When Google announced its new Samsung-built 11.6-inch Chromebook Thursday critics noted the new mobile PC won't support 3G or 4G. But for road warriors who want baked-in cellular connectivity, it appears Google will in fact supply a 3G version of the new browser-in-a-box priced at $330, an extra $80 over the Wi-Fi-only price.
The 3G version is available on Amazon and Newegg at this time. Best Buy and Tiger Direct, the two other retailers tapped to carry the new Chromebook, don't appear to be carrying the device. Newegg lists October 31 as the release date for the 3G version.
The two devices appear to have the same specs, including an 11.6-inch screen with 1366 by 768 resolution, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, one each USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 port, HDMI out, a Webcam, and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. Google is also offering new Chromebook buyers 12 free Gogo inflight passes and 100GB of Google Drive storage for two years. Based on Google’s current pricing, 100GB on Google Drive would cost you $60 per year after the freebie period.
The big difference between the Wi-Fi-only and built-in 3G version, other than connectivity options, may be the processor, but that is not clear. Both laptops have an ARM-based dual-core 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos chip, but according to Amazon’s listings the Wi-Fi-only version uses the Exynos 5250, while the 3G model has an Exynos 4210. That may be a misprint as Samsung’s site lists the Exynos 4 line as maxing out at 1.2GHz. Both Exynos chips are dual-core processors, but the 5250 uses the newer Cortex A15 architecture, while the 4210 is based on the Cortex A9.
The 3G-enabled version of Samsung’s Chromebook appearing on Amazon was first reported by The Verge.