Dixons and Best Buy start selling Google Chromebooks
Whether people will buy them is another issue
Google I/O Google is trying to get its Chromebook into the mainstream and is starting to push it in retail stores, signing up Best Buy in the US and Dixons in the UK to distribute the ChromeOS systems.
The Chocolate Factory's ChromeOS is the red-headed stepchild of the operating system market. Since its launch last year, the sales of Chromebooks are estimated to have been pitifully small and while Google insists Chromebooks are winning over customers in the education and enterprise spheres, it isn't releasing figures on sales.
Speaking at his keynote address on day two of the I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Sundar Pichai, VP of Chrome applications, said that Google is working with Intel and OEMs to have a new range of Chromebooks to tempt computer buyers this Christmas. He promised that the new hardware will be three times as fast as the first generation of ChromeOS systems, and will have graphics performance equal to a $1,000 conventional laptop.
That may be so, and the latest hardware announced by Samsung last month is certainly better specced than the original Chromebook models. But buyers (and many El Reg readers) have been less than impressed with ChromeOS and the kind of prices OEMs are charging for Chromebooks - $499 for Samsung's latest model, which is a lot for a Celeron-powered machine with just 16GB of storage.
The deal with Best Buy and Dixons gives Google access to the largest physical retail chains in the US and UK, and the Chocolate Factory says similar arrangements are being worked out to expand sales to shoppers in other countries. Whether or not people will buy them is another matter entirely. ®
Dixons sold me a dodgy telly, within a week of purchase it kept turning itself off. They send 4 repairmen over the next three weeks, the last replaced a part in the telly, an EPROM which I thing is the telly memory.
Unfortunately it was a part from a different model and the set up menu was all different! The engineer claimed he had just wanted to get it going for me.
They denied it until I produced the box the part came in. They said they would send another repairman out to which I replied no. They would offer no refund but only a repair.
I took the telly ( remember the big heavy 32 inch ones ) back to the shop put it in the entrance between the auto doors and sat on it. Explained the situation to the manager, threatened trading standards . After twenty minutes of obstructing the entrance and telling people of the poor customer service the manager made a phone call.
The telly was replaced with a more expensive other make they apologised and gave me a complimentary 5 year guarantee. 18 months on, the tube failed, thank you Sony, but that replacement is another story.
graphics performance equal to a $1,000 conventional laptop
That'll come in handy for rendering web-pages.
The case for the defence
OK, I'm going to stick my neck out on Chrome OS & current devices (Chromebox & Chromebook).
My preference has always been for masses of local storage on PCs, Macs & various notebooks.
Will never be a big "Cloud" user.
However, I think there is real potential for Chrome OS & I'll be buying a Chromebox soon.
This will hang off a second DVI port on a 30 inch monitor.
I'll either power on the Chromebox or the PC, depending upon what applications I wish to run.
Also will very likely buy a Chromebook soon in preference to a MacBook Air, not that I need yet another laptop. Give it a few months for the price to fall by £50 - £75.
I'm attracted by silent "instant on" with no application or operating system updates.
No anti-virus & spyware worries. In other words, pretty much "hassle free" computing for web, email & videoconferencing. Plus there's some local storage & USB connections.
Getting really bored with gigabytes of updates on PCs, Macs, iOS devices.
Now that I'm in my twilight years I want to spend more time doing & less IT maintenance.
This is an appealing proposition for everyone but especially schools, sports clubs, internet cafes & for the less expert users. No more IT support required for the IT illiterate.
I'll comment on my experiences in a few months.
Don't much care whether I buy this stuff on Amazon, John Lewis, Dixons or PC World/Currys.
Will also be getting a Nexus 7 in preference to one of the smaller Samsung tablets or Toshiba 7.7 (yet to ship). Vendors need to ship quickly to multiple Channels, post announcement. So kudos to Google.
Hell, I can buy most of a proper computer for that, or a 'real' laptop. I guess it's not really 'expensive', but it's hardly a cheap consumer device at that pricepoint either.
Dixons don't even let you return items if they are faulty