Skip to main content

Cheap Chromebooks sell well — but it could be Google who pays a price

A first impression is rather hard to unmake.

Chromebooks have just crossed a big milestone, reaching more users than macOS in the last year. As more and more Chromebooks saturate the market, there's a consensus that this growth is fueled by cheap, inexpensive Chromebooks rather than more premium devices. With the pandemic dragging on and remote work continuing for a few more months, Chrome OS's market share should continue to grow even further.

Android has yet to fully shake off its "cheap" reputation.

A critique that Chromebooks thrive only in internet-rich places is batted away if everyone has to work from Wi-Fi after all, and grabbing a cheap Chromebook that does most of what you want is better than nothing if you have to have something right now. If cheap Chromebooks primarily carry this growth without a corresponding rise in more expensive, premium devices, this can be a very bad thing for Google. Here are a few reasons why this may be.

The first reason should be somewhat intuitive. Products that are primarily distinguished by their low pricing are often purchased more out of convenience or necessity than personal preference. They tend not to engender loyalty and are often discarded as soon as a user can afford to upgrade to something nicer. Remember when Android and Windows Phones were carried in the U.S. by cheap phones? Both systems picked up a reputation of being laggy and cheap, with poor quality cameras and screens. Even with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra out there besting nearly every other device on the market, and many of the best cheap Android phones being so good now that flagships aren't relevant, you'll still find that Android has yet to fully shake off its "cheap" reputation.

As Android Central's Jerry Hildenbrand once pointed out, Chromebooks are still just emerging from that misunderstood stage that Android languished in for so long. You can find similar commentaries levied at Chromebooks on social media, YouTube comments, and even shades of it in reviews. "Chrome OS doesn't ask too much of a processor, so that's not surprising. But even editing photos in an Android app, opening dozens of tabs in Chrome, and typing this is in Vim using Linux features didn't slow it down at all," reads a recent Wired review of the Lenovo Thinkpad C13 Yoga Chromebook. As far as bars go for a $600 laptop, it didn't slow down while typing is a low one to clear.

The second? Cheap Chromebooks are less functional than their more expensive brethren. Yes, that's also obviously intuitive, right? Well, yes, but also no. Some argue that a Chromebook can be purchased for less than $200, with 2GB of RAM. This is because Chrome OS was originally built as a netbook replacement and built around the Chrome browser. You didn't need the best specs to run Chrome OS, and truthfully, you still don't.

However, the cheapest Chromebooks won't be able to take full advantage of all of Chrome OS's current features. Most Android apps will run slow and laggy. You can write games off at the start, and don't even think about Linux or Windows. Things like Phone Hub or Screen Recording will blog down the system, and users will get the overall impression that Chrome OS is just an unstable and fiddly thing. It is these cheap Chromebooks that school districts roll out to students en masse, and they're often what most people first experience Chrome OS on. A first impression like that is hard to shake. A teenager posting on Reddit or Quora about Chromebooks being awful may well be using a low-end, 32GB model, but "Chromebooks are awful" is the takeaway for them.

This is not to say that Chromebooks are perfect if you have better specs.

This is not to say that Chromebooks are perfect if you have better specs, but there's a tendency to grade on a curve for these devices. There are a few times I've seen a review for a Chromebook, cheap or expensive, either roll its eyes at a hardware spec because Chrome OS doesn't 'need' it or handwave a foible because it's Chrome OS. Neither are good approaches. The former ignores the intangibles of better hardware, such as simply having a nicer experience with a better screen, better speakers, a keyboard, and so on. Even if you're only using web apps, most modern apps are either web-based or built on web technologies. The power needed to run them won't drop just because you're on a Chromebook. Besides, if a Chromebook is your only computer, then getting an experience that you won't hate is even more important.

The latter approach of handwaving issues could end up painting a picture of an experience that's a little too positive compared to a user's lived experience, examples of which I just raised above. Like any operating system, Chromebooks running Chrome OS do have their foibles. A robust critique is the best way to air these out, and sweeping issues under the rug because of their pricing is unproductive.

This is not to say that there shouldn't be cheap Chromebooks or that Chromebooks should be priced to compete with Macbooks; that's absurd. Rather, it's a reminder to Google and Chromebook OEMs that they really only have one chance to make a good first impression. As it reaches more users, Google's Chrome OS will make its first impression on a cheap laptop. With the overwhelming narrative being that Chromebooks are cheap, disposable tools, best used for working in class and dumping right after, there's a chance that those users — once grown — will not willingly choose Chrome OS again.

Instead, rather than having built a loyal fanbase of users, Google will now have to continue not only to try to attract new users but also fight the stigma of that initial experience. Cheap Chromebooks might be cheap for buyers, but the cost may end up being rather high for Google in the long term.



Source: androidcentral

Popular posts from this blog

Genshin Impact: When does Update 2.0 release in my region?

Best answer: Server maintenance for Genshin Impact Update 2.0 will begin at 6 a.m. China Standard Time on July 21 (6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT on July 20). Maintenance is expected to last around five hours and will occur simultaneously for everyone. Does Genshin Impact server maintenance vary by region? Regardless of what time the server maintenance occurs, it will happen simultaneously for everyone. Server maintenance generally lasts around 5 or 6 hours, but given that Update 2.0 is the biggest one yet, it could potentially take even longer. Update 2.0 will release worldwide on July 20 or 21 depending on your time zone. What does Genshin Impact Update 2.0 include? There's a whole lot of content coming with Genshin Impact Update 2.0 . One of the biggest additions is the Inazuma region, which will be the first major region to be added to the game since its launch. It consists of six major islands with ports, mountains, shrines, villages, and more. With Inazuma also comes a new A

How to watch Love Island 2021: Live stream the new series online

Are you ready for another summer of love? A new group of hopefuls is set to descend on the Balearic Island of Majorca for the UK's most talked-about TV dating show. Watch every match-making moment with our Love Island 2021 live stream guide below, and watch the show no matter where in the world you are. After a coronavirus-enforced break from the screens last year, the show returns with Laura Whitmore back to host the romantic action and comedian Iain Stirling once again providing his wise-crackingly sarcastic voiceovers. There's £50,000 up for grabs for the reality show's winner, but that's likely to be some way down the pecking order of what's on the mind of the twenty-something contestants taking part. Viewers in the UK have been given an early glimpse of this season's hopefuls who include a teacher who has never been on a date before and the show's first physically disabled contestant. The last series to be broadcast from Mallorca was won in 201

Unmaze for Android is a stunning adventure through a sinister labyrinth

In a world of light and shadow, guide your loved ones through the maze before monstrosity overtakes them. Your little brother and your boyfriend have been missing for two days. Search parties and authorities aren't turning up any leads, and there's been a string of unsolved missing person cases in your town recently. Looking for answers, you find a strange blue crystal and some ominous notes about a lost civilization in your brother's room. And when you look into the crystal, you can see and hear your boyfriend?! This fascinating horror mystery setup is how Unmaze kicks off, and the plot only thickens from there. You play as Ariadne, a young woman trying to help recover her boyfriend, Theseus, and her younger brother, Asterion, from a mystical maze that she can only see through the crystal she found in Asterion's room. This phenomenal, weird title is definitely going in with the best Android games . Mechanically speaking, the gameplay in Unmaze is very simple,

There are many ways to copy and paste things from your Chromebook

It should come as no surprise that as time has passed everyone by, the best Chromebooks have progressed and become true productivity machines. And while there are a lot of awesome Chromebook tips and tricks that you won't find elsewhere, you'll likely want to know how to do some of the more basic tasks. One such task performed a plethora of times per day is simply copying and pasting text or other items from one place to another. So here's how you can copy and paste on a Chromebook. How to copy and paste with the touchscreen Locate the text that you wish to copy and paste. Double-tap the screen on the text that you wish to copy. Drag the highlight handles to highlight all of the text you want to copy. From the pop-up menu, tap Copy . Navigate to the area where you wish to paste the text. Tap and hold in the space where you wish to paste. Tap Paste from the menu that appears. Using the touchscreen on your Chromebook can be a bit finicky from time