Monday, November 12, 2012

At $199 Will The New(er) Chromebook Finally Become Mainstream?

Consumers lining up to get their hands on the all new, low-priced Samsung Chromebook may want to wait. Google announced today that a new Acer Chromebook will be released tomorrow for the new low price of $199. This comes a little over a month after Google released the new Samsung Chromebook, at a then-low-price of $249.

The move by Google is an unexpected but pleasant one. Releasing a brand new Chromebook by a different manufacturing partner a month after the release of the Samsung Chromebook begs the question as to why the two were not released at the same time? Regardless of the timing, Google is now looking to make this Acer Chromebook the first truly mainstream Chromebook laptop.

Some of the new features, or to put it better, differences between the Acer and Samsung Chromebooks include storage and battery life.  The display of the Acer is the same as the Samsung Chromebook, an 11.6 in. display with a resolution of 1,366x768. The Acer Chromebook also comes with the same Chrome Operating System as the Samsung and the 100 GB of Google Drive Storage for two years. The differences, however, between the two computers as far as storage could not be more different. The Samsung Chromebook featured a SSD (solid state drive) that contained only 16 GB of storage, while the new Acer Chromebook has a traditional HDD (hard disk drive) that contains 320 GB of storage. This major leap in storage is sure to be a tipping point for many consumers who like the idea of the Chromebook but did not like the lack of storage. The other major difference, and really major flaw for the Acer-made Chromebook, is the decrease in battery life. While the Samsung Chromebook has a good 6.5 hours of battery life, the Acer Chromebook's battery lasts only 3.5 hours. This lack of battery life is sure to be a big issue for many potential customers who are not looking for a laptop that you have to "plug in" every few hours.

Google, with these two new laptops, and more specifically with the Acer Chromebook, is trying to get their Chrome Operating System into the mainstream computer world. Chrome Operating System, or Chrome OS, is a very basic and simple operating system that uses Google's popular web browser, Chrome, to operate. Users of Chrome OS do all of their interaction through the Chrome interface and can download and use applications from the "Chrome Web Store". Since the productivity and usefulness of this operating system is largely dependent on the internet, it has not become a huge success. With the addition of offline apps and the continual drop in price of Chromebooks, however, Google may finally see their product become mainstream.

While Google certainly has a long, and frankly impossible, shot of taking down Microsoft as the king of computer operating systems, they certainly are taking steps in the right direction. While the functionality of the Chrome OS may still be limited, the reduced price point for a "fully functioning laptop" is sure to attract many consumers. Only time will tell if the new $199 price point will be just what was needed to lure customers to their brand, but one thing is for sure, at that low price Google will get people's attention.

Source: CNET - Acer C7 Chromebook

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