I can come up with a couple of scenarios. First, a Mac user is curious about ‘the other side’ and has a couple of hundred dollars to throwaway. Second, a Mac user needs a simple way to write, had a Google account already, and just doesn’t use all the digital horsepower that comes even with a diminutive MacBook.
But It’s $189
That computer giant HP– in whatever incarnation is popular this year– is in trouble is not news. PCs are not selling well. Printers are losing out to email, Wi-Fi, and other ways to share documents and images that don’t involve overpriced ink and killing trees.
Somehow HP’s executives think the company can make up their growing losses in the technology industry by selling notebooks for $189. That’s right. The HP Chromebook 11-inch G5 is priced starting at $189.
What do you get for $189?
It’s not a Mac but Mac users have already been to Chromebook-land every time they open a Google Chrome browser window. Chromebooks are Linux-based notebooks which basically are internet connected devices that use Gmail, Google’s various web-based apps, and some in the future may run Android apps (because everyone wants a smartphone app on a PC screen).
Still, the HP Chromebook G5 bristles with hardware specifications to match the anemic Chrome OS.
It’s thin and somewhat light at 2.5-pounds, has an 11.6-inch screen, but, as is the case with most Chromebooks, comes with an anemic, underpowered Intel Celeron CPU and more than 12 hours of battery life. There’s a touchscreen version which costs more and still gets 11 hours of battery life.
For the first time ever, Chromebooks represented a larger portion of market share than Apple® Mac® computers in the U.S. during the first quarter of the year, according to data from IDC . The research firm pegs U.S. Mac shipments to be around 1.76 million in the first quarter, with a hair fewer than 2 million Chromebooks sold during that period.
Now, it’s important for critical analysis of the Chromebook trend to disavow reality and facts. The average Chromebook is priced about $300 while the average Mac about $1,200 so Apple retains the crown that matters most. Profits.
What Chromebooks bring to the user table is ease of use, user security (not privacy; this is Google’s Chrome OS after all), and easy management. Mac360’s Kate MacKenzie read on the internet that Chromebooks represent a better choice than a Mac. It must be true.
The reality is this. Cheap sells. Apple struggles to grow iPad sales to schools because iPads are expensive (despite having half a million iPad-specific applications on the platform), and Google Chromebooks are cheap (and don’t seem to do much that would benefit kids in education, because cheap).
Anna Wu, product manager for HP Chromebooks:
The demand for Chromebook in education continues to grow as schools take full advantage of the benefits of Chrome – manageability, simplicity, and security. The functionality of Android apps – many of which are touch-centric—are adding more versatile learning experiences to the classroom with a host of new education-focused apps.
Of course, the least expensive Chromebooks don’t have touchscreens, and Android apps are not known for being iTunes App Store killers, but cheap sells. What’s missing in HP’s press release is what schools are doing with their Chromebooks but in 2016 education is less important than cheap.