Google Chromebook misses the mark

Google has launched a new cloud based computer called the Chromebook that relies on Google services hosted on the Internet.  But based on Google’s specifications for the device, it seems that Google’s new product misses the mark.

If Google had launched an 11.3″ LCD Android device with a keyboard, 12+ hours of battery life during 720P video playback (using ARM processor) via SDHC storage, and the device can go into deep idle (not sleep) for days, Google might have been onto something.  Instead they give us the worst of all worlds in a device with an aging Intel Atom processor (found in Windows Netbooks) that can only play videos for 5 hours.  It has no hard drive, no Windows 7 license, and it costs $100 more than the typical Windows Netbook.

Paying $100 more for a Netbook without the typical 160 GBs of hard drive storage doesn’t make sense.  The hard drive is very useful for music and video files and still works when there is no Internet connection, not to mention that the hard drive operates at 500 Mbps read speeds.  The only thing more misguided was the crippled $700 Netbook circa 2009.

Update – the Chromebook products being released by Samsung and Acer are based on the newly released Intel Atom N570 dual-core processor.  The problem is that this is based on the older “Pineview” platform with GMA 3150 graphics build into the N570 CPU die which isn’t the strongest graphics performer, and the 8.5 watt TDP of the N570 processor means poor battery life (by tablet standards).  If this was the Intel Z670 “Oaktrail” processor with a 3W TDP and 1080P H.264 video decode capability, that would have been a far more compelling product.  But Chromebooks have no need for legacy Intel x86 PCI compatibility or even x86 compatibility so it would have been even better to use a processor like Intel Moorestown or non-Intel ARM based processors.  That would result in a much lighter product (due to a smaller battery) with far more battery life.