Last week Google formally introduced their “new” Chromebook computer. They start taking orders June 15.

Acer ChromebookThese laptop systems are unique in that they won’t be running a Windows, Mac or Linux operating system. Rather, they’ll boot up directly into Google Chrome — and everything will be running inside that browser.  These slim computers won’t have much storage space since the whole concept is to keep your documents, music, photos, videos… everything… in the on-line world. In the cloud.

I was initially very interested in this unique concept. However, after looking at the details, I predict they’ll pull the plug on Chromebooks in less than a year. Here’s why.

The entry level price starts at $349 for the Acer Chromebook and move up to $499 for a Samsung 3G model. That’s way too expensive to be successful. There are already numerous netbook and laptop computers in that price range that come with full-featured operating systems. Why buy a limited browser-based computer?

I think $149 would be the ‘sweet spot’ price to make a Chromebook an attractive computer option.

On the plus side, Chromebooks do startup quickly — as fast as 8 seconds. But so what? Most of the time you’re not starting up.

I suppose if you’re an IT manager who insists on conformity — and if most of your needs are web-based (or web-app based) — you might be able to make a case for standardizing on a fleet of Chromebooks.

But if you’ve going to spend close to $500 an easy-to-use fast computer, why not just buy an Apple iPad? Tons of apps, easy to use, beautiful user interface.

And unlike Chromebooks, I guarantee iPads will be around for more than another year.


DIY – Make your own “Chromebook” using a standard netbook