Google's Chrome OS is all about thriving in the cloud with as little emphasis as possible placed on the actual hardware needed to get there. Be that as it may, if you're planning on picking up a Samsung Series 5 Chromebook running the Chrome OS, you'll have to fork over $430 for the Wi-Fi only version, or $500 for the 3G model. That's entry-level notebook territory, but before you call shenanigans, let's have a peek at what it costs to build a Chromebook.
According to IHS iSuppli, Samsung's Chromebook carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $322.12. Tack on an additional $12.20 for manufacturing costs and you have a grand total of $334.32 to build a single Chromebook.
"The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is every bit a full-sized notebook PC—just don’t call it that," said Wayne Lam, senior analyst, competitive analysis, at IHS. "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."
And pricey hardware, at that. The most expensive component is the motherboard at $86.73, or 26 percent of the device's total BOM. That also includes the embedded hardware, like the Atom N570 processor and 2GB of DDR3 memory. After that, the next expensive part is the 12.1-inch display at $58, followed by the $48.20 battery back. The 16GB SanDisk SSD is the third least expensive part at $28.