Imagine buying an iPhone and it had one app: Safari. Imagine buying a Windows-based netbook and as soon as you entered your credentials, you were ushered to a full screened version of Internet Explorer from which you could never leave. I’ve had some great times with my own Chromebook, an original CR-48 model, but let’s be fair: I got it for free. It turns out that both Acer and Samsung have both had a hard time selling the devices and it’s not very hard to see why.
Google’s CEO Larry Page has said that having both Android and Chrome OS under their belt is an envious position, but that’s just silly. I like Chrome OS’s ultra-thin client, but the pricing is all off. While Chrome is a fantastic browser, no one should settle for Chrome OS as their main computer, perhaps not even as a second computer as I do. It’s not great for productivity, unless your days are spent surfing through web sites, and it’s not great for media consumption either because of the wimpy specs. The real issue is that Chrome OS just doesn’t need to exist. Perhaps if Android weren’t so touch-friendly, it would make sense to move it to a laptop/convertible environment, but Page has already suggested that their two OSes will probably merge at some point. Thankfully Samsung and Acer didn’t put too much effort into building out Chromebook product lines.
Google does have an opportunity to push these as $200 netbooks, though. In much the same way that the Amazon Fire may undercut the iPad on price alone, Chromebooks can probably take a sturdy position in an ever-narrowing market. But if Page is going to go around nixing tons of extraneous projects around the Googleplex, this is certainly one of them with the biggest red flag.