5. Google Hits the Books
Google (GOOG - Get Report) should have Googled "netbook" before it took the big plunge into Chromebook.
Seemingly unaware of the short, tragic history of the cheap, underpowered mini-notebook category, Google now holds up its breakthrough invention in personal computing: the Chromebook -- a cheap, underpowered mini-notebook with a three-year contract.
Google says it will sell the
Chromebooks starting at $379, with a WiFi cloud-connection fee of $28 a month for business users and $20 for students. Business users and students will also have to sign on to three-year contracts.
Google's timing couldn't be more perfect. Not only have people run in horror away from netbooks, they've embraced a new type of device in the low-end niche -- the tablet, or
(AAPL - Get Report)
iPad, to be specific.
And while netbooks had their rampant shortcomings, Google has managed to take the trend a whole lot further. Unlike the netbooks of a few years ago that had an operating system people were familiar with, Google is asking people to sever their lifelong ties to
(MSFT - Get Report)
Windows by pushing a new Chrome operating system tethered to the cloud.
Google's Chromebook has a much better chance with new users, drenched with broadband access and already comfortable with the cloud and its
. This also happens to be same group that's buying smartphones and iPads.
Good luck Google.