This could be pretty disruptive.
Remember the CR-48, Google’s netbook-ad-Chrome OS? It’s all grown up, and it’s now the Google Chromebook, a platform for almost-instant-on Chrome OS PCs (mini-laptop and desktop form-factors) with in-store hardware from Acer and Samsung on its way in June, starting at $399.
If that were the announcement, I wouldn’t be writing this post. It got a little more interesting when they pointed out that all of your info lives in the cloud (currently courtesy of box.net, with Dropbox support forthcoming). So you pick up any Chromebook - one you’ve never even touched before, login and there’s all your stuff. That’s pretty awesome. The OS updates itself, with no user-interaction required. Let’s call that a mostly good feature with a bit of Orwellian fear shading it slightly creepy.
It got really interesting when they announced Chromebook for business. All of the above plus remote management via a web console, support, warranty and replacements, and hardware auto-updates. For $28 a month. $20 for educational institutions. That’s a pretty darned compelling competitor to similar packages I’ve seen with Windows hardware. It’s certainly cheaper than any I’ve seen. It’s stands to be seen how many people can really make their living working on in a Chrome OS environment all day, but I do think that’s more people than you’d expect these days. How much of your workflow is web-based?