The long-awaited Chromebooks finally hit retails in June but they’re already seeing significant price reductions. Both Acer and Samsung entered the market with modestly priced options with the Samsung models commanding a slight premium. But not anymore. Amazon just dropped the price on the Samsung Chromebooks by 7% to 10% with the WiFi-only model now costing $399 and the 3G model running $449. That’s down from their MSRP of $429 and $499, respectively. With Chrome OS still in its infancy and niche products not lasting very long in today’s market, it makes you wonder if Google or its hardware partners are slowly giving up hope on the platform or simply prepping for new models.
Chromebooks were supposed to be the next big thing. The instant on, snappy web experience, long battery life were supposed to draw in the customers. But try to find one in a store. Office Max, Staples, Office Depot, Walmart, and Frys do not offer either of the Chromebooks. The only retailers are Amazon and BestBuy.com — they’re not in Best Buy Stores. This limited exposure will ultimately doom the platform. Consumers cannot buy what they do not know exists.
This price drop puts the nicer Samsung models just slightly higher in price than the Acer models with only $50 separating the two. This lower price, even though it’s technically 7% to 10%, drops the Samsung models out of the price points of traditional Windows notebooks. Much like with the HP TouchPad with the iPad, it’s hard to recommend a Chromebook when a full power Windows model can be had for the same price.
Chromebook are likely not going the way of the TouchPad. Google isn’t HP. As proven by the struggling Google TV platform, the company seemingly likes to give hardware more time than it does software where it often kills under-performing products rather quick. Google and Acer/Samsung need to come up with a different, hopefully more broad, retail strategy going forward otherwise while the Chromebooks might not be swimming in the deadpool, they will certainly be wading in the pool of obscurity.
Update: Samsung reached out to us and apparently the lower price is part of a “limited, two-week only, back-to-school promotion on Amazon for the Series 5 Chromebook.”
[Thanks for the tip, Nate]