So the big announcement to come out of today’s session of Google’s I/O conference has been the introduction of the the Samsung and Acer notebooks sporting Google’s ChromeOS. Apparently it will be coming out in three flavors: consumer, business, and education.
For the consumer variation Acer will be available for $349 and the Samsung will be priced at $429 for the WiFi version whereas the 3G version will go for $499. You’ll be able to pick them up at Amazon and Best Buy online.
Now comes the interesting part: business and education – they are both available via a subscription model.
For businesses looking to hop on the cloud notebook bandwagon it will cost the companies $28 per user. This will be a separate thin desktop client offering from Samsung.
The third option is for schools and will offer the Chromebooks for a subscription of $20 per student and like Chrome for business will be available as of June 15.
This sounds really great but there is one big problem that isn’t being answered in any of the breathless hoopla surrounding this announcement. What about support?
Say what you will about Google but if there is one common complaint you hear about the company is that it’s support – well it sucks. Just check any of the Google Group threads regarding its current products and you will see that customer support definitely isn’t one of Google’s strong suits.
It’s one thing to offer your products for free because there is the implied caveat that you are on your own; but once you start charging for products and services all bets are off. Once you start receiving money for your products you have legal responsibilities to those customers.
So it is one thing to bring something like Chromebook to market but is Google going to be able to ramp up the support system it is going to need?