The thought hit me in the shower: I reported on the Chromebook a couple months ago, I wonder what ever happened with that?
As it turns, out, the idea has sort of panned out. As I write this, the Acer Chromebook is currently number seven on the Amazon bestselling laptops list. Predictably, it comes in behind three Apples, 2 Toshibas, and an HP. But honestly, I don’t know that I expected the Chromebook to do much at all in terms of sales.
In case you missed it, the Chromebook concept comes from Google’s (not crazy) idea that the traditional operating system will soon be rather obsolete. So a Chromebook will come loaded with a web browser … and that’s it. Without the unnecessary accoutrements, the Chromebook would be faster than a standard laptop, and would in fact get faster over time as updates were released. Sounds sweet, especially to those of us who have watched our software fall behind faster and faster over the years.
Yeah, sounds sweet, but so do lots of things. There are Chromebook detractors, whose complaints often center around flaws in real-world usage. For instance, the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook had a slow, difficult time reading SD cards and was unable to successfully read a USB flash drive. Wi-fi capabilities are par at best (not what one wants when one’s computer is completely reliant on the internet), and while it is equipped with 3G abilities, it comes with a data cap of only 100MB.
My reaction to most new gadget concepts has been to say, “Hey, that’s a cool idea!”, then wait three to five years for the concept to actually gel into a coherent, usable technology. Despite the better-than-I-figured-they’d-be sales, my thinking remains the same for the Chromebook concept. I hope my wife can wait that long for her new laptop.