The Google Chromebook could have been so Much More!


You might have heard that the Google Chromebook will be launched on June 15 this year. I’m rather excited but also pretty disappointed. If you watch the video above you can see the huge potential of an operation system that hosts your data and applications online.
The main consideration is actually a physical one. The ability to have a light weight OS running on an equally light weight computer, makes the Chromebook probably a generation ahead of a Mac OS Lion and MacBook Air combo. In fact the physical manifestation of the computer that houses the Chrome OS can be almost anything the user requires. How amazing is that?

So concurrent to the launch of the Chrome OS, there could have been a huge opportunity to define a brand new laptop/netbook archetype! Imagine an awesomely designed ultra thin notebook, or tablet, or a hybrid of both, that could have rivaled even the next generation MacBook Airs? How about a fashion and materials driven communications tool? The opportunities are endless.
Unfortunately for us, the Chrome OS gets married with dinky el-cheapo Netbooks from Samsung or Acer. They could have done a Google Nexus equivalent with the Chromebooks, but instead we got a merger of new world technology with an outdated body.
What an anti-climax. But this is what you get when have one group of people design the software, and another group design the hardware.

4 Comments
  • Prakhar M

    May 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm Reply

    I was speaking with someone who works for Google and he says that the role of Industrial Designers is very limited in the company. I think the few they hire all consult companies who design phones that use Android. Don’t you think Google needs to implement more industrial designers when it comes to the hardware if it wishes to compete more directly with Apple when it comes to operating systems?

  • Aldara B. Dios

    May 14, 2011 at 12:15 am Reply

    Hi Prakhar! I found very interesting your comment. As a Industrial designer I’m agree with you think. Google will have a problem when It comes to the hardware. Industrial designers make much more than nice objects. We try to make “easy to use” objets (for example:the Ipod), innovative objects( the Ipad), etc. Apple is a really hard rival.

  • Bernardus Romero

    May 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm Reply

    This is a design article.
    We designers always think about exiting new categories or even business models. That’s our role, that’s what we are meant to do, but that’s us and we are not too many. Tech geeks think about computers, it’s a fact. Google rocks but obviously they don’t have designers in there, only geeks.
    In these days when personal computing is being rethought (some call it post-PC era), that “Chromebook” or “Nexusbook” could be an one-in-a-lifetime chance to define the way people will use computers, but people need a new brand, a new form factor, a new product category to understand “OK, this is a not-PC, this is beyond, this is future”, like Apple is trying to do with the iPad.
    I completely agree with Brian. These guys are wasting an awesome opportunity. I wish I was in that meeting room with them.

  • Brian

    May 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm Reply

    Sorry for the late reply. Indeed this is a missed opportunity, but the reality is that very few companies can make hardware and software development work well together.
    In my experience, both have different development/design processes and operate on different time lines. As a result, I do not expect, in the near future, to have companies that have a focus in one (say software) to embrace the other and vice-versa.

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