I see I can buy a Google Chromebook laptop (11.6" screen) for around £120 (GBP) which has a fast SSD drive, if only 16GB. But the operating system is Google Chrome OS, which I believe is a proprietary version of Linux. Is there any reasonably priced audio recording software which could be used on this machine. (One advantage of the Chromebook is a long battery life, as I understand it. Could be handy when away from mains power and recording audio.
Chromebooks are designed to use web applications, which delegate a lot of the work to other systems and computers that are located somewhere else. Because of this, Chromebooks are very limited in power, but also very cheap and light.
With that in mind, you should be looking for online solutions (web applications) for audio recording. Some examples are:
You can try them with any system and check if they are enough for your needs.
I advice you against installing Linux in a Chromebook, at least in this scenario. Audio recording and processing uses a lot of resources, which Chromebooks lack. Even if you are running Linux, you'd still have little memory, and little everything else. You will reach the walls very soon, and you won't be able to achieve much.
If you find that web applications are not making the cut, consider getting a Windows-based or OS X-based system, with specs aimed for audio production.