Chromebook: Pogue’s verdict

Good review of the Chromebook by David Pogue. His conclusion:

Maybe the Chromebook concept would fly if it cost $180 instead of $500. Maybe it makes more sense if you rent it (students and corporations can lease Chromebooks for $20 to $30 a month). Maybe it will fly once this country gets free coast-to-coast 4G cellular Internet, which should be just after hell freezes over.

For now, though, you should praise Google for its noble experiment. You should thrill to the possibilities of the online future. You should exult that somebody’s trying to shake up the operating system wars.

But unless you’re an early-adopter masochist with money to burn, you probably shouldn’t buy a Chromebook.

His main complaint is that the assumption of ubiquitous Internet connectivity on which the Chromebook depends simply doesn’t correspond with everyday reality. Sad but true.

On the other hand, some of his criticisms of the device in its first-release state could also have been levelled at Apple’s iPad when it first appeared (and indeed were levelled by me). But the avalanche of useful Apps that subsequently arrived had the effect of offsetting many of the device’s original limitations. This will also happen with the Chromebook.