Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chromebook-Mania: A Sell-Out Debut for Google's New Web-Only Laptop

If you follow me at all on Twitter, Buzz, LinkedIn or Facebook, you'll know that there's a new addition to our offices at Shore. Yes, it's that Chromebook thing, the "Why do you bother with this stuff, John?" machine from Samsung running Google's new Chrome OS operating system that frankly just rocks my socks. Light, great screen and keyboard, fast to start using and stays fast all day long, even with lots of Chrome browser tabs open, and a battery that lasts longer than I do on any given day. Its pilot program predecessor, the Cr--48 notebook, is now firmly in the hands of my son instead of being "borrowed" by dad at every little moment. I won't bore you with the details, here, instead, like the proud new owner of anything that excites you more than it's likely to excite others, I'll just stick mostly with links to more in-depth cool content.
The key point is that I am not alone in my Chromebook fever. As of this writing, it is the number one selling notebook PC on, and, at least temporarily, out of stock there after just a couple of weeks of pre-launch and post-launch sales (it appears to be still available on Best Buy and Amazon's UK site, but for how long, it's not clear). Put simply, this is a hot unit, in spite of mostly tepid reviews from major tech journalists and bloggers. Their main kvetch; it's not a PC or a Mac, its, just a Web browser with a webcam, headset jack and an SD card bay. Well, yes, I think that we've caught on to that. 

So putting this together, the "experts" say we should be concerned with a machine that doesn't do things the "old fashioned" way, while the people who use the Web, both for professional and personal use, seem to be voting for the Web via Chromebooks. Two weeks does not a major trend make, but given the strategy that's gone into this unit - and the many pieces of the strategy yet to unfold, such as being able to use Chrome for offline use of Google Web apps like Docs and Gmail - my guess is that Google will have many additional inflection points ahead to keep the Chromebook momentum going. In the meantime, I pick up this little gizmo to be productive and entertained whenever I can. Sayonara, buggy software, backups, anti-virus, registry rebuilds and wimpy batteries, I have better things to do.
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