three-year refresh cycle, with support, warranty and Web-based management included for a monthly fee of $28 each.

Also for business users, Google is teaming with Citrix and VMware to get business apps working on Chromebooks.