Right off the bat, let’s file this under fun, speculative conversation.
There are a few camps around this subject and I think a collective conversation with a dose of speculation could give many a chance to voice opinions and, perhaps, help us navigate the topic a bit.
The question up top is one that will play a part in Google’s upcoming Chromebook strategy. Sure, marketing and execution play a massive role in how well any device does in the market, but price is always a key point to consider.
And price is a touchy thing for many people when it comes to Chromebooks.
I want to submit my thoughts as a place for discussion to begin and let you, the readers, finish the debate.
There are all sorts of ways this Chromebook launch may play out, but the divide on Chromebooks and pricing usually fall into one of two camps: keep them cheap or more features, please!
Whichever side of that you find yourself on, I think some conversation can help both sides see the other’s point and maybe gain a bit of understanding.
For me, I’ve long been on the side of more features. The Samsung Chromebook Pro has been the best overall Chromebook experience I’ve had since the beginning of Chromebooks. And there are still more features I’d like it to have. The $550 price tag – considering similar Windows devices are far more expensive – never bothered me much.
Sure, I don’t want pricing to get out of control, but I’m also of the mind that producing, manufacturing, and marketing a top-notch device isn’t cheap.
I do understand that the pure manufacturing cost is far beneath what most devices sell for. I also understand that Google is positioned to do something very subversive and sell high-quality hardware for little or no profit in order to get that same hardware in more hands. With Assistant becoming the gateway for Google to enter into user’s regular habits and their prime income source being ad revenue and data mining, I think there is credit in this way of thinking.
However, regardless of the price of the device, there need to be hefty sums of money at the ready just for marketing and advertising.
Consider Samsung in the pre-Galaxy S3 days. iPhone was so far in the lead it seemed impossible that anyone could have success against them. Fast-forward to today and Samsung’s Galaxy line is a behemoth in the market.
How did this happen?
Marketing. But not just standard marketing. Samsung threw tons of cash at this phone line for years on end and finally moved into the driver’s seat in the smartphone game. While Apple still sells mountains of iPhones, it is worth noting that Samsung moves more phones globally now than Apple does.
My point is, Google needs an even healthier marketing budget for its products than it did last year if it truly wants to succeed in these spaces. They are tackling phones, smart speakers and now laptops. It won’t be cheap. Not at all.
All that planned marketing requires money, and part of that money gets recouped by selling devices.
Consider The Hardware
Also, it is worth considering the hardware that ‘Eve’ looks to contain. A quick recap:
- 7th-gen Kaby Lake m3 or i5
- 8GB or 16GB of RAM*
- High Res Screen
- Convertible Form Factor
- Ultra Thin (possibly 10mm total)*
- Wacom AES Stylus Support (not confirmed if included, but likely will be)
- Backlit Keyboard
- Fingerprint Scanner
- NVMe Storage
- Assistant Built In
- Unique LED setup
*items that we think may be included based on the ‘Bison’ report
With all that hardware, a premium price is expected. Look at a Microsoft Surface or Macbook with those specs. For the Surface, without the keyboard and stylus you are starting at $799 plus $230 for the keyboard and stylus. That is for a device with the Core m3 and 4GB of RAM, no USB-C, and an additional $30 for a keyboard that includes a fingerprint scanner. If we move up to the only 8GB option, we’re easily over $1500.
The rumored $799 price tag doesn’t sound that bad by comparison.
I don’t think I need to line up a Macbook for you to know that all these specs we’re talking about for this new Google Chromebook aren’t that outlandish. Sure I’d love to see it for $500-$600, but I also want to see them make the absolute best device possible and spend ludicrous amounts of money marketing it. By doing so, Chromebooks can finally begin to move into the realm of consumer laptops and become primary computing devices for many, many users.
As I said above, I’d love to see our readers weigh in on this one. Keep it civil. Let’s face it, Google already knows exactly what this thing is going to sell for, so you aren’t accomplishing anything by tearing anyone down, here. I simply want to hear all of your opinions on the matter.
So, the question still stands: how much are you willing to pay for all that ‘Eve’ (ostensibly the next Chromebook Pixel) will come with?
Looking forward to your responses!