Chromebook’s Other Shoe Drops

Categories: Gadgetry
Comments: Comments Off
Published on: May 12, 2011

I filled out the form to receive information about the new Chromebook for my school, and I’m a little disappointed.

There are going to be two models, one from Acer and one from Samsung. Their displays are 11.6″ and 12.1″ respectively, making them just a little smaller than a 13″ MacBook and approximately the size of several netbooks.

In addition to what I discussed yesterday, here are my concerns:

  1. It may cost three dollars more for the 3G, and the wireless card is separate. While the cost increase is negligible in the big picture, the card is going to be one more thing for end users to lose.
  2. The pricing is for a three-year commitment. Even at $20/month, that builds the total cost out to $720. For that price, schools can purchase an iPad or Galaxy Tab and trick it out with a warranty, accessories, and apps. Or purchase two sub-$300 netbooks.
  3. The Samsung model with the longer battery life and larger screen will cost a few bucks more, and word is it doesn’t have a user-replaceable battery. The latter is not the end of the world, but the former can add up across several hundred or thousand units.
  4. Even at 6 hours and 8.5 hours, the battery life still isn’t what a solid tablet will get. And those numbers assume end users aren’t really pushing the device’s performance.

On the plus side, they do save workload on techs and there’s a service agreement for the three years of the lease. There is not a lot of information on exactly what is covered, and these things will see a lot of wear and tear if they’re going home with students.

And the big question still remains: will they truly be as useful or flexible as a tablet loaded with apps?

I still believe this is about three years too late. This pricing and setup could have been huge for schools, and it’s a great way to get a laptop into every kid’s hands. But with the tablets hitting the market now, I don’t think they’re going to gain as much traction.

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