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TheStreet Open House

Google Ups the Ante: $199 Laptop

1. Weight: The Samsung is 2.5 lbs compared to Acer's 3.0 lbs.

2. Battery life: The Samsung is 6.5 hours compared to Acer's 3.5 hours.

3. SSD reliability: The Samsung won't suffer a hard drive breakdown.

4. Heat and fans: The Samsung doesn't have any.

Who would buy the $199 Google laptop over the $249 version? They may be schools, storage freaks, or those who do computing-intensive tasks, perhaps gamers. It's somewhat unclear until I have had a chance to actually use the Acer.

Here is the larger point, though: At $199 or even $249, Google may have granted the world an entry ticket into "disposable computing." For Christmas this year, why not buy half a dozen? It's only $1,200 or $1,500 depending on the version. One for each child and relative.

Other use cases: Put a Chromebook in every room, at home as well as at your office. They are inherently multi-user in architecture, so you never have to be afraid that someone else will mess with your settings, access your documents or email, or attract a virus. You are completely sandboxed from your kids, other family members, visitors, colleagues and other guests. Painless and safe.

In the old paradigm, you would take your laptop from work to home, then back to work again. Unless you have to stop and use it somewhere along the way, the Chromebook allows you to forget about this transport. A Chromebook is essentially the same experience whether you own it or not. Your documents are most likely always accessible from any Chromebook you happen to have in front of you.

Users of Microsoft and Apple PCs sometimes laugh at Chromebooks. Often, I think that nervous laugh is mostly because they can't admit that they just spent anywhere from $500 to $2,500 on a laptop that will require many trips back to the store, back to the antivirus program and back to the update button. And we didn't want to get rid of those trips, did we?

Well, Google did.

At the time of publication, the author was long GOOG, AAPL and MSFT.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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