Colin Charles Agenda

Chromebooks in Malaysia via YES4G

The Chromebooks have arrived in Malaysia: The World’s First Samsung 4G Chromebook. They come with WiFi and a WiMaX chip so you connect to YES4G (up to 20Mbps speed on this network). They retail for RM1,299 (USD$419) or RM988 (USD$318) with a 24-month contract that costs RM88 with 3.5GB of data transfer (exceed the quota and you get free data usage at a reduced speed).

In the USA, the Samsung Chromebook with 3G retails for USD$329 while the Samsung Chromebook WiFi retails for USD$249.

I’m not sure why YTL has jacked up the price so much. There is no way that a WiMaX chip costs so much more compared to the 3G chip. There is already a $80 premium in the USA to get 3G (something you can use on any network – Maxis, DiGi, Celcom, etc.). Why does the WiMaX chip cost $90 more than the 3G model (total for the privilege of WiMaX: USD$170 – RM527!). Keep in mind that this extra means you only are mobile where the YES4G network is available (which is not everywhere, compared to the 3G networks in Malaysia).

Next up: LTE is here. Speeds exceed 20Mbps easily. Maxis and Celcom are already providing devices, including portable WiFi hotspots (MiFi devices). You can also tether your devices easily.

To add: there is likely a new Samsung Chrombook in the works. If it can keep the same price point and get a lot more power, it could be very interesting. The current Chromebook went on sale at Amazon in October 2012 (so some 7+ months ago). A refresh is definitely around the corner, though that shouldn’t stop anyone from buying one (it certainly won’t stop me).

My verdict? Buy a Chromebook with WiFi only. WiFi is everywhere these days. I don’t think the premium for connecting to the YES network makes sense. Real problem? These devices aren’t sold outright in Malaysia in any official capacity which I see as a problem.

Update: With 100GB free “cloud storage”, and only 16GB local storage, one would presume that you would use the cloud a lot for things. Music and videos will have to be streamed. Can you live with 3.5GB of data transfer (this is uploads and downloads)? Will you ever really get to use your Google Drive to its potential?