Google announced today that they will be completely making over the Chromebook to make it faster, more useable and more compatible with new services by the parent company, such as Google Music. This was pretty big news for those who are true fans of the brand, but bigger than that was the news that they would be slashing the prices of their two versions. The Samsung and Acer Chromebook devices are now $299.
Why I’m Not Excited
Usually when I see an electronic take a heavy dive in price, I start considering buying it. I never like to get anything when it first comes out, as I know at least $100 will be knocked off the price tag in the next year, and the bugs will be worked out that weren’t during production. This time, however, I am just not feeling it.
The Chromebook is essentially a giant web browser. There is no operating system, no functions other than those online, and all it does is give you a tiny screen and keyboard to surf the web using the 3G you have to pay for. Though you can get the WIFI edition, of course. At 8.1 x 11.2, it is a surprise that the thing weighs over three pounds. Making it slightly less portable than a tablet, which is what it is…a tablet with a keyboard.
To me, this seems like a complete waste of money. After all, you can surf Google online features using a smartphone or media device, like the Zune. Sure, there is no full size qwerty to make it easier to type. But if that is a big deal, why not spend a couple hundred more for a cheap laptop? At least it will have a desktop that covers programs like Word or Photoshop. In other words, it has features being a web browser, which you can download for free on just about anything that is compatible with the Internet.
But that still leaves the question: Is it worth the cost of $299? Again, I am going to say no. You are still paying for a tablet, so you might as well buy one that has better specs than the Chromebook. For example, you can get a 32GB HP Touchbook, which is just as large, for $279. It is still compatible with Google’s Android, even if there isn’t a keyboard. If that is a problem, just spend another $29 for the HP wireless keyboard.
In fact, Amazon, Tiger Direct, Newegg and other retailers are full of tablets that will do more for you than the Chromebook, some that are significantly cheaper than even the new, slashed price. So why go for the Chromebook at all? It seems like a rather depressing attempt by Google to create an innovative hybrid, making the first browser based tablet. But it wasn’t successful, which is probably why they are cutting the cost in the first place. After all, how many people have even heard of the Chromebook?
So, Is It Worth It?
If you are completely obsessed with Google Chrome, to the point where you are willing to spend $299 so you can have it on a smaller screen, then by all means, buy it. It will be totally worth it for you…as you are a freak. Anyone who is normal will probably get no use out of it, other than as a rather limited tablet with half the hard drive space of many other brands that are around the same price.
But that is just the opinon of one very cynical blogger who sees scams in everything. So I could be wrong. I’m just probably not.