The State of the Chromebook
Quck, when did the first Chromebooks (portable computers running Google's Chrome OS platform) arrive? The answer is that the initial Chromebooks went on sale in June of 2011, nearly two years ago.
It's no secret that Chrome OS has not been the same striking success for Google that the Android OS has been. But at the same time, many users have taken notice of the low prices that these portables are offered at, and the many freebies that they come with. For example, the Acer C7 Chromebook, shown here, sells for only $199.
What is the actual state of the Chromebook?
As Ed Bott noted in a recent story:
"In its first week of monitoring worldwide usage of Google's Chrome OS, NetMarketShare reported that the percentage of web traffic from Chromebooks was roughly 2/100 of 1 percent, a figure too small to earn a place on its reports....To put things in perspective, as of April 2013 all Chromebooks combined have managed to achieve 7/10 of 1 percent of the usage of Windows 8 PCs worldwide."
Of course, there are still several remedies that Google can explore, as I've suggested before. In this post, I suggested that it would be wise for Google to subsidize some of the costs and throw in free services for Chrome OS-based portable computers to seed a market for them. In this post, I suggested that Google could offer free storage incentives to accompany new Chromebooks through its brand new Google Drive service. And in this post, I suggested that Google could successfully position Chrome OS as a secondary operating system--much as many of us run Linux alongside proprietary operating systems.
Google, has, in fact been aggressively offering incentives for Chromebook purchases. If you buy the Acer system shown above, for example, you get two years of 100GB of free storage through Google Drive, and 12 free Gogo Internet passes. Also, some users have been buying Chromebooks at low prices simply to put their favorite Linux distros on the machines.
Still, there are some claims showing up arguing that Chromebooks have failed. While it's a little too early to say that, it seems that some new kinds of strategies need to take shape for Chromebooks to grab a bigger part of the portable computing market.