There’s no denying it: Chromebook naming conventions are utterly terrible. Over the course of a decade, the ChromeOS devices that have come and gone have largely become more and more poorly-named in that time, leaving us with new launches of great hardware that have to be referred to like this: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook. That’s no shot to Lenovo; it’s just the first one I thought of off the top of my head.
Now, juxtapose that sort of name with Pixelbook. HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook. Pixelbook Go. You see the vast differences here, right? Not only do Chromebook manufacturers use clunky naming schemes; they also don’t always stick with those schemes or label Chromebooks in such a way as to make them understandable year after year.
If I sent you over to buy the HP Chromebook x360 14c (not the worst name out there), how would you know which one to buy? We make videos here and there attempting to point people in the right direction, but there’s no guarantee that those videos will be seen by enough people to make a difference and we could never make enough content to clarify it all, anyway. Even I get confused by all the models on a very regular basis!
How ‘Chromebook X’ (‘Chromebook Plus’) could fix this issue
I alluded to this in my last post about ‘Chromebook Plus’, but I wanted to fully think this through. If Google utilizes ‘Chromebook Plus’ the way I think they will, naming conventions could definitely be part of the overall solution. Again, things like a certain processor, amount of RAM, storage and a high resolution camera are going to be required, but I still believe it will go deeper than just that.
If Google fully leans in and makes ‘Chromebook Plus’ about more than just specs (and for them to do all of this in the first place alludes to the fact that this will be the case), my hope is that alongside some build quality requirements, they also enforce some naming policies as well.
Like we see with Google’s own Pixelbooks, Microsoft’s Surface lineup, or with Apple’s Macbooks, simple and streamlined naming helps consumers make purchases a bit more easily. If ‘Chromebook Plus’ is to be a way to clarify the shopping experience a bit for consumers (it absolutely is), then it stands to reason that Google might enforce a bit of naming control over the devices set to get the ‘Chromebook Plus’ naming badge.
While not every device can have a succinct name, it would sure be nice if the ‘Chromebook Plus’ lineup could keep things reined in a bit. I think companies like Acer have done a decent job with this, allowing the first number in the model name to indicate the premium level and the second two to indicate size. For example, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is clear enough once you get it: it’s a convertible (spin), it is on the higher end of the spectrum (denoted by the 7) and it is about 13-inches (13.5 to be precise).
But even that system can get messy and hard to understand from the consumer’s standpoint. These new devices likely won’t wake up one day and have cool names like Pixelbook, but it sure would be nice for ‘Chromebook Plus’ devices to have thoughtful, clear, and concise naming that makes it perfectly evident what is being purchased. How manufacturers navigate that and how Google enforces it are clearly up in the air, but it really does need to happen. After all, do you really think your tech-challenged friend or family member even stands a chance in the store when faced with names like ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip? Yeah, I don’t either, and that’s precisely why it’s time for it to change.