Debate Swirls Over Chromebook Sales

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 18, 2013

Throughout this year, market research news has been quite dreary for PCs and PC equipment makers. But, as we've reported, sales of new-generation Chromebooks running Google's Chrome OS platform have reportedly been rising. School systems and businesses have been buying the devices, and manufacturers including HP and Acer have signed on to produce Chromebooks.

Suddenly, though, there are debates going on online about whether these devices make sense, and some writers are even questioning whether they really are selling well. If you've been considering getting a Chromebook, it's worth tuning into the hubbub. 

ZDNet recently ran a column titled "Why there's no good reason to buy a Chromebook." The author writes:

"But what does a Chromebook do? It runs Chrome. So can a Windows laptop. So can a MacBook...The idea of the hybrids like the Surface is to address all these different sets of user needs. It's a tablet. It's a laptop computer running Windows and Office and all your other Windows programs. It runs Chrome, and therefore does everything a Chromebook does, and the cost is not all that different."

Yet another ZDNet column cites some new IDC research that apparently shows Chromebooks struggling in the market. It reports:

"In the entire 3rd calendar quarter of 2013, the leading Chromebook vendor, Samsung, shipped only 652,000 devices, and IDC says every other vendor had shipments that represented 'tiny volume."

There are of course, conflicting reports, and year end research numbers may settle this debate. 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.

And, last but not least, several OStatic readers have written in saying that they want to purchase Chromebooks simply to put their favorite Linux distros on the devices. Are you a happy Chromebook user? If so, tell us why.