Where's the Excitement for the Chromebooks?

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

5. It's a developer conundrum

Google will offer customers the ability to add applications to their Chromebooks through the search giant's Chrome Web Store. However, Google will need to work doubly hard to ensure developers are willing to support its platform. Right now, the most attractive market for application development is in Apple's App Store or Google's Android Market. And with the addition of the Mac App Store to Mac OS X, and the rumored inclusion of an applications marketplace in Windows 8, Google's Chrome store might soon be left behind. Granted, with Chrome OS  the most valuable "applications" are supposed to be Websites, not discrete applications. But make no mistake that an application marketplace will be integral to the platform's success.

6. Consumers will expect power

Chrome OS is designed to compete against Windows, not iOS, Windows Phone 7, or any other mobile operating system. With that in mind, consumers will soon start to expect power from the Chromebooks they buy. After all, if they're buying a potential Windows replacement, they want to be able to do everything they can on Microsoft's operating system. Unfortunately for those customers, they won't be able to do so. That could be a significant contributing factor to the Chromebooks' demise.

7. The enterprise won't jump

Google and its vendor partners could be trying to appeal to enterprise customers with Chromebooks. It's a bad idea. The corporate world is still too heavily invested in Windows and Office to even come close to justifying the adoption of Chromebooks. Even if some companies considered the option, it would take years before a full-scale deployment would take place. Chromebooks will need to survive without the enterprise's help. By the looks of things, it will be quite difficult to do that.

8. What's the selling point?

Samsung, Acer and even Google need to quickly determine why consumers should buy a Chromebook over any other device on the market. Right now, it's not clear. Is it the cloud-based operating system? Is it that the operating system is from Google? Is it the platform's value proposition as an alternative to tablets? For now, there's no key selling point that would make any consumer want to run out and buy a Chromebook. If the companies don't find one soon, Chromebooks might ending up sitting idle on store shelves.

9. Google isn't marketing it effectively

All in all, Google has done little so far to effectively market its new operating system. Google has been developing and talking about Chrome OS for nearly two years. Yet Google has done very little to build up hype or excitement for the operating system. It's quite possible that when the Chromebooks are released on June 15, few will notice and the devices will languish on store shelves next to the ill-fated Windows netbooks.

10. It's an expensive proposition

When one considers the cost of owning a Chromebook over a full-year period, it becomes an expensive proposition. Take Samsung's Series 5 3G Chromebook, for example. The device will retail in the U.S. for $499. If a user invests in even the cheapest data package-a 1GB plan for $20 per month-they will end up paying $740 in the first year alone. Considering Chrome OS relies upon the Web to do everything, it's not a stretch to say the cheaper plans with less data might not cut it. For some customers, a Chromebook might just cost a bit too much for what Google's vendor partners are offering.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, 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 http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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