Any time somebody puts out a laptop that costs $250, they have my attention. And Google has just announced one really cheap little laptop.
More specifically, they’ve announced a Chromebook, though. That’s a bit different from the laptops you’re used to, and it has both benefits and drawbacks.
Essentially, a Chromebook is built on Google’s services: The idea is that instead of storing software on your computer, you use cloud-stored software for that purpose. So instead of opening Microsoft Word, you’d be composing your report on Google Docs. Instead of using iTunes, you’d be streaming music over Google Music, and so on.
This has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are long battery life and a ridiculously fast boot: It literally takes less than ten seconds to have a Chromebook up and running. Then, of course, there’s also price. You won’t have to buy software and you won’t have to update it either.
The tech specs are pretty solid: This isn’t a speed demon but it’s not a Yugo, either. It’s also tiny, just .8 of an inch thick. The main downside is that all your storage is in the cloud… And Google only guarantees you 100GB of free storage for two years. What happens when the two years are up? Hope you have a card on Google Wallet.
Which brings us to the main problem: Your entire digital life will have to be tied to Google. Right now I’d say have a Chromebook handy as a backup, or for guests, but for day-to-day use, unless you’re a hardcore Google fan, stick with a full-fledged laptop or tablet.
Samsung Chromebook [Google]