According to DigiTimes, Google and its partners Samsung, HP, Acer, Asus and Lenovo are getting ready to launch a major wave of Chromebooks in the 2nd part of this year. Google wants to take advantage of the current weakness of Microsoft with its Windows 8, and especially the almost dead in the water Windows RT OS, and launch a bunch of Chromebooks, presumably at all price levels:
Because of weak demand for Windows 8, Google has been trying to use the chance to expand into the PC industry and with Intel’s aggressive R&D supports as well as AMD’s entrance to the Chromebook market, many brand vendors such as Asustek Computer are reportedly considering to develop related models to counter Microsoft’s dominance.
In some way it feels like Windows 8 was Microsoft’s “gift” to Google, because at least until Windows 9 (which I doubt will improve in a major way over Windows 8 for PC’s), Google has a pretty big window to try to push both Chromebooks and Android notebooks (if they make Android 5.0 more optimized for them) into the market.
If Google is smart here, instead of letting it all “just happen” like they’ve done with Google TV and Android tablets so far, they would use a lot of marketing money to help their partners promote them. That’s how the mainstream market finds out about them, starts buying them, and momentum is built for them, so they aren’t just odd products that only few people buy.
One thing I love about the Chromebook strategy is that just like Windows, is completely owned and controlled by Google, and you get updates from Google every few weeks. I wish Android was at least half as good as the ChromeOS from this point of view, and I wish that’s what Google should’ve done with the “Google Play Edition” program. Instead of letting it all in the hands of OEM’s once again, they should’ve taken control of that program, and manage all those devices themselves. It’s a missed opportunity, and I’m not sure how soon another one like that will appear, if the OEM’s start getting used to this GPE program already.
But at least Google did it right with the Chromebooks, and I’m looking forward to see how many are getting launched this fall, and for what price points. Chromebooks already have 25% of the sub-$300 market, and Google should continue focusing on that market until they fully own it, but at the same time, it could be worth getting into other higher-end markets, too, with Chromebooks.