If at first you don’t succeed, release another Chromebook. That seems to be Google’s thinking with today’s announcement that it will start selling a new laptop powered by its Chrome operating system for just $249.
Chromebooks have been around for more than a year now, but still haven’t seen much success.
Reviewers panned the laptops for being underpowered and too reliant on the web-connected services, unlike traditional laptops and tablets. Google responded with a big update that made the operating system look more like a traditional desktop, but everything still needs the browser to run.
Even Google’s Chrome boss, Sundar Pichai, tacitly implied that the Chromebook isn’t doing as well as he had hoped. In today’s announcement Pichai mentions that people are using Chromebooks as secondary computers instead of their primary device:
Many people use the Chromebook today as the perfect additional computer for their home.
That’s not Google’s original plan. Chromebooks were supposed to be a revolutionary computing platform where everything is done in the browser, not a backup to your normal computer. It’s clear Google no longer sees Chromebooks as replacements for regular laptops, hence the major drop in price to $249 and the switch to ARM processors, the same kind used in many smartphones and tablets.
Make no mistake, Google’s pivot with Chromebooks is a last-ditch effort to get people on board with the operating system.
If it fails, kiss the Chromebook business goodbye.