Google’s Chromebooks are here and making quite the impression – for better or for worse. Reviews have been varied, and we personally found the Samsung Series 5 to be lacking, but regardless of any negative feedback, Chromebooks are getting some attention and Google is reportedly pleased with their launch. “We’ve been very pleased with the response to the Chromebooks subscription model since we launched,” a Google spokesperson told InformationWeek on June 17. “We officially opened for business two days ago and there are businesses and schools signing order forms as we speak.”
Amazon’s dedicated Chromebook store has been up and running for a week now, and while the device has made the top 10 bestsellers list for laptops, it’s spot there is tenuous. User feedback on various retailer sites ranges from one to five stars.
Google’s Chrome OS notebooks have been a gamble from the beginning and are going out on multiple limbs with consumers: A browser-based OS, a software-less experience, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity only – even a subscription purchasing option. The Chromebook is asking people to change their laptop perceptions enormously, but it’s a bet Google is more than able to make. Of course Chromebooks PC-free nature also means they should require less maintenance and have fewer security problems – but at around $500 a pop, Google runs the risk of isolating interested customers.
But the Chromebook’s own intricacies aren’t the only things that could hold it back. It’s possible that popular PC manufacturers are considering taking their own stab at the Chromebook concept. Digitimes says Samsung, Toshiba, Acer and Asustek Computer are interested in creating ARM-based notebooks to challenge Google’s new release. Apparently, impressive Chromebook pre-orders were part of the motivation, signaling that consumers are ready for alternative PC solutions. Of course it’s more than possible that attaching the Google brand to anything and bringing the first major cloud-based computer to the market has something to do with those early numbers.
Regardless, Digitimes’ inside source says we could see devices from these developers within the year and they could cost as little as $300. And just to make things a little more interesting, the interested manufacturers would choose to implement an Android OS for the notebooks, using Google’s other operating system against it.