August 14, 2011

Apple MacBook Air vs Google Chromebooks

Apple MacBook Air vs Google Chromebooks

How prominent would sales of the Chromebooks feature in Google’s reported revenues in about a year from now? Ultraportable, secure, 3G connectivity and all-day battery are decent selling points, and so are the prices (relative to market offerings) for the Chromebooks’ two models which Google is touting to redefine our mainstream computing lives. So why are analysts unwilling to forecast meaningful demand for them by consumers? And all too noticeably, the Chromebooks stack up in irony to Apple’s Macbook Air, a rival almost twice as expensive, and yet seemingly cannot be manufactured fast enough for over-eager buyers. Google must have squirmed as the rumors of the latest refresh of the Macbook Air eddied into to reality with the Mac OSX Lion operating system. It certainly cannot be solely due to the ‘demerits’ of Chrome OS and its cloud reliant strategy that the Chromebooks attract very little ‘drag’ from consumers. The Macbook Air is definitely not perfect, and even the latest release will suffer enough gripes from bad-bellying techies and find-nothing-but-faults geeks. Yet consumers can’t wait to spend their money on them. Perceptively, this contrast in fortunes must come down to what Apple ‘knows’ and Google doesn’t (for now at least).

If the litany of products and services released by Google well in advance of their market readiness also eventually find the Chromebooks among their ranks, there should be a hatful of points to begin any inquest from. Google made no effort whatsoever to make the product it is clearly positioning as the central console to access its catalogue of services attractive without the Chrome OS and the cloud. Just ask Macbook Air owners, and many would probably tell you the product may be worth the money just for its aesthetic value; well, not many are exactly gaping in design induced awe at the Chromebooks. The Macbook Air is clearly targeted at those who need everyday computing tasks done on a lightweight, almost always ready for use computer that can also differentiate them in style.

Its selling points clearly outweigh its draw backs because aside from meeting its core purposes, it manages to offer some flexibility like the ability to run Windows, handle basic gaming and at least 64GB to enjoy multimedia at leisure times. In contrast, the guys at Google were counting on everyone rushing for the cloud life because of their ‘great new idea’ that answers all basic computing needs. It is obvious that there was little considerations for a middle option, something to attract consumers aside from their integrated, all-promising ecosystem. A huge lapse in strategy is the lack of accommodation or consideration for a secondary OS which most of their target users would be switching from.

There was and still is, a need to allow for a true, side by side experience which would ultimately win users over to the superiority of their offering. Google should have actively pushed its full version of the Chrome OS into the hands of normal everyday users as an alternative, free to use operating system for at least two years before entering the market place with the Chromebooks. At least that would have guaranteed the Chromebooks a welcome of ‘familiarity’ when they make their grand entry into the competition space. As things stand, Google would have to figure a way to brush up the appeal of its offerings while Apple, as is all too familiar, dominates minds, pockets and the competition.

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