My take on it is that the Chromebook is the first serious challenger to Windows/Mac in terms of being installed in a mass market retail product. It's the first ever mass market Linux laptop (after the One Laptop Per Child non-profit reaching 2.5 million children with Linux Laptops in the developping world since 2007). It's the first ever mass market ARM Powered laptop. It can be configured to be the cheapest laptop to make, the safest, the fastest, the thinnest, the lightest and the easiest to use. Chromebook may be the first successful carrier subscription based laptop.
For Chromebook to sell more than Windows, here's what I think Chromebook needs to be:
- $199 or less in an ARM Powered configuration
- Use Pixel Qi with ARM and you've got 30 hours battery runtime in a sub-1kg 11.6" or 12.1" super slim form factor
- They should subsidize these in partnership with the carriers to do a subscription model for normal consumers like this:
1. Sell it for $99 or less on a 2-year contract with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan
2. Bandwidth upgrades should be max $10/GB, $20/5GB, $30/10GB on-demand one-click
3. They can use carrier billing (thus carrier revenue share) for bandwidth upgrades, for cloud media subscriptions, on-demand, Chrome Web Store web apps and for all Google Checkout based online shopping
4. Provide an optional hardware upgrade once a year with contract extension. Used devices can be resold refurbished.
5. Provide 100GB or more cloud storage and full Google Apps for consumers with the subscription, offer guarantee of available of advanced web apps such as HD video editing (with many or most of the features of Avid/Finalcut), photo editor. And all these web apps must feel near instant to load and work offline, a web app should only need to get reloaded if it detects that there is a new version available. Gmail should load instantly for example.
6. Obviously, Google Voice and Google Music needs to be worldwide. They should also expand with a Google Video cloud storage. Basically they can allow people to upload 20'000 songs and 1'000 movies for free, the reason being, Google only needs to store one copy of each song or movie, and if the upload client (also on Chrome OS) detects that the file you want to upload already exists on Google's servers in equal or better quality, it should instantly beam it to your account without actually requiring you to upload anything. Google should not care to try to filter out any "illegal" Mp3, Flac, DivX, MKV files. Eventually they can introduce unlimited music/movies subscription plans like Spotify/Netflix but they should aim at being able to include access to everything in those unlimited subscriptions, this might only be achievable through Government regulation of online content subscriptions.
If Google can deliver on those things and quickly, which is what I expect them to be able to do, then I think it's obvious Chromebook could become the number 1 PC/Laptop OS as quickly as they became number 1 OS in smartphones since the Nexus One was released.
Can we expect to see some ARM Powered Chromebooks (or Chromiumbooks) at Computex in Taiwan at the end of May from all the Taiwanese notebook designers (Inventec, Pegatron, Wistron, Foxconn, Shuttle, Gigabyte etc..) who design upwards 90% of worldwide notebooks?
- ARM Powered Chromebooks to be released soon (armdevices.net)
- Google 'Chromebook' focuses on enterprise push - Computerworld (news.google.com)
- Google aims at Microsoft with Chromebooks (ft.com)