After a long wait, consumers and enterprise users can now get their hands on Chromebooks. Those hoping to buy one canorder the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook on Amazon or at Best Buy for $499.99. The device comes with a 12.1-inch display, 8.5 hours of battery life, and the ability to connect to the Web via WiFi and 3G.
However, the most important feature in Samsung’s Chromebook is its operating system, Chrome OS. The operating system is Google’s best answer yet to Windows, and the search giant hopes it will catch on with computer buyers.
For now, Chromebooks are small, lightweight computers designed to take on Windows-based netbooks. However, they might also be compared to tablets. After all, netbook sales have been systematically dismantled at the hands of tablets. Considering Chromebooks look awfully netbooklike, consumers might rightfully determine that if they have several hundred dollars to spend they will need to choose between a Chromebook or a tablet.
But when it comes to making a buying decision, choosing the iPad 2 over any Chromebook is the best idea. Though Google’s product category is new and it might be compelling to some, it falls short when compared with the leading tablet on the market.
Read on to find out why consumers and enterprise users should buy the iPad 2,rather than a Chromebook.
1. Think about the apps
Any platform, regardless of whether it’s a tablet or Chromebook, needs applications to appeal to users. Apple’s iPad 2, which has 90,000 applications available for it in the App Store, has just about any software choice a customer might be after. In order to add applications to a Chromebook, on the other hand, users will need to browse the Chrome Web Store. Currently, that marketplace has some solid applications, including Google Books and Angry Birds, but its selection of programs isn’t as deep as Apple’s App Store. If users are after high-quality apps, choosing an iPad 2 is their best bet.
2. It works without a Web connection
Even if a user cannot connect to the Web on the iPad 2, they can continue to type out emails, play games and engage in other activities from Apple’s tablet. Those who are running a Chromebook, however, will find very little functionality without a Web connection. In fact, some reviewers have said that a Chromebook without a Web connection is basically an expensive brick. Until Google delivers a robust offline solution for Chrome OS, the iPad 2 seems like thebest choice for those who don’t necessarily want to rely so heavily upon the cloud.
3. More mobility
Thanks to their small footprint, Chromebooks are designed to be lightweight and easily mobile. But they’re netbooks at heart and Apple’s iPad 2 is simply a more mobile device. Thanks to its thin, lightweight design, the iPad 2 can be easily tossed into a bag and pulled out while on the road. If mobility means everything to a consumer, choosing the 1.33-pound iPad 2, rather than the 3.3-pound Samsung Series 5 Chromebook seems like a good idea.
4. Netbooks are dying
As mentioned, Chromebooks are little more than glorified netbooks running a different operating system than the vast majority of lightweight computers on the market. Considering that tablets have cut deeply into netbook sales around the world, it might not make sense to buy a Chromebook now. After all, if the market turns its back on Chromebooks and they quickly fail, owners will be sitting on devices that would have become obsolete in no time.
iPad 2 Is a Market-Proven Product
5. Chromebooks have first-gen issues
As early adopters know all too well, buying a first-generation product isn’t always the best idea. New devices launch with odd design quirks, bugs and other issues that make waiting for a new device to get the kinks worked out a good idea. Apple’s iPad 2, on the other hand, is the second generation of the device to reach the market, and consumers have been using Apple’s tablets for more than a year. Reliability means something, and at least over the short term, the iPad 2 might prove to be more reliable.
6. The pricing isn’t so far off
Samsung’s Series 5 Chromebook featuring 3G connectivity is available for $499.99. Though that means consumers who want 3G connectivity will save more by buying a Chromebook-Apple’s cheapest iPad 2 with 3G retails for $629-the price difference isn’t so great that Apple’s tablet looks overly expensive. Considering all the benefits that go along with buying an iPad 2 and all the potential problems users could run into with a Chromebook, spending an additional $129 for an iPad 2 with 3G seems like a bargain.
7. Google isn’t controlling the hardware
If Apple has proved anything over the years, it’s that when a single company controls both the hardware and software of a platform, it can deliver a far better product. Google, however, sees it differently. That company delivers the software, and other companies-Samsung and Acer-are supplying the hardware. Though Google’s model has been employed for years with great success in the Windows ecosystem, companies that take full control over all facets of a product’s design tend to offer more-compelling alternatives. Consumers should keep that in mind as they choose between the iPad 2 and Chromebooks.
8. iPad 2 is better for business
Though one could argue that neither Chromebooks nor the iPad 2 is suitable for enterprise users, Apple’s tablet is starting to catch on in the corporate world. In fact, Apple announced at an investor’s call earlier this year that a large portion of Fortune 500 companies are currently evaluating the iPad 2 to see if it would make sense for their organizations. Chromebooks won’t have that opportunity.IT decision-makers see Chromebooks as rough around the edges, a potential productivity drain due to its reliance upon the Web and a first-generation product that needs years of refinement before it makes sense for their companies. For now, the iPad 2 is better for business.
9. There aren’t better tablets, but there are better notebooks
When consumers or enterprise users set out to buy new products, they want to get the best products available in a respective category. In the tablet space, the iPad 2 is the best of the best. But in the lightweight notebook market, Chromebooks fall short.Apple’s MacBook Air is a far more appealing alternative for consumers, and for enterprise users any number of Windows netbooks seem to hold up better. Why opt for a Chromebook when a Windows netbook offering better overall functionality can be purchased for about the same price, if not less?
10. Supplanting Windows is no easy task
Google has its sights set on Microsoft with Chrome OS. And given the companies’ shared history, the search giant likely will stop at nothing to take Windows down. But as the past has proven time and again, taking Windows out is no easy task. Perhaps now would be a good time for consumers to buy an iPad 2, which they know will be around for the long haul, rather than opt for a product running an operating system that might prove incapable of competing in the desktop market for long. If Chromebooks can start nabbing serious market share from Windows, then opting for such a device might be a good idea. Until then, the iPad 2 seems like the better bet.