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Bill Bennett


Chromebooks fail to ignite

Nothing in the PC makers’ box of tricks works at the moment. Laptops and desktops are losing ground to tablets and smartphones on every front.

Chromebooks – Google’s cloud-oriented, always connected alternative to Windows or Macintosh laptops – have such a tiny share of global web traffic it doesn’t even make it on the reports. According to Ed Bott at ZDNet, it accounts for roughly 2/100 of one percent of web traffic. That’s after two years on the market.

Some of the best-known brands make Chromebooks. HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Acer have all got their feet wet in this market.

This puts recent stories about Windows 8’s poor start in perspective.



11 thoughts on “Chromebooks fail to ignite

    1. It could make sense from a support point of view, if you worked somewhere which was all Google – use Google Apps and maybe one or two other cloud apps.

      But you are right. The Chromebook is mainly a device for Google employees.

  1. They do quite well in the enthusiast market, which ofc is a small market. They are changing and improving Chrome OS almost everyday, and like Android I see it as a bet on what the future needs rather than an instant gratification.
    The real question is do the OEMs make money off them? I’m pretty sure you can’t buy these in a store (at least anywhere other than maybe USA/UK) and online sales should need less inventory on hand and less marketing/distribution costs.
    As the web can handle more and more – and what it can’t you can offload to more capable servers – these ‘books will close the gap.

    1. I wouldn’t say 2/100ths of 1 percent after two years is doing well by any standard – even enthusiasts.

      In comparison – yes I realise it’s not apples and apples but it’s still relevant – it took Apple just three years for the iPad to reach the point where it outsells every single PC brand.

      1. Sorry, I should say by enthusiast I mean web enthusiast. The Community and web people in general have a lot to say about it on Google+. It is quite active.

  2. I’m actually interested in these. I work in elearning in secondary education and seeing a lot of schools taking a long hard look at these. They may have seen some schools try iPads over the last couple of years and seen them get locked into apple apps without support for utilising the cloud or using cross platfrom apps.
    There are real affordances in having something that is cheap and powers up quickly and connects simply, securely and rapidly to the net, which is what most users want anyway. They’re not ready to give up the keyboard and tablets are pretty much useless for supporting literacy, especially at the top end of the school.
    Headaches over tech support and ongoing management of devices seems to go away… Not sure, am I missing something?

    1. You’re missing how incredibly secure these devices are. Even with Google offering a lot of money as a reward to anyone who can hack it it has not been done. Truly something that cannot be said of any other OS, PC or otherwise.

      1. I would be tempted to put the market share issue down to a real lack of understanding in the general public about using cloud services. I have an iPad mini for work for when I’m out and about. However syncing Evernotes, sending photos up, taking notes and sharing on etc are where the affordances are for me. Without this it would be an expensive ‘app player’. Yet for most people I meet this is the perception that they are for.

        1. I’ve reached the point where all my work documents are stored to the cloud first – then backed up offline. My stuff rarely needs to be secure, so I’ve no real need for local storage for word docs.

      2. @chrisswanwick also, you don’t need to be online to use a Chromebook, a lot of apps can go offline and still have functionality and then sync when you get a connection.

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