Chromebooks: you either love them or hate them based on the constant flood of correspondence I get almost daily. They are either an expensive web browser, even at $200, or they are good hardware done cheaply with lots of utility.
My thoughts of the utility of Chromebooks are all over ZDNet, but it's the regular folks' take on the laptops running Google's OS that I find interesting.
I hear over and over again something along the lines of this (aggregated from many folks' comments):
We use Macs and Windows PCs in our household, but my kids were always fighting for time on them. I saw your review of the [insert Chromebook model here] so I picked one up for the kids since it was only ~$200.
What a great purchase! Now the kids are fighting over the Chromebook as they love the laptop and how it does everything they need. It's fast and since it's designed for the web, which is what the kids do with laptops, they love it!
I have to admit that I started picking it up when the kids aren't here, the only time I get to use it, and have been surprised to find that I can use it for lots of stuff. I couldn't use this for work since I need to run some Windows/Mac apps, but it handles everything else with ease.
This scenario is described to me in correspondence almost daily. People are buying a Chromebook for the household to use since it's so cheap, and then everyone who uses it really likes it. It often becomes the laptop/computer they grab first, even fight over.
The more they use it, even the adults, the more they realize they can do virtually everything they do on a regular basis using the Chromebook. They discover Chrome OS is far more than just a web browser due to the Chrome ecosystem, which includes a lot of web apps and extensions to the browser. It's a full system, which they didn't know until they started using one.
Chromebooks are indeed cheap, but the hardware is surprisingly good. Most of the models I've tried are very durable and well-suited for family systems. They offer good value, which is leading people to pick them up as extra computers, only to discover they do most everything the family needs.
I hear from so many folks that it's apparent to me that Chromebooks are sneaking into households, and quickly assuming a valuable role in the family's needs. They don't miss other alternatives, and they appreciate how fast and easy the Chromebook handles their tasks. Google's plan for household domination is well under way.