It seems the time is now ripe for the Chromebook to make a comeback to India, at least HP thinks so. “We are looking at customer insights and know that usage patterns are changing and people are moving towards the world of apps and are always connected. And that is why we believe it is the right time to come out with a product like the HP Chromebook,” explained Anurag Arora, category head of consumer personal systems at HP India.
The HP Chromebook x360 is a 14-inch convertible running Google’s Chrome OS and powered by Intel’s 8th Gen Core processors. HP has priced the new device at a very competitive Rs 44,990. But Chromebooks are not new devices. Google introduced the first of these devices in 2011 and in a few years some of these devices were launched in India too. But there was no traction for the segment here.
Arora says with India being a near 90 per cent Android ecosystem, it becomes so much more easier for users to start using the Chromebook. In fact, Chrome OS devices give users full access to the Google Play Store and they can use all the apps they use on the phone. And with the HP Chromebook x360 being a convertible they can use the apps with touch too in the tablet mode.
“In the last five years, there has been a whole lot of data access, data availability across India, and the kind of data rates that we have are the lowest in the world. People are accessing data, videos, and it’s just a whole new deal,” says Arora, explaining how there is a whole new flavour to how Indians are working on their consumption devices.
Arora said their consumer insights showed the Gen Y users would like to move to a larger screen for work. “If you have been brought up on the Android ecosystem, then it is easy for them to transfer their work and start creating on the ecosystem they have been consuming on,” he added.
HP is also hopeful of institutional purchases for this segment, given that a lot of Indian companies and startups now use Google for work. While Arora did not compare the performance advantages in comparison to a Windows device, he said what the Chrome ecosystem really brings on the table is the fact that “it is much lighter”, occupying only about 100MB of space.
Arora said compared to the earlier Chromebooks, the new one stands out for its ability to work offline. “Then over the past five years, see how the app ecosystem has exploded. From the apps we had then to the apps we have now, it is a whole new world. Also, then it was more of a clamshell form factors and now we have convertibles.”
Arora said the always-on form factor, which it introduced in India with the Chromebooks earlier this year, will come down to all the other products too in the future.