Why Google Chromebooks Make No Sense

May 13, 2011 by

Google IO, Google’s developer conference, was on recently, and with it came a lot of product announcements. Honeycomb 3.1, Music Beta, video rental and streaming and many more. One of the biggest announcements was about ChromeOS, Google’s open-source, entirely web-based operating system, based on their Chrome web browser. It isn’t great. Maybe for people who solely use the Internet and nothing else, but for anyone else it just won’t cut it. In fact, some of the developers whom got early access to the Chromebook have spent less of their time developing for it than they have hacking Ubuntu onto it.ChromeOS only runs on certain hardware, and that hardware is pathetic. But the worst bit by far is the price.
The Acer chromebook costs $349. It features:

11.6″ HD Widescreen CineCrystalTM LED-backlit LCD
2.95 lbs. | 1.34 kg.
6 hours of continuous usage 1
Intel® AtomTM Dual-Core Processor
Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
High-Definition Audio Support
2 USB 2.0 ports
4-in-1 memory card slot
HDMI port
Fullsize Chrome keyboard
Oversize fully-clickable trackpad

A paltry offering for that much money. For the same price, you can buy a 15″ Windows 7 laptop with much better specs.

Google say it’ll be great for bloggers and people who need quick access to the Internet whilst on the move. The same use that smart phones were invented for. Also, it’s likely your smart phone will have more HDD space than the Chromebook, which has a 16GB SSD.

Google also allow you to pay for them monthly for education or business use. The thing is, those prices are extortionate. $20 per month. You might be thinking, ‘Oh, that doesn’t sound too bad’, but that $20 per month isn’t per unit, Oh no, that’s $20 per month per user. This can add up into 100s of 1000s of dollars per month if you have a reasonably sized school. And most schools already have computers running Windows XP, and a dinky little laptop with no HDD or operating system isn’t likely to persuade them to switch.

It’s even worse for businesses, they’ll have to pay $28 per month per user for a minimum of three years.

I can see the possible applications for the Chromebook, few as they may be, but charging that much money for that little hardware makes absolutely no sense.

Google has said the future lies in the Cloud, but I don’t think we’ve reached that future yet. And think about this; would you like to be in Google’s cloud, considering the amount of personal info they keep on you?

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