Google has learned all that it needs to learn about the reception of its Chromebook laptops in the U.S. and UK and has announced availability of Acer, HP and Samsung flavors of its device in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.
As we’ve spent time with Google’s Chromebook and OS, it has become apparent that the goal of the operating system is to focus on what people do on a computer the most, which is surf the web in a browser. Since Chrome has become the No. 1 browser, building an operating system that showcases it makes complete sense.
In addition to this global rollout, Chromebooks will now be available in all 1,000+ Best Buy stores that sell PCs in the U.S. Basically, that’s twice the number of stores that Chromebooks were sold in previously. This in-store rollout will take place over the next two weeks.
As far as the rest of Google’s line of laptops in partnership with Acer, HP and Samsung, there is indeed a niche that has gravitated towards the machine as a lower-cost alternative to the Macbook Air and Windows machines, specifically schools and small businesses.
Google recently launched its Chrome Pixel, which has come with mixed reviews. One thing that most technologists can agree with is that while this machine might not be the end-game for consumer computing, it includes quite a bit of technology that will eventually be priced for mass-markets. I’ve been using the machine for the past few days and the idea of touching your laptop screen is still something of a mind-melt. It’s going to take some time to consumerize this product.
It’s been an active past week in Google Chrome land, as it recently named its VP of Chrome, Sundar Pichai, as head of its Android unit, moving Andy Rubin on to bigger and brighter “moonshots.” Some think that this means the eventual merging of Chrome with the Android OS, which is something we’ve been waiting for.
Can Google get past the “cheap” label? It remains to be seen, but I can say from experience that the machine does exactly what you need it to do, and it does it well. During my trip to India, it’s the only laptop that I had with me, and it did the trick. The only downside to Chrome OS is the lack of popular applications available, such as Skype. That will come in time, and global expansion will help speed that up.