While browsing the Google Group for the Chrome Notebook Pilot program, I garnered some interesting information from other participants. What is interesting is that others who have been using the Chrome Cr-48 notebook computer have similar views of the product. Most everyone agrees that the Chrome notebook is a solidly built unit. Some of the favorite features are the matte black finish, the portability, bright screen, ease of use, fast boot in under 15 seconds, and the overall quality of the hardware. This basically confirms my opinion of the notebook and my experience.
Some of the prior complaints of issues with connecting to a home Wi-Fi router have seemed to have been resolved with an update, that seems to have worked. I know my personal experience of having issues on the Lockergnome site have faded. Bottom line is that it was not the LG web site but the protocol the Chrome notebook was using. Once corrected the notebook now loads all web pages very quickly. I am now able to use the notebook to write my blog posts and will be able to take the notebook with me when I travel.
But there was one post that caught my attention. A question was asked ‘Would you buy a Chrome notebook’? The answers may not be what Google is looking for. Why?
First of all it really doesn’t matter how many of these notebooks they give away for testing, if the consumer models do not sell. This one statement reflects most of the opinions about the Cr-48:
Get a free Cr-48 for testing is one thing. Pay $250 out of your pocket is another.
There are other hurdles Google is going to need to figure out. First is that people do not like change, especially when they are comfortable with a Microsoft Windows box. Have you ever tried to get a Windows user to try Linux? The first question they ask is why? You can talk until you are blue in the face and they don’t want to try something new no matter how much more secure their system will be. Since Google Chrome is basically Linux in a browser, most users will be uncomfortable using it. Second there is the issue of cloud computing. Ask the average computer user about cloud computing and they will give you a blank stare. When you do explain what cloud computing is many of the users I have spoken with are reluctant to give their private data to any company, no matter how much they may trust the company.
Yesterday one of the Google people asked what people liked most about the Cr-48. I responded that the hardware and the way the system is sonstructed is fantastic. The hardware includes the ability to connect to Wi-Fi, 3G and eventually will be Bluetooth enabled. The SSD is also nice and helps boot the computer quickly and 2G of RAM seems sufficient. The case housing is solid and so is the keyboard. Only down side is the built-in tracking which stinks. :-) I told the Google people if they try to cut costs and produce a flimsy notebook, it will bite them in the back side.
I would also not be surprised if Google doesn’t offer some type of supplement on pricing, similar to what the cell phone companies provide for smartphones.
Now here is my opinion. I am not afraid of change and I believe that the tech savvy bunch will have no issues using a browser controlled notebook computer. In fact I like the Cr-48 notebook and use it daily along with my personal laptop computer. I also have no issues of storing my stuff in the cloud, since I have no super secret documents that I want to hide from public view. I am sure others will disagree with my assessment of cloud computing.
So will I be buying a Google Chrome notebook when it becomes available mid-year? Honestly, I am not sure. I would need to see the final consumer version before making a commitment.