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Chromebooks – Fastest Growing part of the PC Industry

In a report by NPD Group Inc, Chromebooks have in the past eight months gained 20 to 25% of the U.S. market for laptops that cost less than $300, making Google’s laptops the fastest-growing part of the PC industry based on price.

The PC industry has been having a difficult time over the past few years. Declining desktop and laptop sales have hurt companies such as HP and Dell. The rise in smartphones and tablet devices as well as the poor reception of Windows 8 has eroded the PC market. Worldwide PC shipments fell 4% in 2012 and are forecast to decline 7.8% this year – the largest annual drop on record, according to researcher IDC.

Google’s first entry into the PC market with its Chromebook was dismissed as a basic laptop with limited appeal when it debuted two years ago. Now it has defied skeptics and is gaining share as the rest of the PC market shrinks.

NPD Analyst Stephen Baker said, “While we were skeptical initially, I think Chromebooks definitely have found a niche in the marketplace. The entire computing ecosystem is undergoing some radical change, and I think Google has its part in that change.”

Traditional Microsoft allies Lenovo and HP have both offered Chromebook models in recent months. And Chromebooks moved into retail locations last October with Best Buy and recently added Wal-Mart and Staples.

However, Gartner Inc report that Chromebooks still remain a small portion of the total U.S. market for laptops and netbooks. The devices had about 4 percent to 5 percent share in the first quarter, though that was up from 1 percent to 2 percent in 2012.

It appears the success of Chromebooks have been down to the low price and ease of use. Chromebooks can be picked up for as little as $199 and provide hassle-free computing with no viruses or maintenance to worry about.

  • Kenny Strawn

    Since smartphones and tablets are just as Internet-dependent as Chromebooks are, not surprised at all…

  • shadowguy14

    You can really do just about anything on a Chromebook, maybe not set to your standards (you as in a “professional”) but it’s possible and I love mine.

  • Sean Lumly

    This is great news, and finally people will begin to stop seeing Chrome OS as a novelty and more as a serious platform. The browser provides a very robust and convenient application-layer with unparalleled security. There are some things that you cannot do that you can do on a traditional OS, but for 99% of the applications used by end users, it is sufficient.

    But the real benefit is the ease-of-use, maintenance-less operation, and decoupling of data from hardware. I would expect that it would be difficult to go back once experiencing these things.

    I’m hoping that NaCl sees a second renaissance (perhaps as inlined, interpretable js), and asm.js continues to evolve. Even the extreme performance advantages of traditional OSs are disappearing.

  • Phil Oakley

    It’s not just a browser…and any way, what most do on a PC can be done in a browser.

  • MaitreyaVyas

    Now it’s need to be in India! :)

    • Keegan Choffat

      Definitely! I don’t see why they don’t already push for that market. Chrome books definitely offer almost everything anybody needs in a computer.

  • Stefano Carlo Coronado Mondoñe

    I run the latest Ubuntu LTS on my Acer C7, it does steam and everything and keeps Chrome OS

    • Cimmay Rivard

      Chrome OS has to be the most usable, worry free Linux distro ever. Not just Linux but of all OS’s combined.

  • John Scott

    I agree with the niche market description. I think while price is a big factor in Chromebook sales. The fact that not everyone has access to broadband access all the time is going to be a factor in a cloud based system like Chromebooks. But for the people with access to broadband the Chromebook can certainly satisfy many for a second or third device and probably a primary device if your in love with the Google ecosystem. Again, I remember back to when some Netbooks were installed with a Linux OS. It did not go over so hot because it lacked its own good ecosystem. Google at least has built a decent apps and media store and has plenty of support with updates and security. The only downsize is if your married to Windows or Apple’s applications and find that they in themselves are a somewhat closed ecosystem. I personally like my Samsung Chromebook but my expectations are not very high and mostly use it for web surfing and email. I found the cloud printing and the inability to just print to a network printer a problem and also think the cloud storage is a bit lacking.