Chromebooks Overpriced and Underpowerd? Hardly.

Chromebook; ChromeboxThere I was, perusing Google+ as usual, when I came upon an article, written by Christina Warren on  I read the article, and naturally became infuriated at the author’s gross ignorance.

Then I checked the date, and realized the author wasn’t as ignorant as I thought.  Then I laughed as I realized that Google basically proved everything in her article wrong a few short months after she wrote it.

You can read her article here.

I do have a few comments about some of the things in this article I would like to share with the interwebs.

“The problem is, Chrome OS and its hardware remain uncompetitive — not just against low-cost desktops and laptops, but against the burgeoning world of tablets.”

While the statement at the time was mostly true, the author makes the mistake of calling it a “problem”.  The author assumes that Google, like Apple, was trying to take over the computer market.  They weren’t.  They still aren’t.  Google’s intention was never to replace all your electronic devices with a Chromebook.  Their intention was to add just one more device to your entourage.

Before you jump all over me about making assumptions or coming to false, uneducated conclusions, you should know I worked as a Google Specialist last year, where I was trained by Google and released into the wild (my local Best Buy) to educate potential customers about the Samsung Chromebook and the Acer C7 Chromebook.  Google made it clear that the Chromebook wasn’t meant to replace your Mac or your Windows box.  It wasn’t even my job to sell the Chromebook, it was my job to un-sell the Chromebook to people I didn’t think would enjoy it or benefit from it.  Google just wanted people who would love the Chromebook to buy it, and nobody else.

“The problem was — as Mashable editor Lance Ulanoff pointed out in November — the typical Chromebook was both underpowered and priced disproportionately high when compared to other netboooks, full-sized laptops and tablets.”

In my opinion, at the time this was written this was mostly true.  $450 for the Samsung 5 550 seemed high.  But that’s because we’re so used to just comparing specs.  Sure, you could get a windows laptop with better hardware for $450.  But what else are you getting for that $450?  You’re getting a massive OS, loaded with bloatware and virus vulnerabilities.  You’re getting a 5 minute boot-up time (sure it may start out fast but every computer slows down, Macs included).  You’re buying a future tech-nightmere.  With the Chromebook, it might not have a super powerful processor with 8GB of RAM, but that’s because it doesn’t need it.  Chrome OS is a very inefficient, non-taxing operating system.  With a Chromebook, you don’t need anti-virus software.  With Google Drive and a plethora of other cloud storage options, you don’t need a large hard drive.  The Chromebook boots up in about 8-10 seconds depending on the model.  When you start looking at the benefits instead of the specs, you realize the Chromebook is a lot better of a deal than you may have thought.

“Moreover, education and corporate entities now have a new low-cost computing solution: TheiPad.”

Um.  Ok.  I’ve never heard the words “iPad” and “low cost” in the same sentence before but whatever.  The 3rd generation iPad, which is the iPad most recently released at the time this article was written, was sold for $499 for the wifi only version, and $629 for the cellular data enabled version.  That’s just for the 16GB model.  It costs considerably more for the 32GB or the 64GB versions.

So the Chromebook, which comes with a keyboard and is MUCH more useful productivity-wise is too expensive priced at $449, but the iPad which does not come with a keyboard is a “low-cost computing solution” priced at $499 for the cheapest model.

Makes sense if you don’t think about it.

Plus, if you want more storage with a Chromebook, just buy yourself an SD card and boom, you’ve expanded your memory.  With the iPad, you have to shell out another $100 to get the 32GB, or another $200 for the 64GB version.

Not my idea of a low-cost computing solution.

“Is that a problem? Faced with the choice of outfitting an office with a suite of retina display iPads — which will be able to access 700,000 iOS apps and remain exceedingly portable — versus laptops that can’t even store a file if you’re offline, which would you choose?”

Now she’s not just saying things I disagree with, she’s actually showing her ignorance. Christina obviously never used a Chromebook, or even read much about them. She is among the many ignorant sheeple who believe that if you don’t have an internet connection your Chromebook won’t turn on. It does in fact turn on.  And you can even store files on it when you’re not online. Why else would it come with a 16GB hard drive? The OS doesn’t take up NEARLY 16GB.  That’s for offline storage.

And 700,000 iOS apps? Who cares?  We’re not trying to play angry birds here (although angry birds is one of the many apps that work on a chromebook OFFLINE) we’re trying to be productive.  Much easier being productive with a laptop than an iPad.

“If Google and its hardware partners are actually serious about moving units and building Chrome OS adoption, the Chromebox would be $250 and the Chromebooks would sell for no more than $350 at the high end.”

I agree with the author on this one, and luckily for us, so did Google. 5 months later I was standing in Best Buy, talking to people about the Acer C7 ($199) and the Samsung Chromebook ($249).

“I have long predicted that Google will — at some point — merge the Chrome OS and Android projects. Until then, it’s shocking that Google and its hardware partners haven’t at least attempted to release a Chrome OS-powered tablet.”

This paragraph is so loaded with ignorance it hurts. A Chrome OS tablet?  Does she even know how Chrome OS operates? The biggest advantage a Chromebook has over a tablet is the keyboard. It’s ability to be productive. Plus the tablet market is already saturated by iPads, Android tablets, Windows tablets, Blackberry tablets, even HP tried getting in the game with webOS. How successful would a Chrome OS tablet be?

“A tablet could be sold at a higher price point while still letting Google sell its cloud services to corporate and educational customers.”

So now it’s OK to make things expensive.  I don’t quite understand this author.

“Even better, make an optional keyboard dock — like the Asus Transformer — to try to appeal to a broader selection of users.”

An optional keyboard dock….making it even more expensive.  $449 for a Chromebook doesn’t seem so bad anymore….

“Would you seriously consider paying $550 for a Chromebook, or $330 for a Chromebox? Let us know in the comments.”

The Samsung 5 550 was introduced for $449.  Who’s paying $550 for a Chromebook?

I’m done.  Those are my thoughts, take ’em or leave ’em (preferably, comment on them)



About James Welbes

James is a guy who does things. Lots of things. Nothing weird, mostly computer things like blogging, web development, Netflix. He's a total Google fanboy, (despite Allo) and has been recognized as a Google Expert in Google's Chromebook Central product forum.