From the moment we got hands on the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 at CES 2020, we’ve been questioning when we could get one in the office for review. With the success of the Flip C434 and the Flip C302 before it, ASUS has built up quite the name in the Chromebook space when it comes to delivering a great build quality, great user experience, and great aesthetics. All of the previous flagship Flip Chromebooks (including the Flip C100 and 101) all pushed the current boundaries of Chrome OS and were among the first in their peer group to have things like convertible hinges, backlit keys, industrial builds, and ultra-slim bezels.
The Flip C436 is no different as it is among the first-ever Project Athena certified Chromebooks coming to market this year. Currently, only the Flip C436 and Samsung Galaxy Chromebook hold that distinction, and the Flip C436 has routinely been touted as being available weeks before Samsung’s latest.
When the initial listing for the Flip C436 went up on Amazon, the date attached was a very-appealing February 24th. That listing was quickly taken down and only resurfaced a few days ago with no timeline attached. Pricing matches up to what we previously had, with the Core m3 model coming in at $799 and the Core i5 at $999. Speaking with our ASUS representative, it was confirmed that the timeline for release was not right on the initial listing and that things had been slightly delayed until mid-March.
Today, however, it seems the Amazon listing has been updated and a release date has been appended: April 26th. Ouch. That puts the release of this highly-anticipated Chromebook a full two months away after many excited users have already waited nearly two months for the ability to even pre-order it. While ASUS has never put itself on an official time table, here, this sort of double delay feels extra painful. To be fair, we’re seeing reports from those who pre-ordered saying that delivery will happen between March 17 and May 5, so they may have already sold out of the stock they expect to have for the mid-March statement we heard prior.
Considering this Chromebook’s top competition looks slated for an April 6th release, a big advantage ASUS had going into this next season of flagship Chromebook sales has not only been removed: it has been subverted. As it looks now, Samsung will be the first to the party with their next-get Galaxy Chromebook and steal the thunder of being the first to market with a powerful, Project Athena Chromebook.
From our time with both devices at CES 2020, I can say I do favor the Samusung and was very glad that ASUS would have a bit of a head start before the Galaxy Chromebook threatened to steal away the spotlight. If this Amazon listing is correct, it seems that simply won’t be the case. Instead, I fear ASUS is missing a big window of opportunity with this delay. In a season where little is happening from a hardware standpoint, now is the time to get your device out into the public eye. I’d bet in just a few months we’ll be inundated with new Chromebook arrivals and announcements, and ASUS will have just another Chromebook to talk about instead of the Chromebook to talk about.
For ASUS and for the Chromebook user community as a whole, I hope that isn’t the case and I sincerely hope the Flip C436 does well, sells well, and delights tons of users. I simply wish it would do it now when no other device is.