The Chromebook was only released last night, but according to some industry analysts it might mark the beginning of something massive, which could turn the tech industry upside down and change the fortunes of a few behemoths like Microsoft and IBM.
(1) According to Google, Chromebook defines a new category of portable devices, all of which sport the new Chrome OS platform. The core feature of Chrome OS is that everything is web-based and revolves around the Chrome web browser. The main advantage over a traditional OS is that it cuts down on maintenance and, in theory, improves boot time and security.
(2) Although the first Chromebooks resemble traditional ultra portable, Windows-based laptops, there are some differences. The keyboard, for a start, has dedicated buttons for the OS itself, the search and the trackpad doesn't have dual buttons (which means that a prospective Chrome OS mouse would be similar to Apple's). There's also dedicated hardware to encrypt your data and to recover anything that might be lost.
(3) Like the Nexus, Google will be selling the Chromebook online directly from the 15th of June. Other third party manufacturers like Samsung and Acer will also sell Chromebooks via the usual retailers (Amazon, Best Buy, Dixons etc). You can expect other manufacturers like Asus or Dell to offer Chromebooks in the future.
(4) Chromebooks are initially bound to be more expensive than normal bog standard x86-based laptops because of higher manufacturing costs generally linked to smaller volumes. This may impede the platform's success until ARM-based netbooks similar to the Toshiba AC100 are released.