Google And Acer Debut $199 C7 Chromebook, Leave Us Wondering How Low They Can Go

Google and Samsung recently unveiled a $249 Chromebook, which seemed like a new pricing floor for a capable, light computer that’s designed for users who spend most of their computing time on the web. Today, Google announced the new Acer C7 Chromebook on its website, which ups the ante (while lowering some specs) with a $50 cheaper Chrome OS notebook which also features an 11.6-inch display, but also boasts an Intel Core processor and a 320 GB hard drive.

The Acer Chromebook might appear more to the traditionalists out there looking for a Chrome OS-based notebook computer, since the Samsung Chromebook is a ARM-based computer that also has extremely limited onboard storage, which it supplements by shipping with 100GB of free Google Drive space. The $199 C7 also comes with that cloud storage, but has a platter drive, too, and takes a hit on battery life (eking out only 3.5 hours, compared to around 6.5 for the Samsung Chromebook).

The computer is also slightly bulkier than its $250 sibling, at 1 inch thick and weighing 3 lbs, compared to just 0.7-inches and 2.4 lbs for the Samsung. As for ports, it has HDMI and VGA out, along with three USB 2.0 ports (no high speed here), an audio/input 3.5 mm jack and an Ethernet port for wired networking. It has dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity, and an HD camera for video communications.

I’ve shared my opinion that Google’s goal with its branded device collaboration projects is to get more eyeballs on its products by providing cheap, capable devices with Internet connectivity that works across a wide variety of geographies, and this netbook-inspired Chromebook is a perfect example. It’s not going to get anyone necessarily all that excited, but it’s a practical design that offers everything needed for a decent Internet experience in a very affordable package.

The C7 goes on sale tomorrow in the U.S., on Google Play and Best Buy’s website, and in the U.K. on Google Play, Amazon UK, PC World and Curry’s. Google promises to bring it to more countries in the near future.