Is it time to consider buying a Chromebook?
When the first Chromebooks came out, they were overpriced, and ran an early version of Google's Chrome OS that was almost useless without an internet connection. However, Chrome has improved dramatically, and now allows offline access to locally stored documents and media files. More significantly, hardware prices have dropped dramatically. Samsung's recently released Chromebook sells for just $249, includes USB 3.0 and HDMI ports, and weighs under 3 pounds. Acer's C7, which is out today, goes for even less: for $199, you get a 3-pound laptop with a 320GB hard drive, 2GB RAM and an Intel Celeron processor; specs that make it theoretically capable of running Windows 7, albeit slowly.
Given their low prices and reasonable specs, are today's Chromebooks worth buying? I'd say yes, though clearly not as a primary computer. But they're great for travel, for kids, or for situations where you don't want to haul out a heavier or more powerful computer, but want something a little more productivity-oriented than a tablet.
That latter point is what I find most intriguing about the Chromebook model. While pundits say that tablets killed the netbook market, there's no shortage of interest in tablets that attempt to function as laptops, such as the Surface RT, Transformer Pad Infinity, or iPads paired with Bluetooth keyboards. Yet the Chromebook undercuts all of those on pricing pretty dramatically, and is designed to work as a laptop from the ground up. Chromebooks may not ever sell as well as iPads, but they may be a big hit in multi-device households, and may well compete successfully with expensive keyboard-equipped tablets like the Surface RT and Infinity.
1. Flash. Yes yes I know flash is suposed to be dying, and it has been removed from modern tablets, but parents go on sites that require it still.
2. Hardware keyboard. I realize again that one can add a keyboard to a tablet, but this just seems easier for them to understand.
I feel this may be an easier-more familiar solution than a tablet, especially when I would probably be the one that has to support them in questions like "how do i print?"
Let's discuss each of those segments:
Pro: Price, looks like a laptop, simple to use
Con: Probably would rather have an iPad but don't want to pay, may end up with a Kindle Fire, if computer illiterate setting up and connecting to the wifi may be a huge issue,
Pro: must get as gift, price, simplicity
Con: probably want an iPad and would rather have any tablet over Chromebook, may have issues downloading Chrome apps
High schoolers need Microsoft Word and Excel, Google docs don't always suffice
People who don't want a tablet:
Pro: Price, love of laptop form factor, portable, but arguably more powerful than tablet
Con: Not interested in cheap laptop wannabe when full laptop can be bought for $400
In general I think Chromebooks are a great idea, but they are late. People love iPads and these Ultrabook convertibles like the Yoga are starting to compete with the laptop/tablet hungry crowd willing to pay for one better device instead of a laptop and a tablet. Two of the above categories don't have smartphones and I'm not sure if Chromebooks really have a use for people who have a smartphone.
The Chrome app store is the real strength of this product and Google needs to do more to promote that similar to how Apple has promoted their App store. Simply telling people this is a cheap way to play/watch Youtube videos is a mistake. Most don't know about free apps that come on the computer, they only know about the dumbass commercial where babies and kids are dancing and supposedly this computer is more "fun" than others. The price is right, but the marketing is lame, just like Google has always had.
I'm hopeful for this device, but so far Google just does not have a good track record of informing/educating customers about their products and being that this is hardware, the lifespan is shorter than a software rollout like gmail and google maps. There's a lot more to lose when you swing and miss on hardware.
I'm an it professional with plenty of other machines around the house, but this just works and starts quickly.
What a treat! This is the best ever if you live up in the hills barely above dial up broadband provision. You will feel sorted with this new Chromebook.
7 users following this discussion:
This discussion has been viewed 2822 times.
Last activity .