In the first step towards what can only be described as an inevitable disaster, Google today announced that it was lowering the price of the Chromebook to just $300. As with most Android-based tablets, however, few consumers actually want such a device, so the price cut is unlikely to generate any meaningful new sales.
A Chromebook is a notebook-like computer device running Chrome OS, Google's web browser-based OS. Google has signed up two PC maker partners, Acer and Samsung, to make the devices, but they haven't sold well since the product launch in May.
"We've also been working closely with our partners to continually improve the overall Chromebook experience while making them even more affordable," Google senior product manager Venkat Rapaka wrote in a blog post. "So, we're excited to share that beginning this week Acer and Samsung Chromebooks will be available starting at $299. The updated prices will be available through our online retail partners." These partners include Amazon.com, Best Buy, and Tiger Direct.
According to the Amazon web site, there are several Chromebook models available, ranging in price from $300 to $450. Previously, the least expensive Chromebook was $350.
The Chromebook has some good thinking behind it, including very quick (~8 second) boot times, a simple user interface, a surprisingly decent app store, and good security. But since ChromeOS is essentially just a web browser, it's also very limited, and many apps still require a pervasive Internet connection. And as critics have noted, you can simply run the Chrome web browser on a Windows laptop or netbook to get most of the benefits of this system plus all of the power and versatility of a real computer.
Post-PC world, indeed.