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Google's $199 Laptop for a Blue Christmas

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- TheStreet contributor Anton Wahlman wrote an article -- Google Ups The Ante: $199 Laptop -- on another low-priced piece of Google (GOOG - Get Report) hardware before anybody else even sniffed it coming.

This comes after Wahlman's coverage of Google's $249 laptop.

For his work, I praise him.

Beyond that, I can't subscribe to the notion that there's anything even remotely encouraging about Google's approach.

In fact, the whole WalMartization of tech is bad for the space.

For as crazy as Microsoft ( MSFT - Get Report ) CEO Steve Ballmer might be, you've got to at least credit the guy for not selling out and undercutting Apple (AAPL - Get Report) on price.

Wahlman gleefully lists Google's alleged bargains: A $349 smartphone that's $300 less than an iPhone; the $149 Nexus 7 tablet counters the $329 iPad mini; the 10-inch model is $100 cheaper than iPad 4; and Google's new Samsung and Acer Chromebook builds come in 60% to 80% less expensive than most new Windows 8 laptops and Apple Macbooks.

If this is what tech has come to the space is in worse shape than I thought.

When it became clear Apple was going to do iPad mini, I feared a $199 product. At least Tim Cook stayed somewhat true to Steve Jobs-form by building a high-quality tablet at a premium price.

If Apple jumped into the low-priced gutter with Google and (AMZN), it would have been akin to saying we give up.

There's this flawed notion that if a product is more affordable, its maker accomplished some incredible feat.

From a business perspective, this is not a case of Amazon breaking even on mediocre hardware to drive e-commerce sales. Instead, it's Google "competing" against Apple the only way it can -- on price.

This is Google!

You mean to tell me there's not enough talent in the building, available for hire or at Motorola to put together top-of-the-line laptops -- even if in conjunction with Samsung and Acer -- that generate profits, respectable margins and a top-notch user experience?

All Google can do is give us a glorified Web surfer and market it as a spare computer or something that gets knocked around in a hotel lobby?
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