Where Are All The Chromebooks? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
News
2/21/2014
11:06 AM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Where Are All The Chromebooks?

Despite brisk Chromebook sales, online usage of Chrome OS hardware on the Internet still barely registers with those measuring Web traffic.

10 Best Tablets Of 2013
10 Best Tablets Of 2013
(Click image for larger view.)

By many accounts, Chromebooks are flying off store shelves. But wherever they're landing, they're doing so without leaving tracks. Online usage of Chrome OS hardware on the Internet still barely registers with those measuring Web traffic.

There's little doubt outside of Microsoft -- which insists Chromebooks are not real PCs -- that the Chrome operating system had a breakout year in 2013. After a slow start in 2011, Chromebooks now account for 21% of notebook computers sold in the US, according to NPD Group. Two in three of the best-selling laptops on Amazon during the 2013 holiday season were Chromebooks. Google's Chromebook hardware partners now include eight of the top computer makers in the world.

Chitika, an online advertising network and Yahoo partner, recently concluded a five-month study of Chrome OS and Linux Web usage growth. The company found that the Chrome OS drives 0.2% of desktop Web traffic in North America.

That represents a doubling of Chrome OS traffic in September 2013, when Chitika's study began. But in the overall scheme of things, Chromebook-generated Web traffic remains insignificant. Chrome OS Web traffic is about a tenth of desktop Linux Web traffic in North America.

[Which tablet do businesses still love? Read iPad Dominates Enterprise Tablet Market.]

Chitika notes that although Linux has always been considered a niche product on the desktop, Google's marketing efforts point to grand ambitions for Chrome OS. The company suggests that the modest growth of Chrome OS highlights the domestic PC market slowdown.

"[T]his could mean that either those new Chrome OS users don't collectively browse the Web all that much using their device, or that the Chromebooks/Chromeboxes themselves are not collectively being used at a high rate in general," said Chitika analyst Andrew Waber in an email.

Nontheless, the firm says that Google's recent decision to collaborate with VMware to offer virtualized Windows desktops on Chromebooks should encourage further Chrome OS adoption among businesses.

Judging Chrome OS by use of hardware risks missing the larger picture. Web usage offers only limited insight into the significance of a market. Apple's iOS still accounts for more Web usage than Android, but the days when that suggested Android could not complete are long gone.

What's more, Chromebooks are only part of the Google landscape. The Chrome browser really should be included, too, because the Chrome operating system doesn't offer any software that isn't also available in Google's browser.

Perhaps the best way to measure the success of Chromebooks is to look at Microsoft's reaction. When Chromebooks debuted, Microsoft ignored them. Now they're being trashed in Microsoft's marketing. Clearly, Microsoft thinks they matter. In time, Chromebooks will show up more prominently in Web traffic graphs.

Engage with Oracle president Mark Hurd, Box founder Aaron Levie, UPMC CIO Dan Drawbaugh, GE Power CIO Jim Fowler, former Netflix cloud architect Adrian Cockcroft, and other leaders of the Digital Business movement at the InformationWeek Conference and Elite 100 Awards Ceremony, to be held in conjunction with Interop in Las Vegas, March 31 to April 1, 2014. See the full agenda here.

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

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Author
2/24/2014 | 12:50:49 PM
Re: -- Chromebook off line? Is it possible
I second your question, Paul. How can you use a Chromebook and not go online. WHat am I missing?
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
2/21/2014 | 4:56:00 PM
Re: Bought for a mobile use purpose?
>Could it be Chromebooks are purchased for use with Google Search and Google Apps, while on the move, and their owners continue using phones and laptops most of the time?

Among power users that seems to be the case. Chromebooks seem to be popular among those traveling to security conferences. I suspect those devices purchased for educational institutions are used for web surfing less often than personal or business devices, and that may contribute to the low traffic numbers of Chrome OS.
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Author
2/21/2014 | 4:19:49 PM
Re: Bought for a mobile use purpose?
One place where Chromebooks are showing up is in education. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Chromebooks grabbed nearly a fifth of U.S. K-12 purchases of mobile computers last year.
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
2/21/2014 | 3:58:35 PM
Bought for a mobile use purpose?
Good commentary, Tom. You may be right, but there's still scant proof Chromebooks will one day amount to a sizeable segment of Web traffic. Right now, that's more intuition than fact. Could it be Chromebooks are purchased for use with Google Search and Google Apps, while on the move, and their owners continue using phones and laptops most of the time?
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Slideshows
Blockchain Gets Real Across Industries
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  7/22/2021
Commentary
Seeking a Competitive Edge vs. Chasing Savings in the Cloud
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/19/2021
News
How CIO Roles Will Change: The Future of Work
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/1/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Monitoring Critical Cloud Workloads Report
In this report, our experts will discuss how to advance your ability to monitor critical workloads as they move about the various cloud platforms in your company.
Slideshows
Flash Poll