So the Chromebooks (UGH, that is the lamest name in tech) have finally hit the market. On paper, these notebooks seem very appealing: a lightweight OS, quick startup and you never have to worry about installing applications. Great, right? Nope. Why? The price. These things cost more than a real laptop with a real operating system and real storage. For the money, these things are a major dud. They lack local storage and, to be, you know, useful, you must always be connected to the net.
Samsung and Acer have both introduced these crippled laptops with the cheapest starting at $349 for the WiFi only version. 3G service is provided by Verizon with 100mb of data per month, for two years, being free. Additional data plans are available.
At $499 for the high end Chromebook from Samsung, the value is simply not there.
A recent tear down of one of them reveals netbook like innards. And that is the big problem: these things are nothing more than netbooks in full size laptop cases and they do not run a useful OS. You get a Linux kernal with a browser bolted on to it. No local storage and when not connected, not much functionality.
Google, purveyors of all things Chrome, says that offline functionality is coming soon in the form of Google Apps and there are a few ‘downloadable’ apps for Chromium, but it will not be like the traditional operating system’s applications.
I don’t know, maybe I am being closed minded or short sighted, but, for the money, I just don’t see the value here. If Google really wants these things to take, they should give them away or charge less than a hundred bucks for them and make it up with ads, since that is the ultimate goal here…to sell ads. Google’s business is NOT browsers, operating systems or even search. It is advertising. That’s it. Search and etc are the vehicles they use to deliver the ads. They are not the altruistic company many think they are, no, they are an advertising agency and nothing more. They are the NASCAR of the computer world: entertaining, feisty, flashy, loud and one gigantic billboard.
You can check out the hardware (as well as order one) here.