Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chrome Books, So Close Yet So Far

When I received my Google Chrome CR-48 I was instantly hooked. I'm normally in and out of coffee shops sporadically so I don't want to spend most of my time booting up a computer. That's where the CR-48 really shined in my eye. Google is all about speed, they display how long it takes to find your results and they're always looking to find ways of shaving off milliseconds in the search process. The Chrome book was a success in this area.

Around this time my I was helping my sister-in-law with some computer issues. She had this nasty little virus on her computer that was extremely difficult to get rid of. It was frustrating for her since it took a couple of tries to get everything. With her busy schedule with work and school it was challenging to get together at the same time to work on it. Since she does a lot with Google docs I couldn't help but think that a Chrome book would be perfect for her. She wouldn't have to worry about viruses since everything is cloud based, this would require zero maintenance.

I was looking forward to promoting these to friends and family. I believe in the OS and I think it does everything that anyone needs when living life on the web. I got a real shock when I heard that the first commercially released Chrome books will go for between $349 and $449. This sticker shock has killed the enthusiasm of the most die hard Chrome fans including yours truly.

What I loved about my CR-48 is that it took an opposite approach to affordable computing. Rather than adding as much muscle as possible in the tiniest amount of space, Google made an OS that is so lightweight that it doesn't require hardly anything to run smooth. This being the case a manufacturer could easily produce a product with Chrome OS at a very low cost. So why the price hike?

Early adopters are those that, well, adopt technology early and they're also the ones that can drive a new technology's acceptance by the average consumer. In the tech world there are many who are split on the Chrome book's ability to be a hit without throwing price into the mix. Chrome will likely bounce back if a manufacturer properly prices their device but one thing is for sure, I would hate to be the Samsung or Acer executive who came up with the prices.

Business and education still have the ability to drive sales of Chrome. Google is offering subscription based plans of Chrome which includes the hardware and support. The prices for the subscriptions are $28/ month and $20/ month respectively. This will only drive sales so far however, pricing needs to come much more before the concept grabs hold. The other nail in the coffin is that most early adopters already got their Chrome books for free from Google so there will likely not be a rush of people trying to buy them.

As much as I love Google I just don't see this taking off until the pricing is corrected.

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