Is Mid-Range Chromebook Dead?

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There has been an eerie silence from the Chromebook camp of late. I hoped to hear some Chromebook news from CompuTex but the news was just the opposite.

One can certainly argue whether the following are tablets or laptops but for this post let’s agree on the term “Hybrid” (viz. a tablet with a keyboard). At CompuTex hybrids were all the rage and you have to consider if the design of the Microsoft Surface isn’t driving the market today.

The following are two good Android examples of the concept.

ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity

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  • 10.1-inch 2560×1600 IPS display
  • 1.9GHz quad-core Tegra 4 processor
  • 32GB built-in storage, SD card slot
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5-megapixel rear, 1.2-megapixel front cameras
  • 4K Ultra HD output over HDMI
  • $500 – $600

HP SlateBook x2

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  • 10.2-inch 1900×1200 IPS display
  • 1.8GHz quad-core Tegra 4 processor
  • 16GB built-in storage, SD card slot
  • 2GB RAM
  • 1080p rear, 720p front cameras
  • $470

Samsung June 20th Product Launch – No Chromebooks

The Samsung June product launch is over and it was a big day for Microsoft with Samsung showcasing the following Windows 8 products.

  1. ATIV Tab 3
  2. ATIV One 5
  3. ATIV Book 9 Plus
  4. ATIV Book 9 Light
  5. ATIV Q

The ATIV Q is a chameleon product running Windows 8 and Android. When asked about Chromebooks, Samsung confirmed it will not be refreshing it current mid range Chromebooks.

The Big Chromebook Back To School Gamble

The result of abandoning the middle ground is Google and its partners have boxed the Chromebook into a dull uninteresting position. In the US, the month of July begins the annual back to school marketing period. Apparently Acer is betting its Google chips on a low cost solution; specifically the Acer $199 C710-2856 with an SSD. The specs are minimal which means it comes with a modest Intel Celeron 847 processor running at 1.1 GHz, 2GB of RAM, and an 11.6-inch LED-backlit display with a 1366×768 resolution.

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The marketing goal is to make this product broadly available at retailers like Walmart, BestBuy, and Staples. If price is the deciding factor it could be very successful but when shoppers walk into these retailers they may very well see competing products like the HP SlateBook x2, Samsung ATIV, or Microsoft Surface. In addition there may be a vast assortment of heavily discounted Windows 8 Ivy Bridge solutions.

Will the value be apparent when surrounded by these products?

The irony of all of this is the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity or the HP SlateBook x2 would have made great Chromebooks.

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