Samsung Chromebook 2: Missing the point

Samsung Chromebook 2: Missing the point

Summary: Samsung is following its popular Chromebook with two new models that are much nicer than the original. That comes at a price, and it may be too big.


Buyers reacted to the original Samsung Chromebook by buying quite a few of them. It was sitting on top of the Amazon laptop sales list for months as the Chromebook enticed lots of buyers. The newly announced Samsung Chromebook 2 line of two laptops looks good on paper, but the company may be misreading the market.

Samsung Chromebook 2
Samsung Chromebook 2 (Image: Samsung)

See related: Samsung introduces Chromebook 2 laptops with Galaxy Note 3 stitched design

Samsung's original Chromebook is a sleek, attractive laptop that appeals to the eye. Roughly the same size as the MacBook Air, the Samsung Chromebook provides reasonable performance for a nice price of $249. 

The appeal of the Chromebook is not bling, it's a dirt cheap price.

The new Chromebook 2 line continues the appealing looks of the first one, even extending it further with a faux leather cover that is unusual on a laptop. Samsung is betting that this unique cover, coupled with the hardware component improvements, will catch the eye of buyers as the original Chromebook was able to do.

I believe that won't be the case, and that Samsung is showing it doesn't know the Chromebook market. Flashy is usually nice, but when it comes to Chromebooks, price is the most important criteria that drives sales. The Chromebook 2s look nicer, have slightly faster processors, add more memory, and in the case of the 13-inch model a higher resolution display.

When you add that all together you can attempt to justify the higher prices (over the original Samsung Chromebook), $319 and $399 for the 11.6 and 13.3-inch respectively. That's not much more than the first generation's price of $249, but I think it's enough to put off prospective buyers.

Typical Chromebook buyers are looking for one for themselves or family members. They believe that a Chromebook is sufficient, even though it's limited in functionality compared to a Windows laptop. They're not completely sure it will work, so purchasing a Chromebook is a risk for them.

Taking a risk is easier to justify if the price is right, and the $249 price for the Samsung Chromebook was obviously worth taking. Sales were good, as the attractive design and low price together overcame the Chromebook risk.

While some may like the special finish of the new Chromebook 2s, the price range of $319 - $399 is too high for many to take the risk on Chrome OS. The smaller Chromebook 2 is a decent bit of kit, but that price approaches that of Windows laptops. The price advantage over most of the competing Windows models is minimal. Some buyers, maybe quite a few of them, will decide to go with a known Windows laptop for that price, and avoid the risk of the Chromebook.

While the 13-inch Chromebook 2 is bigger than most of the early models, that high price tag makes the purchase a genuine risk. The $400 price tag puts it firmly in the price range of Windows laptops. It's going to be a much harder sale for many buyers, and I think Samsung is missing the boat with the more expensive Chromebook 2.

See also: Acer C720 Chromebook first impressions: Fast and cheap

Chromebook sales have risen in large part due to the low prices. It's possible to buy a good Chromebook for $200, as I did with the Acer C720 Chromebook, and I believe buyers will only go a little higher than that for a laptop that is limited compared to Windows models.

I see a price range of $200 - $250 as the acceptable range for Chromebooks, and not a penny higher. The single biggest advantage the Chromebook has is the low price. In fact, I predict that the first Chromebook in the $150 - $175 range will sell like gangbusters.

Samsung has produced two nice Chromebooks, with decent design and hardware, but buyers will run away from the $300+ price.

Additional Chromebook coverage: 

Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops, Samsung

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  • Leather and Diamonds

    Chrome books are super flop... now Samsung is covering it with leather to fool consumers. Leather or diamonds, its still a chrome book and that makes it pretty much useless.
    • Sales say otherwise!

      Chromebooks are selling rather well thank you.

      Far from a "super flop" MOST people have realised that the Chromebook does MOST things they want it to.

      It's not Windows, it's not Mac, it's not meant to be.

      I'll bet you said tablets wouldn't catch-on either ;-)
      • Re: Sales say otherwise....

        Contrary to those claims it is a fact I am still yet to see one in the wild. Being as I use Public Transport every weekday I would have thought I would have seen one by now as claims of high sales have been circulated for a considerable time now. As of yet there is no solid proof. Perhaps the Chromebook is a figment of imagination.

        Who Knows ?
        • "I am still yet to see one in the wild."

          Thank god you never went into science or tech, eh?

          In the US, Chromebooks are expected to reach 17% of TOTAL PC sales this year. That's after 4 years - and the first 15 months nothing moved.

          Way below that in the rest of the world, but everything starts somewhere, and tech usually starts in the US market.

            Yeah, they are selling like gangbusters, yeah 2 million in 2013. Yet, window rt through only surface has sold 2millon, but that is a flop. I like the stupidity of people, I really do. And that 17 percent is only for commerical channels where most of the chromebooks sales are had, directly to schols. Do you really think chromebooks has as much sale of ipad or android tablets? Yeah right. Five million surfaces rt will be sold this year and 3.5 chromebooks all together. which one is the flop? Take youir time please.
          • "I like the stupidity of people"

            Good. Take a LONG look in the mirror, and then try to gain some perspective.

            My post will probably mean nothing to you, but that will only prove my point.
          • Stop misquoting information

            Chromebooks were 17% of direct channel sales. Like direct sales to schools.

            Not sales from consumer outlets or other avenues.

            I think the actual number once factored into total sales was a couple percentage points.
          • .....

            Windows tablets have higher marketshare, more sales ; the Surface line alone sold as much as chromebooks
            WP has higher marketsahere, has sold a LOT more

            And yet both are considered as irrelevant , while chromebooks so praised like they are almost dominating the world...
        • Chromebooks continue to dominate Amazon's top 20

          From Amazon's list of top selling laptops:

          #1 Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, 2GB)
          #2 Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6-Inch)
          #5 HP Chromebook 11 (White/Blue)
          #7 Toshiba CB35-A3120 13.3-Inch Chromebook
          #11 HP Chromebook 14 (Snow White)
          #12 Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, 2GB & 32GB SSD
          #18 Acer C720P Chromebook (11.6-Inch Touchscreen)

          • Amazon is Hardly a reliable source for reference....

            I remain uncertain of the Amazon agenda. It seems to be somewhat biased towards Chromebooks and its own Kindle Fire range.

            The reason I have this doubt is there is no evidence of such sales showing elsewhere.
          • you sound like rabid apple haters

            if you dislike then then don't buy one
          • Who buys laptops from Amazon anyway?

            I am willing to bet most consumers don't purchase Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, ASUS, Acer LAPTOPS from Amazon. So do you have a number all those highly ranked devices? I mean total number of devices sold. Being that we have already established that Chromebooks make up single digit sales of all devices sold, so that lets you know most are not sold by Amazon. So who cares about their ranking?
          • Amazon dominates retail

            I would be willing to bet Amazon sells more consumer laptops than any other retailer in the USA, and may be closing in on as many as all retailers combined. Their prices, shipping, and service policies are outstanding, although their tax-free advantage is eroding. Only Apple offers a real alternative with its Apple stores. And no, we have *not* established that Chromebooks make up single digit sales of all laptops sold. Chromebooks are the only segment of the laptop market that is seeing significant sales growth.

            "Between Jan. and Nov. 2013 Chromebooks accounted for 9.6 percent share of U.S. sales of all tablets, notebooks, and desktop personal computers combined. On a year-to-year basis Chromebooks grew 47-fold in sales, a mind-boggling explosion."
          • Probably becaues

            those buying at amazon are trying to buy something cheap with cheap shipping. They most likely wouldn't be ordering an expensive laptop off of Amazon. So amazon's sales may reflect a lower income market overall.
        • because

          you define what is solid proof and what is not.
          i see one every morning i go to starbucks down the street. same lady every day. i see 3 at work every day.
          but i'm not all that and more like you.
        • Chromebooks Killing Macbook Air & MS Netbooks Combined!

          That's a fact for you as Chromebooks are now running near any 3rd party software via VMware's Horizons Cloud App. From MS Office to Adobe Photoshop, you can now run them on Chromebooks, that are also now set to harness ARM's own hardware virtualization with Google about to introduce Xen Hypervisor embedded in the ARM chips of Chromebooks. They like Samsung and Intel even are now three of the top Open Source contributors and Xen is bringing greater Security the Open Source way to about every platform available today.

          From Intel to ARM and AMD, to Samsung and Google, we're finally seeing who owns the World of Software and it ain't Microsoft or Apple! Proprietary anything is losing it's grip, because they just can't develop and implement new programs near as fast as an entire community of Open Source Developers teaming up on the proprietary world today!

          From Apache already owning the Web's servers to now owning Open Office. To Amazon the largest Cloud based service running on Open Source and Apple as a Client. Oracle is also still huge on the Open Source side. Google owns the Content and World of Search, gaining on Windows in Enterprise with making a bigger dent in the Cloud space than Microsoft using Open Source. Red Hat is also far from Dead. Everywhere you look, Open Source is everywhere and IBM is giving up on chip foundries, PC's, Notebook hardware and going to all Service Based Business Model on Open Source Linux they inspired via Billions spent on promoting it over a decade ago!

          Open Source it's everywhere you are or ever want to be and don't even know it. It's on your phones (Android), Notebooks and Chromebooks, Desktops, Game Consoles, etc gaining Steam OS! lol..... it's everywhere you'll ever want to be and it's our future whether you know it or not. IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson.... will even tell you that! ^_* ......and Watson is why they are now making more money on Services to Government and Enterprise than all their hardware combined, running on Open Source Linux!!!
      • Looking at

        the best selling Chromebook is the Acer 720C ($411), which barely squeaks into the top 30, even the MacBook Pro beats it (place 23) and the Acer is the only Chromebook in the top 50 over here.

        That said, laptops with Windows 8 or FreeDOS are cheaper than than the Acer Chromebook.
        • not $411, try $199

          I just bought one was only $199 and very nicely fits into its niche. Oh yes, I already have a windows laptop that is rarely useful to lug around when my PC handles all of that and the Chromebook is better at what I do away from home.
          • In Germany?

            Here they start at $411.
        • Total Nonsense

          Acer C720 is €227.95 on - certainly not $411.