When the Google Chromebook was first introduced in 2011, there were plenty of doubters. Apple (AAPL) practically owned the ultraportable market with its MacBook Air line. Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) were continuing to promote Windows Ultrabooks. And tablets were eating up the low end of the portable PC market.
A Google Chromebook would be coming into a crowded marketplace that was already suffering slowing sales. And after the experience of lightweight Netbooks that turned out to be useless in many cases, the expectation for these inexpensive devices was that any Google Chromebook review was bound to be scathing.
When Google and its hardware partners announced they were introducing a third portable PC platform — this one based on Google’s lightweight Chrome operating system — it seemed destined to be one of those Google projects that goes nowhere, like the Nexus Q or Google Buzz. The first generation from Acer and Samsung (SSNLF) failed to win over most critics (it was tough to find a Google Chromebook review from that era that was glowing), but Google didn’t give up.
Subsequent generations of Chromebooks have been much improved. And while you could drop $1,299 for the Google Chromebook Pixel with its ultra high resolution display, to me Chromebooks make more sense in the $250 price range. Then any shortcomings are made up for through sheer value.
That’s the price point of the Samsung Chromebook Series 3 (303C12) I recently spent a few weeks with. Read our Google Chromebook review to see how this Samsung version fared.