Often when I write about Chromebooks, somebody chimes in with a comment about how they’re not “real” laptops, and people would be better off buying a Windows machine. When I write about a Chromebook that costs more than $400, someone will inevitably complain that it’s too much money to spend on a laptop with a crippled OS.
But the thing about Chrome OS is that it’s an operating system much like any other. As About Chromebooks points out in a recent op-ed on the topic, Google emphasizes speed, simplicity, and security. Chrome OS runs reasonably well on entry-level hardware, but like most operating systems, it runs even better on devices with faster processors or more RAM. And things like high-quality displays, keyboards, and touchpads cost money.
Not everyone wants to use an operating system designed around a web browser. But these days many Windows and Mac users spend most of their time in a web browser anyway, and Chromebooks can also run Android and Linux applications.
So while Chromebooks may not be the best option for everyone, asking why there are expensive models is kind of like asking why there are expensive Windows laptops. Of course, I’m sure there are folks who are asking that question, especially when we see new models with price tags north of $3,500.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news (and opinion) from around the web.
- Best Buy just laid off 5,000 workers and will close more stores [CNN]
Just days after Fry’s announced it was closing up shop, Best Buy announces layoffs and store closings. But this probably isn’t the end of Best Buy so much as the latest step in a transition. 40% of its sales are now online, up from 19% two years ago.
- F.C.C. Approves a $50 Monthly High-Speed Internet Subsidy [The New York Times]
The FCC has approved a program that will provide up to $50 per month to low-income households to help offset the costs of broadband internet. Households on Native American lands qualify for up to $75/month.
- This Is the Galaxy XCover 5, Samsung’s Next Rugged Smartphone [@evleaks]
Samsung Galaxy XCover 5 rugged smartphone leaked, with 5.3 inch, 1600 x 900 display, Exynos 850 CPU, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, 4G LTE support, and a rugged bumper case.
- The case for expensive Chromebooks [About Chromebooks]
In a nutshell, they’re laptops that run Chrome OS. Why wouldn’t they be available at a range of price points, just like Windows, Mac, or Linux laptops?