Chromebooks Find Success Over the Holidays
As we've reported, while market research findings have been very bleak for PCs and PC equipment makers, Chromebooks--portable computers based on Google's Chrome OS platform--have continued to sell, although we continue to see stories online like "Why there's no good reason to buy a Chromebook." Just recently, a bunch of big hardware makers have either delivered Chromebooks or announced plans to deliver them. HP, Lenovo, Acer and Samsung are among vendors with sub-$300 Chromebooks, and Dell is about to join the ranks. But debate has swirled over whether the devices are really selling well.
Now, some holiday metrics are rolling in, and they show Chromebooks doing quite well indeed.
"On Thursday, Amazon.com called out a pair of Chromebooks -- one from Samsung, the other from Acer -- as two of the three best-selling notebooks during the U.S. holiday season. The third: Asus' Transformer Book, a Windows 8.1 "2-in-1" device that transforms from a 10.1-in. tablet to a keyboard-equipped laptop."
"As of late Thursday, the trio retained their lock on the top three places on Amazon's best-selling-laptop list in the order of Acer, Samsung and Asus. Another Acer Chromebook, one that sports 32GB of on-board storage space -- double the 16GB of Acer's lower-priced model -- held the No. 7 spot on the retailer's top 10."
There has also been evidence from market researchers that Chromebooks are doing well in specific markets. As reported by Bloomberg a few months ago, based on market research from NPD, Chromebooks had grabbed 20 percent to 25 percent of the U.S. market for laptops that cost less than $300 earlier this year, making them a fast growing subset of the PC industry.
It's hard to know whose numbers are most accurate, but there is no question that the prices are right on these devices. Acer recently slashed the price on its Chromebook, making it available for $200. These kinds of prices will continue to attract school systems, if not business buyers. There are also good reasons to believe that Google will step up incentives for buyers of Chromebooks. Google has already explored this avenue. For example, buyers of Chromebooks have been getting 100GB of free Google Drive storage, free WiFi when flying, Google Play incentives and more.
Even as the prices remain low for Chromebooks more promising systems are coming out. I covered Dell's upcoming sub-$300 Chromebook here, noting that it allows you to bypass Google's cloud services and has very nice hardware specs. It has an 11-inch display, a top-notch Intel chip,a 16 GB solid state drive, a 720p webcam, ten hours of rated battery life, and all the right connectivity ports.
Portable computers based on Google's Chrome OS will help introduce many users to the conventions of cloud computing and the interface of the Chrome browser. Look for their success to continue in 2014.