I spend about a third of my work day living in a browser. I spend mornings alternating between managing incoming mail and doing my morning reading, which also often involves postings to various social networks.
He makes good points, and there is no doubt the Chromebook is more of a niche product than, say, an iPad. But to say there are absolutely zero good reasons might mislead people who can, in fact, benefit from a Chromebook.
Larry draws a very cool Venn diagram in which he identifies two main vectors: the Windows/Mac vector (including Windows tablets) and the iOS/Android tablet vector.
His main premise is this: "There's nothing you can do with a Chromebook that you can't do with a Windows laptop running Chrome." And, in fact, he is correct.
Chromebooks are cheap. Really cheap. Mine cost $239. Sure, you can get cheap PCs for about $350, but they're very, very low-end and not nearly as svelte as my tiny MacBook Air-sized Chromebook. You can't get a MacBook Air-sized Ultrabook for anything near $239.
So, if you want a very small and light Windows laptop, be prepared to pay more. Quite a lot more.
Second, though, is this. Getting set up and running on my new Chromebook took five minutes. Period.
I turned it on, logged into my Google account, and all my bookmarks and Chrome extensions were there. I could go to work (and, in fact, did) in far less time than it's taking me to write this article.
My iPad and even my Nexus 7 couldn't do that. While both run Chrome, they run a mobile edition, so my extensions aren't available and my bookmarks aren't in the same place as my work machine.
Worse, because the iPad and Nexus don't run all the typical browser extensions (Flash comes to mind), I can't get into the learning management system for school and can't grade or correspond with students.
Tablets don't let me do my morning reading or grading nearly as smoothly as the Chromebook. Oh, and did I mention that even the Nexus 7 costs more than a Chromebook?
I haven't had to run Windows Update on my Chromebook. I haven't had to wait on a reboot. I haven't had to fight iOS. I haven't had to wonder why I can't access a Web site. I haven't had to try to reinvent my daily working pattern because all my browser are gone. I haven't had to tweak or modify or even install Chrome. And I haven't had to deal with a Frowny Face of Death.
Did I mention this thing cost $239?
In summary, there are definitely reasons to get a Chromebook. Price is certainly one reason. A second reason is compatible access to the PC or Mac browsing experience without the fuss of managing a PC or a Mac. I manage a lot of gear, and it's nice once in a while to have a machine that doesn't automatically spawn to-do items.
Does the Chromebook replace my Nexus 7 or my iPad? Of course not. I'm not going to read the Chromebook while sitting in the throne room, and it won't fit under the teleprompter screen like the iPad. That said, I do use the Chromebook far more than I use the iPad -- but that makes sense because I live so much of my time in the browser.
So there you are. The Chromebook does fill a niche, but there are also good reasons to buy it compared to other devices.
P.S. My ZDNet colleague Andrew Brust points out that the Microsoft Office Web apps work great on his Chromebook, so you get one other very nice benefit in a very inexpensive and easy-to-maintain machine.