Microsoft’s worst nightmare used to be a world where the media tablet category got so hot that it ate into PC sales. That nightmare is no longer a nightmare, however, because it has become a reality. Taking its place, then, is a world where computers powered by Google’s Chrome OS are just as capable and versatile as Windows computers. Unfortunately for the Redmond, Washington-based technology giant, that nightmare has become a reality as well. More →
We were surprised last year when Microsoft started launching an anti-Chromebook ad campaign because, quite frankly, we’d never see anyone really use a Chromebook in the wild before and Chromebooks were nowhere to be found on usage statistics published by NetMarketShare. A few weeks later, however, we started hearing stories about Chromebook usage surging in schools although we didn’t have any real data to back up such claims. Now, however, The Wall Street Journal directs our attention to new research from Futuresource Consulting showing that Chromebooks’ share of the K-12 market for tablets and laptops exploded from just 1% in 2012 to 19% in 2013. What’s more, Windows’s share of the same market declined from 47.5% to 28% over the same period. More →
Late last year, we wondered why Microsoft was seemingly wasting its time bashing Chromebooks, the low-cost browser-based laptops that have barely registered in consumer sales figures. However, Fortune’s Michael Helft writes that Chromebooks have the potential to give Microsoft major headaches in one of its important markets: Schools. In particular, Helft says that his sons’ school district has started buying up Chromebooks instead of PCs and he says that they’re delivering some real advantages. More →
Despite the rise of Android devices, Apple has managed to keep up its position atop the U.S. tablet market for years. But as 2013 draws to a close, the disparity between the two major players in the market has grown smaller than ever. According to new research from The NPD Group, Android tablet sales in commercial channels in the U.S. jumped more than 160% from 2012, capturing 8.7% of personal computing device sales between January and November this year. Apple did manage to beat out its competition once again, but the iPad’s market share actually decreased from 17.1% last year to 15.8% in 2013. Even with the release of two brand new iPad models, Apple is beginning to feel the pressure from Android and Windows vendors, which are leaving their mark with some solid tablets of their own. More →
So it seems that Microsoft has put together yet another ad bashing Google’s line of Chromebooks. The Verge’s Tom Warren says this aggressive line of attack raises a key question: Why in God’s name is Microsoft actually worried about Chromebooks? I’ve tried to figure this out myself and I have not been able to come up with anything resembling a logical answer. More →
Microsoft’s Scroogled ad campaign has never been all that clever and it may have reached a new level of lameness with its latest ad that targets Chromebooks, Google’s cheap browser-centric laptop alternatives that some estimates have claimed are selling even worse than Microsoft’s first-generation Surface RT. The ad depicts a woman trying to sell her Chromebook off in a pawn shop only to be laughed out of the building because the device is “not a real laptop.” The pawn shop owner then goes off on a long diatribe about how Google is using Chromebooks to scoop up customer data that it will use for advertisements, which is of course something that Microsoft would never do to its users. Why Microsoft is wasting its time targeting a device that is barely on most consumers’ radars is anyone’s guess but you can watch the whole video below. More →
Windows 8 tablets aren’t the only devices that are about to get a battery boost from Intel’s Haswell processors. Google announced on Wednesday that new Chromebooks from Acer, HP, Asus and Toshiba would be available “in the coming months.” Most importantly, the new browser-centric laptops would feature Intel’s Haswell processors, which means that they should receive a significant boost in battery life. Although Google has positioned Chromebooks as low-cost alternatives to traditional laptops, there is little evidence that they’ve caught on as the company had hoped. Research from NetMarketShare posted earlier this year suggests that Chrome OS is used even less frequently than Windows RT, so it seems that Google has a way to go to convince people to buy laptops that almost exclusively serve as interfaces for web browsers.
Google is capitalizing on Microsoft’s failure to revitalize the PC industry with Windows 8. While traditional PCs are having their worst year to date, shipments of Chromebooks are expected to double and in some cases triple in the second half of the year. According to a report from Digitimes, Chromebook orders from Acer will increase by three-fold while Samsung will raise its orders by 400%. HP and Lenovo are also expected to increase shipments from the first half of the year. Chromebooks are the fastest growing PC market segment, with offerings from Samsung and Acer capturing 20% to 25% of the sub-$300 PC market. The growth of Google’s low-cost laptops has also been noticed by other PC vendors such as ASUS, which will release its first Chromebook model later this year.
It would appear Google’s increased marketing efforts that sought to bolster Chromebooks sales have paid off. According to data from market research firm NPD Group, the low-cost computers have captured between 20% and 25% of the sub-$300 laptop market in U.S. in the past eight months. The firm noted that Chromebooks are now the fastest growing segment of the PC market based on price, Bloomberg reported. NPD analyst Stephen Baker explained that Google will likely continue to benefit from the growth of the sub-$300 PC market, which is expected to increase more than 10% in 2013. By comparison, the PC industry as a whole is forecasted to see negative growth of -7.8% this year. Google’s Chrome OS has given PC makers a glimmer of hope, and has helped it lure some of Microsoft’s key vendor partners like Lenovo and HP, both of which have now begun to sell Chromebooks.
A handful of companies are said to be preparing new Chromebook models that will launch later this year. According to a report from Digitimes, both Acer and ASUS are optimistic about the long-term prospects of Google’s Chromebooks and are working on low-priced computers that will debut in the second half of 2013. Acer is reportedly planning to target students with a new 11.6-inch model to be released in July, while new Chrome OS-powered computers are expected from ASUS, HP, Samsung and Lenovo later this year. Of note, ASUS never planned to enter the market but has apparently rethought its strategy. Google is also said to be working with ASUS, Acer, HP and Samsung on so-called “Androidbooks” that could debut in the near future.
If Windows RT is a “lemon” as some have suggested, then what does that make the Chromebook? ZDNet’s Ed Bott took a look at the latest numbers from NetMarketShare and found that there’s absolutely no mention of Google’s Chrome OS anywhere in its statistics for the most-used desktop operating systems. When Bott asked NetMarketShare why Chrome hadn’t made an appearance in the rankings, the firm replied that Chromebooks accounted for “0.023 percent weighted worldwide usage,” which put them below the minimum 0.1% threshold required to make an appearance on the charts. To put this into perspective, Bott notes that “in nearly two years on the market, all of those Chromebooks have achieved a smaller percentage of usage than Windows RT earned as of January 2013, after only three months on the market.”
Chromebooks haven’t exactly taken the world by storm so far, but that doesn’t mean Google (GOOG) is giving up on its vision for browser-centric notebook computers anytime soon. In a new piece over at Time’s TechLand blog, Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin says that Google’s upcoming merger of Android and its Chrome operating system makes it much more likely that Chromebooks will become attractive to consumers going forward. More →
If sales of the Surface have been disappointing so far, then where does that leave sales of Google’s (GOOG) Chromebooks? Unnamed sources have told Digitimes that sales of Google Chromebooks have only totaled around 500,000 so far, which gives the Chrome OS less than a 1% share of the notebook market. Digitimes‘ sources also say that Chromebooks could struggle to gain any traction against Windows-based notebooks for at least the next two years because Google “will still need some time to integrate” Chrome and Android in order to broaden Chromebooks’ appeal for consumers. Google recently tried to generate more hype for Chromebooks by releasing its own Chromebook Pixel that features a 12.85-inch, 2560 x 1700-pixel touchscreen display and hefty $1,300 price tag.