Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

Summary: With the consolidation of WebKit and chromium source code, is there still a need for Chromebooks?

SHARE:

When Google first announced the Chromebook, there were two basic reactions. For many people, the reaction was, "Why would I need this?" After all, they already have the Chrome browser on their laptop and desktop computers. Their tablets already have built-in browsers and their own application ecosystem. Sure, the Chromebooks are small and light with great battery life, but you can buy a netbook with a fully-featured OS for the same price.

On the other hand, you also have early tech adopters like me who can't wait to get their hands on the latest gadget. Chromebooks are new and different; the browser IS the operating system, and applications are available as browser plugins. But when all is said and done, why would I want to switch to a Chromebook when my MacBook Air runs OSX and Windows and is at least a pound lighter?

There is the matter of complexity, of course. There are a lot of people who simply do not need a full-blown computer in their lives. Many people are quite satisfied to surf the web, send email, use Facebook. They don't need Microsoft Office, they don't play World of Warcraft. For them, a Chromebook would be perfect.

Also See:

The problem is that if I already have a notebook that I like with the Chrome browser installed, and an Android tablet, why would I want another device taking up space? Obviously I wouldn't. And there's something else brewing that may make the Chromebook itself obsolete.

Apparently the WebKit folks are working to consolidate the source code for WebKit and Chromium. The end result of this would be that the browser on Android tablets will eventually be replaced by a Chrome browser.

Currently the Android browser on Android 3.x tablets are capable of synching bookmarks between your tablet and laptop/desktop Chrome browsers. But this consolidation would enable you to sync everything, including themes, passwords, and extensions. Yes, Chrome plug-ins would be available as well.

It's important to note that if we had the Chrome browser on an Android tablet, why would we want a Chromebook? For the price of a Chromebook you could pick up an Android tablet with a keyboard that connects via dock or bluetooth. You would have the same functionality, plus the added capabilities of Android.

Since it's a tablet, you get the convenience of that as well. Many people who would need a Chromebook to perform their daily internet tasks have found that they can get along just as well with a tablet.

It makes sense from an economical standpoint; there's simply no need to have extra devices with redundant functionality. Admittedly, the Chromebook has a larger screen than a standard 10" tablet. I think, however, that the convenience, portability and modular capability of a tablet running the Chrome browser outweighs the drawbacks. Then again, there's always the possibility of running Chromium OS on a tablet.

Topics: Laptops, Browser, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

111 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • They're simply too expensive for a web-only thin client. [nt]

    [nt]
    olePigeon
    • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

      @olePigeon yep top price I would say should be $300 not $600
      Randalllind
      • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

        @Randalllind
        Nah, 300 is also too much because you could get a better laptop with full blown OS like Linux or Windows for less than 300. It should be even less than that.
        Ram U
      • Where do you get a Chromebook price of $600?

        @Randalllind The first batch of Chromebooks, for business and education, are priced at $349, $429 and $499. More here:

        "Google unveils first Chromebooks
        http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20061896-266.html

        I can't imagine consumers lining up for a Chromebook at these prices. My price point for one will be around $200.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • $150 tops!

        @Randalllind .. it's just a browser.. c'mon anything more is ridiculus
        doctorSpoc
      • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

        @Randalllind
        Actually for what it does it would have to be priced well below a netbook so it would need to be in the under $150 zone closer to $99 as it does almost nothing and if you have a smart phone this is pointless.It never had a chance to begin with. chrome pretty much sucks and the ui blows.
        Fletchguy
      • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

        @Randalllind less for $350 I can buy a Transformer that I can use OFFLINE in any capacity I please and it even doubles as a tablet.
        blueskip
      • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

        @Randalllind - anyone comparing prices needs to realize that the low prices of laptops don't come from the hardware, but the bloatware that's installed which essentially subsidizes the price. No bloatware, higher price. Those $400 laptops with nice specs are probably worth $600-$700 in truth. Even with this I agree $600 would be too much for a chromebook.
        sinephase
    • Exactly and that is the problem, price!

      @olePigeon <br>This is exactly the problem, price. They are just far too expensive. When Google first announced the development of these I though great, finally a web orientated notebook for around 100. But no, they are 349GBP more expensive than most Windows 7 notebooks so again why would you pay that much for a browser in a box?
      ben.rattigan
    • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

      @olePigeon

      That, and we just are not ready to abandon our fat clients. More development is needed and the consumers need to gain full confidence in web apps before they are willing to abandon what they are comfortable with.
      Michael Kelly
    • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

      @olePigeon

      If they were free I still would not want one - why deal with the size and weight, in return for so little functionality? I'm carrying a 13-inch Windows laptop with plenty of storage and RAM instead. It was a little more expensive, but massively more functional, and cost isn't the only consideration with portable devices anyway.
      1DaveN
    • Agreed....

      @olePigeon
      If they can come up with a "One Laptop Per Child" for a little over $150, they can manufacture a Chromebook platform for around the same price.

      As long as the platform is the same or more than a full featured platform, although the idea is a great one, it just won't sell.
      linux for me
    • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

      @olePigeon

      Very important subject. Thank you and I subscribe you. <br>
      <a href="http://www.tuttube.net">tuttube</a> - <a href="http://www.tuttube.net/videolari/diziizle">dizi izle</a> - <a href="http://www.tuttube.net/videolari/filmizle">film izle</a>
      basvideoizle
  • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

    @GGPSmith
    Steve Jobs has NOT left Apple. He left the position of CEO and has been appointed Chairman of the Board. Whilst he might not have the same day-to-day influence as previously, he will still have influence!
    Wakemewhentrollsgone
    • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

      @ptorning
      Believe it or not, Steve Jobs has left the building.
      silverlake43
    • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

      @ptorning
      Which is a shame since apple makes garbage. I do repair and refurbs and apple products are my biggest fixer uppers as they break so easy and the value on this takes a dive almost the day after you buy it.
      Fletchguy
    • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

      @Fletchguy - If Apple makes garbage, why is it that I've had fewer problems with my Apple stuff over the years than any of my friends have had with their name-brand PC stuff? I'm not talking about software issues, I'm talking about the hardware itself.
      Champ_Kind
    • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

      @Champ_Kind Because your apple stuff is capable of doing only so much that your friends' name-brand PC stuff can do :|
      MrElectrifyer
    • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

      @Fletchguy OMG, you have such a thing for Apple that I have to laugh at the stupidity that you write. Let me guess, some guy in high school stole your girlfriend and he is not an engineer at Apple now or something like that and you just can't get over it. You post about repairing Apple products but constantly prove you have no clue what you are talking about so who is supposed to believe you? It's time to grow up, high school is over and someday if you start acting your age maybe you will have a girlfriend again.
      non-biased
  • RE: Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

    @GGPSmith HP isn't bailing on their PC's either... they're spinning it off into it's own division/company.
    waterhzrd