Google Chromebooks Review, Launch and Afterthoughts

Google Chromebook Chrome OS browser

If people say that Google today is a market share leader then they have seen nothing. Back in 2007 Google was the proverbial giant with shares rising as high as $700 for each.  But with the glory days over Google lost a lot of market share, $40 billion in expenses and hence decreased in popularity.

Today, Google is down to half of Apple’s size and consumers, investors, developers and analysts are impatiently awaiting the next big thing in Google’s sphere. Google just has to whip out one thing that relay shows that it still has it, and the market would come flooding back as analysts say.

The computing marketplace may be dominated by a multitude of Apple tablets Macs and Macbooks but these arrive with rather high price tags. With the iPad being for $500 and higher Google saw it as an opportunity to test its lower priced but less powerful Chromebook in the market. The Chromebook boasts among many things the capability of immense networking, business, browsing, and affordable platform functions.

Google Chromebooks

Back in December2010 Google announced an older unnamed netbook that was the predecessor of this year’s I/O Chromebook. Another famous release at the 2011 I/O was Android@Home.

It’s basically a small scale computer with networking, browsing and other software utilizing capabilities running on Google Chrome OS. But it is most unlike the iPad or a laptop; one may call it a web interaction platform on the native Chrome browser-turned-OS. With cloud computing web apps and running on a browser themed OS, the Chromebook is primarily optimized for web browsing, upload and download data straight through the cloud, Adobe Flash support, personal data backup on the cloud and a hardware backed security system.

Its features and hardware are rather futuristic. Although nothing is new or jaw dropping it is extremely refined with built-in security, long living battery, multiple connectivity facilities and simply “a tablet with a lid and keyboard”. External file storage, smooth data transfer and ultra quick functions due to heavy hardware chip support.

Chromebook on Cloud computing

Chromebooks boast a lot of major functions such as cloud computing, remote control, OTA updates, a dedicated app development and utilization platform, and a hardware installed security system.

Since netbooks are basically about net connectivity it seems illogical for them to stay offline but Chromebooks don’t require round the clock connection. Offline apps for Google Gmail, Calendar, and Docs coming, and Google are available.

Google optimizing Microsoft concepts

The Chromebook is a pretty premium device hosting the best features from tech leader Google. But there is big part of it that is still partially in the BETA department and I fear that the firmware and hardware was launched a bit prematurely. The Verizon network support was a good job covering connectivity features that could otherwise impair the entire web concept of the netbook. The hardware could have boasted a lot features that are on Mac.  And for the software updates will roll in every couple of weeks. It might be a bit tiresome but that is how it goes. Some updates may require manual assistance but a majority of them are Over The Air – thanks to Google Cloud! With Microsoft products already staking out most of the consumers, the Chromebook has yet to prove itself in order to become the optimum netbook.

Samsung and Acer Chromebooks

And speaking of hardware, Samsung and Acer have joined hands with Google to develop the ‘lid and keyboard’ as well as the internal parts housing the Chrome software system. Verizon will be providing the 3G data plan. Worldwide Google will enlist the services of “leading carriers” to power the internet on the Chromebooks. The Chromebook as mentioned before will either be a Samsung device or an Acer device. Samsung’s Chromebook will have an 8-second boot time (breakneck in technological terms!), 8 hour battery and a 12.1 inch display of 1280×800 resolution. The Acer model will not be much different with all the same features but a 6.5-hour battery and an 11.6 inch screen.

The U.S. consumer markets will receive the Wi-Fi only Samsung Chromebook at a $425 price tag, and the 3G bundled models will be for $499 that comes with a monthly 100MB of loaded data. The Acer’s Chromebook will cost “$349 and up.” The Chromebooks were released on the 15th of June on Amazon and Best Buy for US customers and similarly leading retailers selling them in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Italy.

Google has plans in mind for providing Chromebooks in bulk for education and corporate markets. The education platforms will cost $20 per student while businesses are to get it for $28.These models will include minor hardware upgrades.

Rounding off, the Chromebook will sport the following specs;

  • 12.1″/11.6” (1280×800p) Display
  • 3.26 lbs (both models)
  • 8.5 hours/6.5 hours battery life
  • Intel Dual-Core Processors
  • Internal dual-band WLAN and global bandwidth 3G support
  • HD Webcam
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • Mini-VGA port
  • Complete Chrome keyboard

As for consumer opinion, consumers are widely critical of these products. On the whole I would like to add that people must stop looking at the Chromebooks, Android tablets and smartphones as branches in technology that is really Apple’s. Well here is piece of my mind for all of ya out there! Apple spells p-r-e-m-i-u-m, and it is an entirely premium secluded affair for which a closed ecosystem is a requirement! Google’s Android means open source that is a different category. Yes, so those holding “Copycat” placards out there should know that.

Google’s strategy is always ease, affordability, compatibility and always handy tool to various services. That can also be noticed from their products which are basically utilities to access a giant powerhouse of free search, services, affordable apps and easy cloud computing. Apple on the other hand places the tools and their features within the hands of consumers and unlike Google their entire ecosystem, app store and developer platform is but a pathway or circuit where these things can be plugged in, synced, accessed and all the features put to work.

Chromebooks for businesses

Hence Chromebooks are no different, Google did not intend to make something new, or revolutionary or add another aspect to computing. It only expanded it. The concept of a laptop here was the shell in which computing was further enhanced with Google’s best software at hand. And mind you although the OS is still juvenile and hand a long way to go until it catches up with the rest of the rivals in the market it is pretty nifty, a very handy web utilization platform, has vast potential in being a really powerful tool and a popular enterprise platform.

Consumers made the same mistake with Android when they ditched it for eye-candy and ecosystem of iOS and iPhone. Later on we come to realize that Android means THE smartphone. Although it could be pretty bland in comparison with the iPhone Android lies more in the sector of usage, functionality, personalization and compatibility than with attractiveness, but more than half the user market agrees to that.

Google Chromebook

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