Why does Google insist that Chromebooks are the ugly duckling?

I doubt many of us expected Google to unveil a shiny new Chromebook at IO 2022, but it seems the tech giant was missing a beat by not doing so, especially if it wants to attract an audience. larger audience.

Chromebooks have dominated the educational space and have become a favorite among seniors because they can be a very affordable way to access the internet, but despite the potential appeal of Chromebooks, they can be a tough sell to professionals and consumers. young adults.

It’s a real shame considering how many benefits they offer to those who are strapped for cash. The hardware itself is cheap, it’s less vulnerable to viruses because it doesn’t depend on installing software, and many productivity tools like Microsoft 365 have online chromium-based alternatives like Google Docs and Google Sheets.

I think Chromebooks have an image problem. Going for cheaper components or technology is one thing to cut costs, but why do so many Chromebooks still seem like they belong in 2014? Even 2-in-1 models such as the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 have chunky bezels and a stark contrast between the dated silver and glossy black used on the chassis, which is enough to make anyone feel like a to use a laptop designed for grannies.

They’re just not “sexy” enough to draw attention to the influx of affordable Windows or macOS laptops, and the few luxury Chromebook deals that are available are so expensive that it feels like buying the computer equivalent of a fancy sports car with a go-kart engine.

A wall of colorful Croc shoes on display in a store

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Monticello)

The Google Pixelbook is a prime example, described on Google’s online store as a “high-performance Chromebook” priced at $999. For the same price, you can buy yourself a Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 or even an M1-powered MacBook Air, both of which offer more performance, more modern components and better battery life… so why settle for the lower option?

Even the more affordable Pixelbook Go, which is a better deal thanks to its generous specs (and a firm favorite of our own Matthew Hanson) didn’t show up on most public radars, which is a real shame because it’s a really fantastic product, despite being released in 2019.

Google hasn’t really made much noise about the Pixelbook Go, which is part of the problem, but I think Chromebooks as a whole just need to look better. They age fantastically, especially compared to Windows-based laptops, because they don’t depend as much on their components, but if you make a cheap laptop look cheap, it will be rejected in favor of something sleeker, shinier, and…well, sexier. .

It is not an impossible task. Just look at how other brands have transformed in recent years, and my favorite example is Crocs.

Back when I was younger and more shy about adhering to fashion trends, Crocs were the shoe of choice for older gardeners and young kids at the beach. The general public ruthlessly mocked anyone outside of these categories, and it was hard to imagine a brand that could be less fashionable at the time.

These days, Crocs are all the rage with young and old after what I suspect are heavy marketing investments (given the influx of celebrity-focused ad campaigns) and a few product updates that include customization options and more color varieties.

Bring color to our lives Google

Samsung Galaxy Chromebooks

(Image credit: Samsung)

Crocs aren’t the only colorful inspiration that makes me nostalgic for some affordable and trendy Chromebooks. Apple has been teasing an update to its MacBook Air line of laptops for several months, which many analysts say will be redesigned to feature a selection of different colored chassis options, just like the 24-inch iMac released in 2021 and the 4th generation iPad Air in 2022.

And Apple isn’t the only brand injecting color back into its products, with Samsung also launching a range of pastel-toned M8 smart monitors. It’s nice that we can color coordinate our technology and accessories, while most of the computing world is still a shade of matte black or muted silver, more variety is becoming available.

We’ve already seen the potential for a stylish Chromebook thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, a stunning, modern device available in a conservative Mercury Gray or bright Fiesta Red. It’s eye-catching and different, something the Chromebook market badly needs, but the high price of $999 for the Galaxy Chromebook is just too expensive for people looking for a ChromeOS device.

Google is going to have to balance both affordability and glamor if it wants to appeal to a more aesthetically conscious audience. By making Chromebooks so affordable in droves, the technology has become a cheap alternative to laptops for many, although not in some circumstances.

Unless a new Pixelbook Go can be cheap but look expensive, Chromebooks will never catch the eye of young adults and fashion-conscious professionals.

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