Today was supposed to be the day Google's first two Chrome OS Chromebooks entered the world. That scheduled launch, however, is only coming half true.
Back at Google's I/O conference in May, as you may recall, executives said a model from Samsung and a model from Acer would both go on sale on June 15. The Samsung Chromebook is out and available, as scheduled -- but the Acer Chromebook is mysteriously missing in action.
The Acer ChromebookThere's a reason for the absence: I've just confirmed with Acer that its Chromebook will not ship as scheduled today. A spokesperson for the company tells me the device will launch sometime this month, though no formal date has been determined.
Behind the scenes, the Acer Chromebook situation had been looking iffy for a while now. Both Acer and Samsung were supposed to provide demo units for my Chrome OS and Chromebook review, but while Samsung shipped its model to me early last week, Acer stayed vague as to when its unit would be ready.
Stranger yet, when seeking out firm pricing info on the Acer Chromebook, I discovered those details were conspicuously absent from all press materials. Even Best Buy's website, where a presale was underway, listed only information about Samsung's model. Amazon listed both companies' computers in its presale but, with Acer's model, had pricing that didn't match the figures we'd heard in Google's original announcement: Amazon had the Acer Chromebook listed at $379.99 for a Wi-Fi-only edition and $449.99 for a 3G-ready system; the original announcement quoted the notebook as being available for "$349 and up."
An Acer spokesperson told me the "anticipated MSRP" was $349.99 for Wi-Fi and $429.99 for 3G. When I asked about the odd discrepancy with Amazon's listings, she said she expected Amazon to update its price "in the next day or so." (That was on Monday; as of the time of this publication, Amazon's price -- still listed as pre-order-only -- remains unchanged.)
Perhaps oddest of all, when trying to confirm the name of Acer's Chromebook, I discovered that Amazon had it listed as the "Acer Cromia Chromebook." My sharp-eyed editor, Barbara Krasnoff, noticed that name had not been used anywhere else -- so I reached out to Acer again to confirm what the product was going to be called.
The answer: Acer was "still confirming" the official name. This was yesterday -- the day before the product was scheduled to launch. As you might imagine, we started to get quite skeptical at that point as to whether the product would meet its deadline.
So now it's official: Acer's Chromebook won't arrive today. I've asked the company for additional info about what's causing the delay and am awaiting a response. Representatives from Google were not immediately available to comment.
If and when I hear anything more, I'll update this page with the info.
UPDATE #1 [6/15/11 3:20 p.m. ET]: A Google spokesperson could only tell me that the Acer units were now available for presale. Any more specific details, she said, would have to come from Acer.
UPDATE #2 [6/15/11 6:20 p.m. ET]: Acer has just informed me that its Chromebook will now be called the "Acer AC700." A spokesperson also notes that Amazon has adjusted its pricing to reflect the lower ($349.99/$429.99) figures. As for timing, Acer maintains that the presale is underway but can only say that the device will ship sometime this month.
Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.