Here’s the truth: there are many consumers who can feel better about a massive purchase at an Apple Store simply because they know their investment is covered in multiple ways.
First, there’s the standard one year warranty.
Next up is AppleCare that can extend the warranty and provide drop/spill protection.
Last is the store itself and the paid repairs available to the consumer in the event things go south.
Because of these value-adding services, Apple customers gain a certain level of comfort when spending thousands of dollars on Apple hardware.
Google’s Coverage Has Been Poor
Google’s post-sale support for consumers hasn’t been historically great. As they rolled out the #madebyGoogle line of devices, they also began offering extended warranties on some of those products.
Most notably, the Pixel and Pixel XL with their large price tags definitely needed something beyond the standard 365 days of coverage and an additional drop/spill protection.
This option was not available for the last two Pixel Chromebooks, though, and that has been a serious barrier to adoption.
Now, we all know Google wasn’t after any real market share with the first two Chromebook Pixels. There was never any real push or any marketing around them, and most people couldn’t fathom why they would buy such nice hardware for such a limited OS.
We’ve talked at length about why we feel the Pixelbook could be something very different and we’ll continue to spur discussion leading up to the event on October 4th. One of the things we feel make Pixelbook different is the fact that it is part of the #madebyGoogle lineup.
While it’s easy to say Google didn’t intend to sell Chromebook Pixels in the past, the move of this device to the #madebyGoogle line definitely makes you think twice about Google’s intentions this time around.
And if that intention is to market and sell many of them, they will need to figure out how to improve the poor customer support that has plagued the previous Chromebook Pixels.
Pricey Hardware Needs Extended Support
When people think about whether or not to plunk down $1200-$1750, they need to know that there are warranty, extended warranty, and repair options available.
We aren’t’ talking about sub-$300 purchases any longer. You can argue all day that extended warranties and repairs are silly for devices this cheap. I’d tend to agree.
But when I’m getting into 4 figures, I want to know that I can keep my investment around for a while and not worry about elements going out on me 18 months in with no way to get them fixed.
Look, hardware fails and despite testing, it is tough to know how something will hold up over time. As a consumer, I don’t want to invest this much money if I don’t know that Google will stand behind me a couple years in if something goes bad.
Right now, I have no idea how Google would handle a repair setup. They don’t have physical stores all over the country like Apple, so I have no idea how they could do what Apple does.
They could, however, offer a very robust extended warranty for a small fee, similar to Apple Care or Google’s own device protection. For $99, you get 2 years of warranty and drop/spill coverage.
I’d contend that for the Pixelbook, they need to make that a longer term. Perhaps they can extend the accidental protection: I get that you can’t replace devices for years when people have accidents. I could see Google offering a 3-5 year warranty extension alongside the 2-year accident protection.
In this way, even if I don’t have a repair solution, I have a replacement solution. With Chromebooks being so easy to move between, as long as I had a replacement quickly, any issue would likely get resolved just as quick as a repair at a local store.
Either way, Google MUST do better than they did with the previous Chromebook Pixels. If they are going to make this a consumer product in the #madebyGoogle line, this is essential for the Pixelbook’s success.
We’ve talked about the price. We’ve talked about what Google might be doing with the storage. We’ve talked about the name and what the broader plans could be. If you are still in the camp that isn’t even interested due to the price, I’d encourage you to read those posts and their comments sections.
There could be many reasons for consumers to buy this thing. But this final piece will need to be in place for people to truly buy in to what Google is selling. As we’ve said many times before, October 4th can’t come soon enough!