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Google's $249 Laptop: Can It Really Hurt Apple?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet contributor Anton Wahlman wrote two articles last week on Google's (GOOG) new $249 Chromebook laptop.

  • Google Drops the Neutron Bomb: $249 Laptop
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    It's lighter. Thinner. Cheaper. Cooler (temperature-wise). And Wahlman is in love with the thing. I hate to be a party pooper, but I'm here, armed with a wet blanket.

    Wahlman calls the Chromebook "revolutionary" because it doesn't have a fan. I call my Macbook Pro with Retina Display revolutionary because I can't tell that it does have a fan; the darn thing is so quiet.

    Wahlman repeatedly uses superlatives such as "beautiful" and "superior" to describe Google's laptop.

    He noted that you can buy the new Chromebook, along with Google's Nexus 7 tablet, for $51 less than a base model Microsoft (MSFT) Surface tablet. With that calculation, Wahlman proclaimed: "Game over."

    Wahlman drives home, repeatedly, how much cheaper Google's Chromebook is than Apple's (AAPL) Macbook Air.

    It retails for 75% less, you can buy four for the price of one entry-level Apple laptop and it costs less than the "cheapest" iPad.

    The last thing I want to see is Apple, or even Microsoft, slum it in response to what Wahlman considers incredible innovation from Google.

    But, that aside, I need to know why Wahlman considers this thing a game changer?

    He thinks if Google just did some marketing and opened up a couple hundred retail outlets, Apple would feel the pressure. Microsoft would be put out of its misery.

    His core point revolves around the notion that the $249 Chromebook is really all most people need. That's an insult to "most people."

    The Google description doesn't put it quite so bluntly, but the new Chromebook amounts to a laptop you might buy your parents, grandparents or a young child. Given specs such as 2GB of RAM, I'm not sure it could adequately handle what my nine-year old daughter would throw at it. It's a secondary computer or mid-range tablet at best.

    Wahlman never mentions, and Google buries, the whole 2GB of RAM thing. But that's pretty important.

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