Buying a Chromebook: 10 Factors in Its Favor

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-06-16

Buying a Chromebook: 10 Factors in Its Favor

Now that Chromebooks are available to consumers at Best Buy and Amazon, speculation abounds over how Google's Chrome operating system will fare in the increasingly competitive desktop OS space.

Some say that Chromebooks will catch on with customers, thanks to their small footprint and unique operating system. Others say that Chromebooks don't have what it takes to compete against Windows- and Mac OS X-based devices and simply won't catch on.

As with any other product, Chromebooks aren't necessarily for everyone. There are solid reasons consumers and enterprise customers might opt for an alternative, like Apple's iPad 2, rather than a Chromebook. But there will still be folks out there who do buy Chromebooks because of the value they see in the hardware and Google's Chrome operating system.

Simply put, Chromebooks might prove to be a perfect fit for some customers looking for specific things from a cloud-based netbook computer.

Read on to find out what kind of customer would be most likely to buy a Chromebook.

1. The cloud lover

If there is anything that makes Chromebooks unique, it's their operating system. Google's Chrome OS is entirely cloud-based, making it an ideal choice for those who want to jump head first into cloud computing. Those looking for a more robust desktop experience will still find that in Windows or Mac OS X, but customers who want something new might just opt for Chromebooks from Samsung or Acer.

2. Google fans, rejoice!

In the early days of Android, many of Google's fans flocked to get their hands on smartphones running the OS. Nowadays, it's a mainstream success. With Chrome OS, expect the same initial response from Google fans. Like Apple fanatics, Google's fan base is extremely loyal, and they are already jumping to get their hands on Chromebooks.

3. An anti-tablet customer

Though Chromebooks don't necessarily hold up against Apple's iPad 2, those who don't want a tablet might find something to like in Chromebooks. After all, the devices are lightweight, easily mobile and offer a new-age feel that tablets also deliver. Chromebooks seem like fine alternatives for customers who don't want tablets and fail to see value in netbooks.

4. The Windows hater

Speaking of netbooks, that's yet another market where Microsoft reigns supreme. But there are still millions around the globe who look at Microsoft as the "evil empire." Windows, in turn, is a platform that they won't even consider using. But if those same customers want a netbooklike device and don't want to buy a Linux option, choosing a Chromebook seems like the logical step. In other words, some customers' decisions to buy a Chromebook might have more to do with their distaste for Microsoft than their love for Google.

Apps Will Be a Decisive Factor


5. The Gmail, Google Docs lover

As with other Google products, Chrome OS makes full use of the company's many services, including Google Docs, Gmail and others. For those who are committed to using these cloud applications as an alternative for more expensive on-premises applications, buying a Chromebook would be the way to go.

6. The always-connected consumer

The biggest issue with Chromebooks is that if there isn't a Web connection available, they're little more than expensive bricks. So, folks who anticipate not being within range of a WiFi or 3G signal at all times won't like what they find in Chromebooks. But those who are confident of constant connections won't have an issue with buying a Chromebook.

7. The consumer on a budget

One of the benefits of buying a Chromebook is its price. Acer's AC700, for example, retails for just $349.99, while the most expensive Chromebook goes for $499.99. At those prices, consumers on a budget who need a new computer might like what they find in Chromebooks. After all, spending just $500 on a lightweight computer sounds much better than spending twice that on a Mac, right?

8. The early adopter

Though debate rages over the real value of Chromebooks, Google and its vendor partners know all too well that there is one group that is absolutely willing to buy the devices no matter what the quirks: early adopters. Those folks who buy products at or around launch are already jumping at the chance to buy Chromebooks to see if they have lasting power. As with other product launches, Chromebooks are benefiting from early adopters.

9. The education angle

Google has made it clear that it wants to bring Chromebooks into schools. That might be a good idea for educational institutions. Not only are the devices extremely cheap by school-computer standards, but they can also potentially help students prepare for what most agree is the future: the cloud. Though Chrome OS might not eventually rule the cloud, it could very well be the tool students need to learn about how to navigate the cloud.

10. It has neat apps

The importance of applications in today's mobile-computing environment cannot be underestimated. Apple's iOS-based products, Android-based devices and, now, Chromebooks rely heavily upon apps to be a success. Luckily for Google, its Chrome Web Store has several popular applications, though its marketplace is still much smaller than the App Store. However, consumers around the globe are always looking for innovative new apps. Thanks to Google's selection of highly popular programs, including Angry Birds, it should be able to coax some customers to buy Chromebooks on the promise of delivering the same apps people are enjoying on smartphones to the new Chromebooks.

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