We saw the test machines hit the streets a few months ago and it seems that Google is ready to launch into the main stream on June 15th. We think that the Chromebook is in a tough spot, competing with tablets as secondary devices and with netbooks which have a full operating system.
You can either go for the-slim 0.79-inch thin, 12.1″ Samsung Series 5, or the lighter 11.6″ Acer at 2.95 lbs, but other than cosmetic differences, both netbooks are quite similar under the hood.
The Chromebook is shifting the usage model by inegrating with Google’s “cloud” online services and has almost no capacity to store information. Instead, the bare-bones operating system is essentially a web browser that steers users to applications like email and spreadsheets directly on the web, rather than storing software such as Outlook or Word directly on PCs.
For something like this to work we are going to need the guarantee of being constantly connected to the internet. Which is why the slightly more expensive worldwide 3G option comes with free, 100 MB per month of mobile broadband from Verizon for two years.
But we have to ask our selves are google services going to be enough to loor us away from tablets and netbooks with full operating sytstem? Google is moving directly onto Microsoft’s home turf of PC operating systems and the Office suite software. Until Google has not directly competed against Bill Gates’s company on its strongest areas, focusing instead on internet areas such as search and webmail and online document services.
The Chromebooks shift day-to-day functions onto the internet, removing what Google sees as the time-consuming burden of tasks associated with traditional PCs such as installing software and updates, backing up files and running antivirus checks.
The other area that the Chromebook is competing against is the tablet. The first question most people ask me is “Aren’t netbook’s dead” seeing as numbers are steady in Asia which will end us being a larger market for the devices in the long term. Tablets are however competing with Netbooks as a secondary portable device and they are often winning as productivity while being portable is where netbooks clearly win. The Chromebook is banking on this but combining the experience with application that one would basically find on a tablet doesn’t seem competitive against a the full operating with its robust applications which Windows offers?
To me it comes down to price, the Chromebook currently isn’t cheaper then netbooks. Its the same price without a hard drive, so with out this hardware one would expect the price to be lower. For my money a limited experience, as robust as Google’s services might be, can’t compete with the flexibility of a full operating system, especially if you wanted limited, you’d just get a tablet!
The Wi-Fi-only Acer starts at $349, with the price for the 3G worldwide model yet to be announced. The Samsung with Wi-Fi will cost $429, while the worldwide 3G version will set you back $499. If you ask me $is on par with full notebooks, they aren’t portable but they sure give you more bang for your buck! If you ask me the Chromebook is going to have to drop into the $250-$300 range if they want to take on the and Microsoft!!