What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

Summary: Yesterday Google unveiled its Chrome OS devices - the Chromebook. While opinions seem divided, most people I'm hearing from don't see the Chromebook as something that they would want. But why?

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TOPICS: Google
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Yesterday Google unveiled its Chrome OS devices - the Chromebook. While opinions seem divided, most people I'm hearing from don't see the Chromebook as something that they would want. But why?

Well, here are main reasons I'm hearing why people aren't all that jazzed by the Chromebook:

  1. Price - $28 per month for a business translates into $1,008 over three years, which is a lot of money what is essentially a netbook with very little local storage and an OS with 'limited' capability. Even buying the Chromebook outright still costs between $350 and $500, which is a lot of money for a netbook.
  2. Hardware - Current there are two general models from two OEMs (Samsung and Acer). There's very little choice.
  3. Cloud storage - The idea of cloud-only storage bothers people a lot. The idea that work stops if there's no WiFi or 3G (or if Google's servers go down) doesn't appeal to many. On top of that, there are a lot of people who view cloud storage with suspicion and wouldn't be happy with their data living on Google servers.
  4. Reliance on 'apps' - You can't just download and install just anything onto Chromebooks. The Chrome OS works with web-based apps. Many have concerns that these apps will be limited and inflexible.
  5. Updates - Chrome OS updates will be pushed automatically to Chromebooks. Some are concerned that this automatic updating could result in problems that would be outside of the control of the end user.

[poll id="631"]

[UPDATE: As if to underline why I don't want a Chromebook, here's what I was greeted with when I tried accessing my Gmail account ...

Ugh ...]

Despite all these negatives, some people are drawn to the upsides of Chromebook ownership.

  • Upgrades - That $28 a month, after 3 years, gets you a new Chromebook.
  • Support - Google Apps support is included, as is hardware replacements in case of problems.
  • Data safe in the event of hardware failure or loss - If, for some reason, you have to replace a Chromebook, all your data is safely stored on Google's servers, so getting back up and running is easy.
  • Price - $28 per month per seat is the cost of Windows for an enterprise users. With the Chromebook you get the hardware, software, data storage, support and new hardware every three years.
  • Security - Google claims that security is paramount when it comes to the Chromebook. For some, the idea of a well-locked-down, secure system is appealing.

So, there are upsides and downsides. Google claims that the Chromebook isn't for everyone and that some 25% of enterprise users wouldn't be able to work on a Chromebook, but that still leaves 75% who could - and it is those users that Google is targeting with the Chromebook. A poll over on my blogging buddy James Kendrick's blog indicates that some 70% won't be buying a Chromebook, and a further 16% aren't sure. In the feedback I'm getting, I'd say that the split of yes/no/maybe is about the same.

It seems to me that Google could might have a hard sell ahead.

What do you think of the Chromebook?

Topic: Google

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44 comments
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  • Adrian, what the propeller heads think really does not matter. They also

    hated iPod, iPhone, and iPad, but, those devices were very well received by consumers, and Apple is now worth more, has higher revenues, and higher profits than Microsoft. Truly amazing.
    DonnieBoy
    • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

      @DonnieBoy There is no doubt that this is the way all technology is headed; however, I think people will demand more functionality. I think that the MacBook air is the other extreme, but better suited for what people need now. In my opinion the chrome book will be as successful as the google tv. People still want the ability to run photoshop and access and excel with out any comprimise.
      apetti
      • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

        @apetti Agreed. Oracl NetPC was well before tis time. I think Chromebooks are still before their time. I don't think Google will ever succeed in this space because the company is starting to stink (much the same MS did over time) because of thier reliance on ad revenue and persistence in getting and using personal information about you. I think another company will come along with a true open option in about 10 years time.
        global.philosopher
    • Google ain't Apple

      @DonnieBoy, Apple sells consumer electronics by virtue of their marketing clout and perceived "coolness". Google has neither.
      itpro_z
      • And you ain't real bright, you are a hopeless propeller head. Don't feel

        bad, I am a propeller head too.
        DonnieBoy
    • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

      @DonnieBoy

      The problem with Google is always too little too late and then it's beta anyway.

      Bloggers have been embracing the new iToys and sneering at laptops and netbooks as yesterday's news. Now Google essentially brings out another Linux laptop (which have already failed dismally) telling us all we need for applications is some spaghetti coded Javascript and HTML (and beta of course).

      There's also no point in comparing costs of Chrome vs Win PCs as one has applications and multiple functionalities and the other has Google Docs (which may as well be beta).

      So go get a Chrome notebook Donnie. It appears Google is trying to join the toy manufacturers, but they don't have Apple's packaging and marketing departments. Perhaps you're not old enough to remember tthe thin client scam Donnie, so it's only fair that you repeat history.
      tonymcs@...
    • Amazingly enough...

      @DonnieBoy
      ...I don't own any of the above. What I think may not matter to other people, but it does matter to me. And, as I pointed out repeatedly, profitability matters to investors and employees, but doesn't, or shouldn't matter much at all to the consumer. If I decide I want to buy something, I buy it; I don't look at the vendor's profit and loss statement first.
      John L. Ries
    • What's truely amazing is that you jump into fool mode

      @DonnieBoy <br>right from the start!<br>So in you're world, anybody who offers facts and points of view as to why this isn't worth it to them, they're automaticlly "propeller heads?"<br><br>So the engineering firm that uses 3d modeling and CAD programs are propeller heads? There are TONS of people who can't use this, so they're all wrong and just a bunch of proppeler heads?<br><br>Speaking of heads, don't you think it's high you had yours examined? You really haven't a clue but you believe you do.<br><br>It's called delusional.
      Will Pharaoh
      • The kinds of &quot;facts&quot; that propeller heads have are not very useful for

        predicting how consumer products will sell. Case in point: iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android phones, etc. The propeller heads were all over those product releases like stink on sheeet, predicting how nobody would buy them. Of course they had "facts" to back up their assertions!!!<br><br>And, hey, I am a propeller head, I admit it!!!
        DonnieBoy
  • Message has been deleted.

    joegrrrcia
    • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

      @joegrrrcia I would recommend that you read the blog entirely fist and then post the comments.
      1773
    • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

      @joegrrrcia

      ... ummm ... How about the bullet points just above your quote?
      noagenda
    • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

      @joegrrrcia I've seen a monkey wearing shoes ... your argument is invalid.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

      @joegrrrcia So are you a died in the wool frothing at the mouth Linux head or just some random idiotic troll with a problem with reading comprehension? Dude, he covered the upside points in his article below the poll. Reread the article - or have your mother come down to the basement and read it for you and explain it to you so that you can understand.
      athynz
    • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

      @joegrrrcia if the upsides can be considered upsides, they definitely do not outweigh the downsides. so who cares anyhow?
      skippe93
  • Thanks NA

    @noagenda

    Thanks, it was hard getting through the first portion of the article. . . I guess, I rarely turn around to puke in a toilet I just pooped in.
    joegrrrcia
    • Yea, a typical Windows gamer, take their computer to the toilet.

      NT.
      DonnieBoy
  • It is not a netbook

    That is the point, is it not? A netbook is a real computer, while the Chromebook is a glorified terminal. Netbooks are typically underpowered, but can do everything a Chromebook can, and thousands of things the Chromebook cannot. I can understand the attraction for the Googlyheads to a Google terminal, but I really doubt that anyone else will be attracted to such a limited (dare I say locked in) device.
    itpro_z
    • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

      @itpro_z
      Another person claiming that you can run Photoshop on 12' netbook?

      Give it a break!

      MS claimed that more than 90% of usertime is spend on Web BROWSING! Thats mean plenty of peaple who will be more that happy to buy solution that allow them to do just that, with no additional fuss (virus protection, updates, installation, backups, software updates, software installation).

      And you can run MSOO on Chromebook try this on any netbook with similar hwd. This is for business as it require some cloud solutions, but then (private) cloud solutions are also something that have bright future ahead.
      przemoli
      • RE: What's wrong with Google's Chromebook?

        @przemoli If 90% of my time is spent browsing the web, I'm probably at home, and just wasting time. I'd rather have an iPad... The other 10%, I'm probably doing something that I don't want to use a Chromebook for... FAIL
        berriend