My enthusiasm for my Cr-48 would’ve caused me to pitch this grand marketing strategy to Larry Page:
“OK Larry, here’s what we are going to do. Let’s get those Chromebooks out there! Put them in vending machines, supermarkets, coffee shops. Heck, sell them public restrooms. You never know when you are going to get that impulse buy. And by all means, don’t sell them for $500 dollars.”
My plan would’ve single handily set back cloud computing a few centuries.
User: Hello tech support? I’m having issues with my Chromebook.
Support: Sure, what can I help you with?
User: Microsoft Office. I can’t install Microsoft Office on this machine.
Support: Sorry, but Microsoft Office can’t be installed on a Chromebook.
User: Then how will I write documents? What about iTunes?
Support: Sorry, iTunes isn’t compatible with the Chromebook either.
User: How am I going to sync my iTunes library now? What kind of defective crap have you sold me? I want my money back. I’m getting a REAL computer.”
Other platforms ask us to invest in the software made for their platform. The Chromebook asks us to invest in the Internet and that is something we are not accustomed to seeing as an investment. It’s just there, silently but surely getting better and richer with features. The majority of consumers are still heavily invested in legacy computing and are accustomed to its ways, even if some of those ways are unnecessarily cumbersome.
Google is saying we don’t need any of that. They also know that changing habits can take time.
Without divesting in the old way, your user experience isn’t going to be what it could be and the whole notion of cloud computing is diminished. Google knows this, which explains some things about its approach to selling Chromebooks. Sundar Pichai says “Part of the reason it’s not in physical retail is our goal is not to push a lot of these, we want people to know what they’re buying. Online gives a check. In the physical world you might accidentally walk out with a Chromebook. I don’t want that to happen.”
In other words, Google wants to be sure you are in. Chromebooks are designed to optimize the user experience of the Internet, so going from Chrome browser to a Chromebook, you’ll feel the difference. When asked why the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 Chromebook price was on the costlier side, Samsung senior manager of integrated marketing communications Jason Redmond said “the pricing of the first Chromebooks reflects the added value of Samsung’s 12.1-inch, 1280 by 800 SuperBright display, long-lasting Power Plus batteries and ease-of-use features like an extra-large trackpad.”In a sense, switching to a Chromebook requires the same kind of thought and dedication as say switching to a Mac from Windows, but easier. I’ve been using Chrome browser for a long time and when Google started the Chrome OS Pilot Program, I knew it was for me. I knew this is where I wanted to take my computing. I just made a few adjustments and I was in the cloud. When my Cr-48 showed up on my doorstep, I was ready and it felt great to be free of all that other stuff that I didn’t use in the first place. My experience of the Internet itself was enhanced.
The strange thing is that while people may not know it yet, they are already choosing the Internet and gravitating towards the browser based interface. While Apple may tout the slogan “there is an app for that,” a recent statistic may give Apple execs something to ponder: 58% of mobile web users get their content fix through browsers. The newly discovered convenience of mobile technology is slowly but surely “rewiring” our user expectations with regards to computing: the browser interface is becoming more dominant in how we interact with computers.
Chrome OS simply cuts to the chase.