Just a quickie….Samsung UK have an offer on at the moment that if you buy one of their Chromebooks during August, you can claim a free smartphone. Don’t get too excited as the phone is only a Galaxy Mini but it’s better than nothing and you can always flog it on ebay. There are further goodies if you buy a 3G Chromebook.
Pay attention to the small print as you have to wait 14 days from the date of purchase before you can apply for the phone.
Many websites have been parroting a recent report from Digitimes which is ready to call a “time of death” for netbooks, but are they really going the way of the dinosaur? Yes, it is true that Asus is killing its Eee PC line and Acer may follow suit with its line, but it certainly does not ring a death knell for an entire industry.
In fact, I would argue that the platform is alive and well, but only transforming. After all, we just got brand new Chromebooks from both Samsung and Acer, which could very easily be classified as the next generation in this product line.
Let’s face it — the world is still hungry for affordable computers and the attempt to force us to move to overpriced “ultrabooks” is certainly not cutting it with the average consumer.
In short, I find this entire report to be overblown rubbish. It looks at one thing and ignores several others in order to draw a questionable conclusion for sensationalism. Then again, I expect no less from many sites — page views are money and I get that. But, look at the big picture. The market is constantly evolving. The new netbook may well be the Chromebook, which Acer themselves produce. The form factor and price fit the bill. Only the name has changed.
Today Google and hardware maker Acer announced the latest Chromebook laptop, following closely on the heels of the recent Samsung release. Once again, Acer has undercut Samsung on the price by offering a $199 notebook and beating Samsung by $50.
The Acer notebook has been officially named the C7 and packs some impressive specs given the price. It has an 11.6 inch display, Intel Core processor, boots up in 18 seconds, a 320GB hard drive, 1080p video and 100GB of free storage on Google Drive. The only knock here may be a rather poultry 3.5 hours of battery life. On the other hand, it’s a pretty thin device that resemble today’s popular Ultrabooks.
While Chromebooks only run the Google Chrome operating system and aren’t compatible with traditional software like Microsoft Office, they make up for this in speed and simplicity. The cloud storage is handy and services like Google Docs and web apps make up for this as well. Plus, if you just can’t live without Office then you can still access it using Office Web Apps or Office 365.
So, will these recent offerings from Samsung and now the even cheaper one from Acer be enough to make you switch? A full notebook computer for the price of a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD is certainly going to be tempting. Plus, Google has been fast at work updating and improving the Chrome OS and things will only get better from here.
The Google Chrome operating system has been available for almost a year with lots of updates to the OS, but very little traction in the market. Google made it prominent by giving away thousands of CR-48 laptops, but when the final version was released there were only two hardware makers on board – Samsung and Acer. Sadly that hasn’t changed since the release, and it didn’t change at CES , but there was some Chrome OS news there.
Samsung announced two new additions to the Chrome world – one is a new notebook, but the other is the first Chrome desktop computer, or “Chromebox”. The Series 5 notebook has been updated to include 2 GB of RAM (which it already had – not sure if the RAM type changed), a 16 GB SSD (it previously had a 16 GB Serial ATA), and a slightly faster CPU. Meanwhile, the Chromebox is considered a Series 3 product, and it comes with six USB ports, a DVI port, 2 Display Link ports, an ethernet jack, and is currently running Chrome 17.0.963.15. It’s also rumored to have a dual-core processor under the hood, along with 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB SSD. The video below gives a good idea of what both new products look like.
Google announced they are dropping the price of the Chromebook by 30%. Some Chromebooks will be as low as $299. But questions still arise if a Chromebook is in your holiday wish list, when you can get a Kindle Fire, nook Color for less. Even the iPad could be in more stockings than the ultra-portable laptop.
Chromebook came out back in June as Google’s answer to a PC that didn’t have a complicated OS to it. You would load the Chromebook up to a Chrome browser; inside, all your applications would be in the cloud and the data you create would also mostly reside in a cloud drive. However, if you were in a 3G deadspot or didn’t have Wifi, then your work would be rather limited.
Competing with a Tablet
Chromebook’s price drop is pretty much an attempt to counter the prices of the Kindle Fire and nook color tablets, which debuted to the general public last week at $199 and $249 respectively. The tablet – which you could connect a bluetooth keyboard and mouse – could technically become a more functional notebook than a Chromebook itself. And with prices at $100 lower than the device, will a Samsung or Acer Chromebook even be in your holiday purchase radar?
What is Chromebook’s Market?
Chromebook has to figure out where their niche is going to be. Maybe as a laptop for the kids, or a machine you can keep in the kitchen to call up recipes or as a kiosk in a public place? Back in September, I saw the Chromebook lounge in the San Francisco Airport. Those kiosks would be great for people that have hours to wait but don’t have a computer to check their Facebook profiles or email on.
Remember when the Netbook was a popular item two years ago? What happened to that? The answer is the netbook disappeared fast. You can still get a netbook, but just like the Chromebook, why should you spend $300 or more for a device that is the same speed and power as a Kindle Fire or nook Color?
So now we can start to see the impact of these two new tablets are bringing to the holiday shopping season. Chromebook has to compete with something more compact and useable. Google has not released any data regarding Chromebooks sold, but a DigiTimes report (premium content site) says it all:
“In June 2011, Acer and Samsung launched their Chromebooks ahead of other PC brand vendors, but by the end of July, Acer had reportedly only sold 5,000 units and Samsung was said to have had even lower sales than Acer, according to sources from the PC industry.”
What does that mean to Chromebook? Simply: It’s time to drop prices and hope the Chromebook will sell well in Q4.
Great to be back in Hawaii and in the Studio. The hard work begins over the next 6 weeks in getting ready for CES 2012. For the first time ever we are going to ask for additional listener / viewer support in helping us for CES 2012. We have produced 1000’s of videos for you and the operation has grown to the point that we want to take care of our support team in a bigger way. I have set a fund raising goal of $5000.00 and hope you will support our endeavor with a $25.00/$50.00/$100.00 donation which will 100% be used to pay our support crew.
I have been on travel the past couple of weeks so my apologies for not producing the show while gone. Bit of a weird show today, because the power supply for my Chromebook crapped out of me and a replacement is inbound so I am doing the show via just the chrome browser.