Google Chromebooks: My April 2010 Comments vs. Today

Acer Chromebook
We know a lot more about Google’s Chrome notebook plans now. But, let’s take a look back at what I wrote last year on April 21 just a few weeks after the first iPad was released.

Google Chrome OS Devices Due in 2011 (what!) & 3 Other Missteps

1. The first Chrome OS device are expected to arrive in 2011. Uh, 2011? Microsoft Windows 7 runs very well on current generation netbooks and has a huge library of available applications. Apple’s iPhone OS 4 will be a mature multitasking product by then with, I believe, a very healthy iPad market that sliced the netbook market by a double digit percentage during the 2010 holiday buying season.

So far, so good. I even called the demise of the netbook 2 weeks after the iPad’s release.

2. Schmidt believes that Chrome OS is the first new platform in 20 years to take on Microsoft Windows. This means that Chrome OS is designed to squarely compete with netbook and notebook computers completely ignoring Apple’s iPad and even other slate type computers running Google’s own Android. I’ve been carrying an iPad instead of a netbook computer for just over two weeks now. Yes, it does not do everything a netbook running Microsoft Windows does. But, it meets my 90% of what I do 90% of the time rule. And, quite honestly, the iPad does a few things better than Windows does. IMHO, the iPad is going to eat into netbook sales and will compete directly with a Chrome OS netbook.

Yep. (to quote Steve Jobs)

3. Schmidt realistically notes that a Chrome OS device will compete with the rich set of applications available to people using netbooks running Microsoft Windows. But, let’s not forget that the iPhone has well over 180,000 apps today. The iPad has over 4,000 apps designed for its larger screen today. Both numbers are unlikely to shrink in the months before the first Chrome OS device sees the light of day.

Yep again.

4. The price range initially mentioned in the article is between 200 and 275 British pounds. That works out to $307 to $422 US dollars using current exchange rates. This is right in the current price range for Microsoft Windows based netbooks. Given Chrome OS’ deficit in apps compared to Windows, Chrome OS devies should be in the $150 to $300 range to give consumers a strong reason to consider buying one. And, let’s not ignore the possibility that Apple may lower the iPad’s low end from $499 to $399 or lower by 2011.

Let’s take a look at this last item I wrote back in April 21, 2010. Apple did not provide a lower-tier lower-priced iPad 1 after it introduced the iPad 2. However, you can buy a refurbished WiFi-only 16GB iPad “1” for $349 (this includes a 1 year warranty). The estimated price range provided by TechRadar was also very close: $349 for the Acer WiF-only model is in the lower half the $307 and $422 range.

Google Chromebooks Out June 15, $349 For Consumers, $20-$28 Monthly For Educators/Business

While the 3G Chrome netbooks will be more expensive, they will be unlocked. This means that the devices should work with both AT&T and T-Mobile. Does this mean it provides penta-band support? That is relatively rare today.

Google Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung will be available starting June 15. They device cost about the same as today’s netbooks and less than the lowest priced iPad 2 ($499). One could argue that the Chromebooks will also do less than netbooks or the iPad. And, given the cloud issues we’ve seen recently with Amazon and Sony services, one wonders if a device totally dependent on the cloud is a good idea. You can find more information about Google Chromebooks on Google’s product site found here:

Google Chromebook