Google clearly thinks so! Google announced this week that it will be launching a new sort of netbook called a "Chromebook" on June 15th. I say sort of, because Google claims its actually not a laptop or a netbook. It's something else. The question is what and, more importantly, will people buy into the idea that they need one.
The Chromebook is not just a cheap baby laptop (starting at $349) with a pre-loaded Chrome browser. The Chrome browser has actually been expanded out to be the operating system.
Chromebooks will not have the traditional desktop. You won't be able to load programs on it. The user will do everything on the web, instead, via apps or web-based software. Think tablet without the touch. Data will store on the cloud instead of the hard drive. There's no need to install security software. It's all built into the Chrome OS. The big advantage to all this: it will start up almost instantly like a mobile device.
Google is hoping the Chromebook will appeal to those in need of a cheap computing device with more heft than a tablet while streamlined to be simple and fast - ideal for employees and students.
In fact, Google is also offering the Chromebook on a subscription model of $20 a month for education clients and $28 a month for the enterrpise.
Will it sell? Perhaps.
Then again, it sounds to me like a tablet without the thing we love most about tablets - touch.
While tablets, over the past year, have created a new space between smartphones and personal computers; I believe the Chromebook will find it a no man's land and get lost between the two.
Microsoft, meantime, has let it be known it is dovetailing its future versions of Internet Explorer and Windows. In other words, it's essentially going for the same strategy as Google's Chrome division.
It's going to be very crowded in that no man's land.
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