Google Chromebooks from Samsung, Acer Will Fail: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-05-12 Print this article Print

News Analysis: The new Chromebook notebooks introduced by Samsung and Acer with considerable fanfare at the Google I/O conference the week of May 9 will be available for order on June 15. But their chances of survival just aren't all that great.

At its I/O Conference this week, Google announced that after a long wait, computers running Chrome operating system will be available to customers in June. The computers, dubbed Chromebooks, will be offered by Samsung and Acer. The Samsung option comes with a 12.1-inch display and the Intel Atom dual-core processor. Acer's option boasts an 11.6-inch HD display and the Intel Atom dual-core processor. Both devices offer WiFi and the option for 3G connectivity.

In essence, these Chromebooks, at least for now, are netbooks.

But now that Google has made its intention known, speculation abounds over whether Chromebooks will actually perform well at retail. On one hand, the devices are offering a new and unique operating system that consumers might get excited about. On the other hand, they're competing against tablets, which put them at an immediate disadvantage. Combine that issue with all the others that go along with Google's underdog Chrome OS, and it quickly becomes clear that they will likely fail.

Google, Samsung, and Acer might not like to hear it, but at least for now, it doesn't look like the Chromebooks will have much success in the market.  

Read on to find out why:

1. The market has moved on to tablets

As noted, Chromebooks are basically just netbooks with a different operating system. Unfortunately for Google and its vendor partners, netbook sales are on the steep decline. The reason for that is simple: the market has moved on to tablets, like Apple's iPad. Tablets deliver the same level of mobility and pricing is similar. Even better, they offer unique functionality. This year, more than 50 million tablets are expected to hit store shelves, making them a force to be reckoned with in the mobile space. That alone spells trouble for Google and its vendor partners.

2. Chrome OS is an unknown

If one combines the fact that netbooks are dying out with the general lack of buyer knowledge with what Chrome OS is and how it works, it's apparent that these Chromebooks may find it tough going in the market. Google's operating system might be a great idea to some who can't wait for cloud-based operating systems to become the norm. But right now, they aren't. Even worse for vendors, most consumers are more focused on mobile operating systems. Chromebooks might simply be ahead of their time.

3. Are they really necessary?

When Microsoft first launched Windows, it was entering a young PC market that was eager to try out new ideas and operating systems. But Google doesn't have that advantage. The company's operating system is entering a market where consumers need to be convinced they need to learn another operating system, cloud-based or otherwise. Customers are currently content with a laptop or desktop and a tablet. It's highly unlikely that they will want to add another device and operating system into that mix. Chrome OS, and thus Chromebooks, are a luxury, not a necessity. And that could eventually bring those devices down.

4. The 3G options are expensive

Chromebooks will ship with the ability for users to connect to 3G networks and consume up to 100MB of data for free. However, after that limit is met, the data costs start to skyrocket. A single-day pass will cost $9.99 from Verizon. The addition of 1GB, 3GB and 5GB of data will cost customers $20, $35 and $50 per month, respectively. Over a 12-month period, that starts to add up. Chromebooks' reliance on the Web could be a significant issue for their users.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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