Cloud Gear

Why Hasn’t the Chromebook Caught On?

In this new world of mobility, tablet, and smartphones, the Google Chromebook would seem to be a good fit in a new cloud-centric environment. Google’s jump into the OS and combined hardware space though has been less than exciting and has yet to really take off with mass users.

Initially this may have been from the way Google rolled out the service. Business and education were the first to be offered the systems, and the solution was offered as a hardware as a service (HaaS) option, which many were not yet completely sold on. At $28 per month and with underpowered hardware specs the systems seemed too expensive considering other notebook and netbook options, which it was often compared to were far cheaper. Along with skepticism over the reliability and longevity of the cloud, the rollout may have been too much, too soon.

Google gained a lot of ground with their Android operating system finding a solid following with manufacturers looking for a standardized operating system to build mobile solutions. The Android solution has seen great success and has helped Google dominate the mobile market where Chromebook has seemed to continue to miss the mark.

Second and third generation Chromebook solutions have improved on the original specs but many have still seen them lacking in power, processing, and memory. This may have to do with the expected price points that manufacturers have targeted from $200 to $500.

With tablets seeing huge adoption it may also be difficult for consumers and businesses to see a fit for the Chromebook. Many users have adopted a three-device way of life, which is, notebook, tablet, and smartphone. The notebook provides on and offline power use, where the tablet and smartphone provide mobile access and communication.

The Chromebook sits somewhere in between and has yet to find a niche with users. Whether this will change depends on finding a need for businesses and consumers. Today people are comfortable in the three-device environment, though tablets and smartphones are quickly merging into a single device concept.

Google continues forward with the Chromebook and more manufacturers are bringing out Chromebook solutions. It will be interesting to see if users find the need or if it heads to “Land of Misfit Toys.”

Images: http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromebooks.html

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