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8/11/2014
04:06 PM
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Chromebook Sales Surge

More than 5.2 million Chromebooks will be sold this year, says Gartner.

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Demand for Chromebooks is rising, particularly in the US education sector, and that trend poses a long-term threat to the device's rivals.

Sales of Chromebooks -- mostly portable devices running Google's Chrome OS -- are expected to reach 5.2 million units in 2014, according to Gartner. That represents a 79% increase from 2013. By 2017, the research firm predicts, Chromebook sales will reach 14.4 million, nearly triple the current unit sales. That's about 2 million less than the number of Mac computers that Apple sold in all of 2013.

Google said in July that schools had purchased more than a million Chromebooks during the second quarter of 2014. That same month, Dell said its Chromebook 11, targeted at schools, was unavailable due to strong demand. The device remains out of stock on the company's website.

But Chromebooks appear to be ready to move beyond the education sector. Gartner says that more than half of Chromebook sales in 2014 will be to consumers. Chromebooks accounted for 35% of all US commercial laptop sales during the first six months of 2014, according to the research firm NPD.

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On Monday, Acer launched its Chromebook 13 model, which ranges in price from $280 to $380, in a bid to appeal to consumers.

Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner, sees competition among Google's Chromebook partners becoming more fierce; eight Chromebook models have debuted this year. She attributes manufacturers' interest in Chromebooks to lack of growth in the traditional PC business and to a desire to revive interest in the moribund netbook market for sub-$300 devices.

Acer hopes its new Chromebook 13 appeals to consumers.(Source: Acer)
Acer hopes its new Chromebook 13 appeals to consumers.
(Source: Acer)

Durand says that Chromebooks will remain a niche market for the next five years. She argues that they need faster connectivity, faster memory, more capacious solid-state drives, and improved support for consumers, business, and education -- characteristics that would make them pricier and more competitive with popular laptop models.

Google already has produced one such device, the Chromebook Pixel, a high-end reference model that starts at $1,299. The company hasn't reported any sales figures for the device, largely seen as a way to prove that Google can make hardware as compelling as Apple's popular MacBook Air and to encourage hardware partners to integrate touch-based interaction for eventual Android app support in Chrome OS.

Durand says businesses can benefit from Chromebooks because the cloud computing model makes device management easier than it is with traditional PCs. But so far, she says, not many businesses have committed to Chromebooks.

Microsoft's response to Chromebooks shows that it considers the devices a threat. It has established a webpage to argue why Windows is better than Chrome OS, and it is promoting low-cost Windows laptops. It has also responded to Google's other free operating system, Android. In May, it made Windows 8.1 free to makers of phones and small-screen tablets.

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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ricegf
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ricegf,
User Rank: Guru
8/14/2014 | 4:13:46 PM
Re: But where is the stats?
"Wow, the trolls amaze me... TECHNICALLY you are right"

I'm right, but still a troll?  :-D

Look, the "average user" will use a Chromebook exactly as intended - with the 100 GB of cloud storage, with the 32 GB of local storage reserved for off-line work that auto-syncs to the cloud when connected to the Internet. It works beautifully that way.

A guru user might, for example, load and run Ubuntu simultaneously on the machine, keeping quite a bit of data local in the Ubuntu environment (say, a collection of git repositories and a lot of tool chains), but relying mostly on the cloud for ChromeOS work as above. I know of one such guru who does - me!  And I have yet to thnk about conserving my 32 GB SSD.

The only users who will find 32 GB of local SSD constraining are likely those who store a LOT of video - and they would, of course, simply add a 128 GB SD card ($50 from Amazon) and call themselves delighted.

These are the facts. That you interpret this as "Microsoft Haterade" (whatever that is) says much about your insecurity regarding your favorite OS, and nothing about those who are gently pointing out the facts.
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 3:46:21 PM
Re: But where is the stats?
Wow, the trolls amaze me. I would pose that you don't know what YOU are talking about.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834314359&cm_re=chromebook-_-34-314-359-_-Product

32G of local storage means TECHNICALLY you are right, but his point is valid - that isn't near enough space for the average user.

Stop with the Microsoft Haterade and let's deal with facts, people.
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
8/14/2014 | 3:39:39 PM
Re: But where is the stats?
I couldn't agree more. Tech writers love to quote Gartner when they have headlines that the tech writers like, but their track record is pretty bad.

http://www.zdnet.com/why-does-the-it-industry-continue-to-listen-to-gartner-7000001394/

I've seen this and the IoT article from them - 26 billion IoT devices by 2020, when we don't really have any good use cases for home networks and the current specs are insanely insecure. I would love to know how they make money - does the tech press and the regular press pay them millions to come up with this stuff?

To be fair, this also touches on another pet peeve of mine - journalists not bothering to vet their sources. Many just assume "oh I quoted this guy, so if he is wrong, it's his problem, not mine." No, Mr/Ms. Journalist, the problem is yours for not doing your homework.

Rant over.

TL;DR - I agree with you!
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/13/2014 | 7:17:40 AM
Re: But where is the stats?
"AD dominates the planet. Your idea that Microsoft networking is going anywhere is fallacious and misguided.

I would expect some of the words you might use to reply to this reply are: Linux, Apple, MacOS, iOS and maybe Netware (computer guy joke)."

 

Being someone who was around when Windows NT first came on the scene and I heard all the same things about Netware not going anywhere because it dominated the planet. I think I'm just fine saying that the standard is changing again.  Yes AD is pretty great but honestly the best parts are those that are used to manage Windows PCs.  I'm seeing AD being moved more toward the role of a RADIUS server that is being used as a common authentication point for cloud based services.  I'm seeing the old standby of drive letter mappings going away.  I'm seeing BYOD change the way devices are managed and GPO may be great for the devices that connect to your corporate network it is not the answer for a device you'll never physically see.  Will Microsoft still have a role in the typical corporate network, yes, but the extent of its reach is going to change.

 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/13/2014 | 7:09:56 AM
Re: But where is the stats?
I'm referring to many browser based solutions.  Not all that long ago browser based anything was clunky because you had developers who wrote using Active X controls so that they could get around some issues but that meant you had to have a Windows based device on the desktop.  When I say OS agnostic I mean the all too familiar "drive" letters that Windows users are so used to seeing are being replaced with URLs and there is no drive mapping going on.  File storage isn't going to the typical Windows file share it is going to a private cloud based site that supports anything with a browser.  
wswwe2
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wswwe2,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/12/2014 | 4:37:28 PM
Re: But where is the stats?
"because I see traditional Windows networking going away."

Yeah. Okay. I complain about Microsoft all the time, but I would never assume that Windows networking is going anywhere.

AD dominates the planet. Your idea that Microsoft networking is going anywhere is fallacious and misguided.

I would expect some of the words you might use to reply to this reply are: Linux, Apple, MacOS, iOS and maybe Netware (computer guy joke).

Sure, you could replace machines that actually do things with toys, iPad, iPhones or ChromeBooks, but these devices are not computational devices, instead, they are display devices (for now).

Even with a change in the display of information being shifted to a non Microsoft platform, Microsoft AD and server infrastructure are well know and used the world round. That backbone is not going to be changed becasue they sell a few more ChromeBooks or iPads.

 

 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
8/12/2014 | 1:45:39 PM
Re: But where is the stats?
Office 365 should work on a Chromebook. Do you have experience otherwise?
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 12:50:57 PM
Re: But where is the stats?
@SaneIT   Are you talking HTML5 browser apps? Is that what you mean by o/s agnostic? If so, I'm with you, makes the most sense in this day and age. Cross platform tools like Ext JS and JQuery make more sense to me than hitching your wagon to Visual Studio, or some other tool like that tied to a particular o/s like Windows.
SaneIT
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50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/12/2014 | 7:15:20 AM
Re: But where is the stats?
Remote desktop and virtual desktops solutions are addressing this now.  While virtualization of desktops hasn't reached the level of implementation that servers have it is getting much easier to give a native desktop feeling with a thin device on the desktop.  OSX has made its way into the corporate environment despite many of the issues that a Chromebook would have, they just have support at higher levels in the organization.  I'm doing a lot of work building solutions that are OS agnostic because I see traditional Windows networking going away. 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
8/11/2014 | 9:07:48 PM
Chromebooks Vs. Laptops: In 10 years the debate is over
The debate over adoption of Chromebooks vs. continued business worker dependence on Microsoft applications (hence, laptops and PCs) reflects the state of our transition to cloud computing --- still in its infancy. Microsoft must become a cloud service company too because Windows and Office alone are not enough to withstand the wave of services that will be readily available in the cloud, including personal productivity applications. Chrome and Android have started the Windows erosiion but they are just a start. 
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