Today, Google announced two new computers, the latest Chromebook laptop and a new desktop machine called the Chromebox. After reading Jon Mitchell's thorough review, it became apparent that there's now very little difference in user experience between the Chromebook and a traditional laptop (for example, one from HP that runs on a Windows OS). Should traditional PC manufacturers such as HP - not to mention the world's biggest software provider for laptops, Microsoft - be worried about this? You bet they should. Let's use a specific laptop from HP as an example. Note: This isn't an exact feature comparison, because it's the user experience I'm exploring here. With that disclaimer in mind, I'm going to use the HP Pavilion g6 laptop as my example. I chose it because it was in the "Everyday" category on HP's website, which is basically the same market for Google's Chromebook laptop.
The price points are similar, too. The HP Pavilion g6 is being marketed as "just what you need for everyday life," with words like "reliable" and "just right" being used to describe it. The machine costs $550, but you can get it for $430 after savings. The default OS for the HP Pavilion g6 is Windows 7 Home Premium and it comes pre-loaded with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. The display is 15.6", which admittedly is quite a bit larger than the latest Chromebook's 12.1" display (but let's ignore that for the purposes of this post). It runs on an AMD Dual-Core processor and comes with 4GB of RAM, with a free upgrade to 6GB currently on offer. It has a 500GB Hard Drive, if you include another free upgrade. Google's latest Chromebook - the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550 - will cost between $450 (for the Wi-Fi version) and $550 (for the 3G version). It runs on an Intel Core processor and comes with 4GB of RAM. So if a consumer is looking for a new laptop and has between $450-550 to spend, she may well end up deciding between the Chromebook and an HP Pavilion g6.