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Limitations and All, Chromebooks Appear To Be Selling 126

Posted by timothy
from the not-all-things-to-all-people dept.
puddingebola writes "A number of different websites are commenting on NPD's consumer research numbers that claim Chromebooks are getting 20-25% of the sub-$300 PC market. From the article: 'The NPD says that Google's Chromebook has now gained 20 to 25 percent of the sub-$300 laptop market in the U.S. That's a huge gain for a computer that's only been on the market for two years. It's even more impressive when you consider that Chromebooks were seen as nothing but a self-serving experiment on the part of Google for the first year of their existence.' Stephen Vaughan-Nichols is also blogging about this over at ZDnet. While the PC market shrank again in the second quarter of 2013, Chromebooks seem to have grown."
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Limitations and All, Chromebooks Appear To Be Selling

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  • Love mine. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:36PM (#44266247)

    Got a Samsung ARM Chromebook. Perfect little netbook. Boots in 5 seconds, all day battery, 1 kg, plenty fast, does everything I need it to do. Can load linux in chroot environment if I want/need more functionality (hardly ever do). Prefer it to a tablet for browsing and media consumption.

    • Re:Love mine. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rinikusu (28164) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:08PM (#44266473)

      Same. Picked one up for the gf for Valentine's Day. She's loved it and hasn't found any issues that she's irritated with. So, last week, I bought one for myself. Since I do all my writing in Google Docs, anyway, and all I want to use it for is writing and researching shit I'm writing, I didn't see an issue. As you mentioned, all day battery, lightweight, fast boots, I'm pretty tickled with it. And it was $250. If it gets stolen, it's much easier to fork out $250 than buying a new Macbook Air.

      I still have a "primary" laptop that I use for gaming/heavier work. But I don't need to carry that everywhere with me.

      If I could submit a feature request for the next iteration of this Samsung, it's to add a backlit keyboard. That'd make it perfect.

      • by VValdo (10446) on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:35PM (#44267251)

        1 Samsung Arm CB + x2go [x2go.org] + Chrubuntu [github.com] (13.10 xubuntu) =

        full access to running programs on my home Linux PC from anywhere, with HUGE battery life, at less than 2 lbs and $250. With x2go I can run applications remotely, and the chromebook only has to handle the UI, not the actual processing. As a result, I can run Intel apps and it feels pretty fast, even from 2000 miles away. If the computer gets stolen, it's only a loss of $250 as opposed to the thousands a lightweight laptop would cost, and the data is on my home computer, not the cb...

        x2go btw is amazing, tunneling linux application's interfaces through ssh, so they feel like they're running on the chromebook, but aren't. If you can set up ssh, you can set up x2go.

    • If one messes around with a Chromebook, and then some Windows 8 type device, the difference is startling (in favor of the Chromebook). Chromebooks out-Apple Apple by just making it easy to do the things most people want to do. The voice recognition is really, really good. Windows makes it surprisingly difficult to do *anything*.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:40PM (#44266277)

    Outside of a minority of technically minded folks, most people never wanted local storage in the first place. They don't want to understand it, manage it, back it up, or deal with it in any way. That simple fact is one of the key drivers toward cloud computing, web apps, and away from the local-storage model of computing.

    People's data is generally safer in the cloud than locally. Yes, yes, we all know that those service can go away. But the fact is that even so, it's still safer than Joe Schmoe trying to keep his data safe locally.

    So the market is pushing heavily in this direction, driven by the demand of the consumer masses. It's a slow transition over time, but eventually, that's going to be where the economies of scale are. Sure, workstation-type computers will still be available for the few people doing CAD, etc, but they will be far more expensive and not generally purchased by most of the general public. This is already starting to happen, and it's only going to accelerate.

    I know very few people who really want a PC any more. They virtually all prefer tablets, smartphones, and so on.

    • Cap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:18PM (#44266537) Homepage Journal

      People's data is generally safer in the cloud than locally.

      At $10 per gigabyte to upload and $10 per gigabyte to download over a cellular network in the United States, this safety has a substantial cost associated with it.

      • Re:Cap (Score:5, Interesting)

        by farble1670 (803356) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:23PM (#44266899)

        At $10 per gigabyte to upload and $10 per gigabyte to download over a cellular network in the United States, this safety has a substantial cost associated with it.

        1. if you don't have access to broadband, this isn't for you
        2. if you need to transfer a substantial portion of your total data each month, this isn't for you

        in other words, it's for almost everyone.

        • Re:Cap (Score:5, Interesting)

          by readingaccount (2909349) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @05:27AM (#44268585)

          Never in my life would I have expected Slashdotter of all people to be promoting living in the Cloud and giving away all control over your data to a corporation. Sure, the needs of regular folk are likely less than what we'd require, but it's still a fundamental issue of control that we shouldn't' be promoting.

          Responsibility requires effort, but empowers the user. To basically give away that control simply because it's "too hard" to know how your files are saved and where on local storage, smacks of going backwards.

          • by mikael (484)

            If your data consists of party and public event photographs, then the odds are that someone else has similar photographs. If you are a photographer (for private events), artist (looking for reference material for clients projects), or software developer (doing applications) then keeping your data secure and not leaking around is your highest priority. Having a private cloud server on your own premises with a VPN is about the only option.

          • Re:Cap (Score:4, Interesting)

            by farble1670 (803356) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @08:50PM (#44272675)

            never in my life would i have expected a slashdotter to promote keeping *your money in mutual funds* and giving away all control over *your money* to a corporation. To basically give away that control simply because it's "too hard" to *store all your money under your matress* and keep track of *where it is buried in the yard*, smacks of going backwards.

            sounds pretty stupid now doesn't it?

            i'm not going backwards, i'm just in touch with reality. people like you have drawn an arbitrary line in the sand with cloud storage. everything about you is already stored online. your medical records, your credit card history, your tax history, your financials, and so on. all under the control of corporations. but you think if you keep those pictures of your son's 5th birthday party, that no one gives a flying poop about, on a local disk instead of the cloud, you are somehow "under control"?

            • You clearly don't understand. I pity you.

            • by sylvandb (308927)

              Actually I agree with the mutual fund comment. I decided in 2002 that mutual funds were not for me and currently invest well over 90% of my portfolio in personally selected, individual securities.

              Mutual fund goals do not match my goals. Their incentives do not target my goals. Their results do not track my goals. But the funny thing is, by focusing on my goals I've also beat their goals and their results.

              Same goes for using an intermediary to store my data "in the cloud." I get what I want, when I want

          • by Rich0 (548339)

            Having your data in the cloud is about convenience - I can edit a document from my phone, tablet, PC, whatever.

            Frankly I think the bigger issue isn't that everybody wants their data in the cloud, but rather that there aren't really that many good FOSS solutions in this space. I've yet to see an FOSS MUA that compete with GMail if you include the requirement that you be able to operate it solely from a browser (the closest options are roundcube and squirrelmail, and if you've ever tried to sort 100 messages

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Responsibility requires effort, but empowers the user. To basically give away that control simply because it's "too hard" to know how your files are saved and where on local storage, smacks of going backwards.

            Guess what? People don't care.

            Not everyone in the world, hell, the vast majority of people in the world, give one shit about computing. They only have PCs and all that because they need it. They really don't care for it, and you'll see it in their behaviors. It's why tablets, smartphones and alternativ

      • Re:Cap (Score:4, Interesting)

        by CronoCloud (590650) <cronocloudauron@gma i l . c om> on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:35PM (#44267239)

        Two words.

        Unlimited data.

        The kind of people who would make their tablet their primary device are those who would pay for unlimited data

    • Outside of a minority of technically minded folks, most people never wanted local storage in the first place. They don't want to understand it, manage it, back it up, or deal with it in any way. That simple fact is one of the key drivers toward cloud computing, web apps, and away from the local-storage model of computing.

      If that is so then why do 2 terabyte harddrives sell like hotcakes?

      People's data is generally safer in the cloud than locally. Yes, yes, we all know that those service can go away. But the fact is that even so, it's still safer than Joe Schmoe trying to keep his data safe locally.

      Most users use the same minimum length easily guessable password for all of their online accounts, There is no way you can call that safer.

      So the market is pushing heavily in this direction, driven by the demand of the consumer masses. It's a slow transition over time, but eventually, that's going to be where the economies of scale are. Sure, workstation-type computers will still be available for the few people doing CAD, etc, but they will be far more expensive and not generally purchased by most of the general public. This is already starting to happen, and it's only going to accelerate.

      And how pray tell are they going to get there data to the cloud? I know many nontechnical people with hardrives filled to the brim with assorted movies, music, pictures, documents and more throwing a few gigs in the cloud is easy moving terrabytes of high def home vaccation video, is going to take forever

      • missed the last line in my reply, so i will fix it here,

        I know very few people who really want a PC any more. They virtually all prefer tablets, smartphones, and so on.

        no they just have a different use case for the tablet and the has slightly changed the pc's use case

      • Most users use the same minimum length easily guessable password for all of their online accounts, There is no way you can call that safer.

        he meant safe in terms of losing the data, or not. not safe in terms of securing it.

    • by Killall -9 Bash (622952) on Friday July 12, 2013 @11:07PM (#44267397)

      Outside of a minority of technically minded folks, most people never wanted local storage in the first place. They don't want to understand it, manage it, back it up, or deal with it in any way. That simple fact is one of the key drivers toward cloud computing, web apps, and away from the local-storage model of computing.

      Everyone wants local storage. The non-technically minded folks just don't know it. The only drivers towards cloud storage are marketing hype, marketing hype, and more marketing hype. "Cloud" is the new "E-".

      People's data is generally safer in the cloud than locally.

      Safer from what? Hackers? The NSA? I think yuo aer confusssed.

      Sure, workstation-type computers will still be available for the few people doing CAD, etc, but they will be far more expensive and not generally purchased by most of the general public.

      Oh, I see now. Its still the 1990's, and the desktop PC is still dying. We'll all be going back to the client-server structure.... any day now.....

      I know very few people who really want a PC any more. They virtually all prefer tablets, smartphones, and so on.

      That's funny, because everyone I know already has a smartphone, and the few who also have tablets found they can't actually do anything with it, and still use their PCs/Macs.

      The death of the PC is being predicted by retarded market analysts who look at PC sales instead of PC ownership. PC sales are down for multiple reasons:
      1. 5 year old PCs are still fast enough
      2. windows 8 is terrible
      3. we are (still) in an economic depression

      Big companies WANT us to buy shit computers that can't do anything, because then we'll HAVE to use gay "cloud" apps for everything, and pay monthly fees for the privilege. It's the first step in instituting a 21st century techno-serfdom, with IP owners replacing the land-lords of old.

      Don't think so? Wade through the annoying and insulting Office2013 install process, and then tell me Lord Balmer isn't telling us piss-ants to get back to the turnip fields.

      • by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @12:08AM (#44267669) Journal

        Everyone wants local storage. The non-technically minded folks just don't know it. The only drivers towards cloud storage are marketing hype, marketing hype, and more marketing hype. "Cloud" is the new "E-".

        I had an application that had a cloud option and someone convinced the CEO he needed it. So we go through the hassle of migrating the data for it and first week out, the internet goes down for 3 days. Construction site cut some lines. So we got a redundant connection and have it fail over. Only the static IP is different now so the certificates need to be swapped out when it goes to the other internet source. Not a big deal.

        I lost the account to someone who underbid me. A storm came through and dropped a tree on the side of the building, they had to relocate temporarily. I get a call asking me to help with this and of course I did so (while charging a premium). Creating new certificates and getting the app working was the first and easiest thing to do. One server with local data was damaged in the move. It took 2 days to get everything moved and wired and 26 terminals wired with about 10 hours being dedicated to restoring local data and binging up the damaged server. They were finally able to work again.

        Both have advantages and disadvantages and both can be shown to be the best way. In the situation I described, outside of the 10 hours repairing a server, neither had a compelling advantage. If you have a reason- like it does what you want it to do, then use whatever fits that purpose. For me, the redundant internet connection and paying someone to transfer files is reason not to go cloud. Others might not mind.

        Safer from what? Hackers? The NSA? I think yuo aer confusssed.

        From data loss. No more "my computer died and now I lost 20 years of digital photos along with all the letters written to my now dead grandmother".

      • by joshuaf (551531)
        "Safer from what" Data loss. I don't know how you missed this.
        • by cbhacking (979169)

          Well, until somebody accesses your iCloud account and wipes everything (to take a prominent news story from the last couple years). Good luck remotely erasing the hard drive sitting near (but not presently connected to) my PC... I'll make it easier for you, it's not even in a vault or faraday cage!

          • by cduffy (652)

            Good luck remotely erasing the hard drive sitting near (but not presently connected to) my PC... I'll make it easier for you, it's not even in a vault or faraday cage!

            Why bother? I'll just wait out the MTBTF; enjoy your head crash (or house fire, or whatever else eventually happens).

            Part of what you're paying for with a cloud service (whether in cash or ad-viewing) is geographically distributed redundancy.

    • by sirlark (1676276)
      I have to disagree. The two biggest reasons for a home PC in 80's and 90's were text document writing and gaming. In that order. Parents wanted the first, kids used the PC for the second. That a changed slightly with after the endless September, including two more uses: email and web browsing, again in that order. Tablets and phones etc STILL SUCK for writing documents. It's not just the lack of keyboard; the biggest issue is cutting and pasting. When my folks want to write a letter (yes an actual letter) t
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Tablets and phones etc STILL SUCK for writing documents. It's not just the lack of keyboard; the biggest issue is cutting and pasting.

        You know, at least since gingerbread you can connect a mouse to an Android tablet, too. C&P is much easier then. No idea about iOS, don't care.

  • It was me. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:47PM (#44266319)

    OK, only about 100 of them, but a small blip. I'm wondering how many of these were sold to schools or for other mass consumption functions. As a school principal, I see that chromebooks--limitations and all--are still a much improved value over a $1200 windows laptop. (yes $1200 after the kid-proof warranty). I know i could roll my own, but I would rather bring back my librarian, nurse, music teacher, and instructional aides before hiring a sysadmin to make linux laptops go.

    Chromebooks have all the "it just works" of a mac at 20% of the cost. They are tamper-proof out of the box and lightning fast for 99% of things that students use the computers for.

    The only thing I think is a gaping limitation is the lack of IP printing without a middleman. It's kind of stupid that i need to have an XP machine running somewhere in order to print. Organizations looking to supplement their hardware options with chromebooks shouldn't need to buy special printers to go with them.

    • Re:It was me. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fiziko (97143) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:29PM (#44266603) Homepage

      I'm a teacher who was about to say what s/he said. Our students already use Google Docs for their work, so these make a great, cost-effective fit that eliminates a lot of the educational environment security headaches.

      FYI, we circumvent the printing issues by having students share documents with staff accounts when they are ready to submit. The staff can either print or mark and comment online through the existing format, depending on whether a printout is really needed. Doesn't scale well for large student loads, but it's enough for us.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      You don't really need a middleman to print; you could pay for a new printer instead. :P Some printers speak a protocol that lets a Chromebook print "directly" over the Internet.

    • There isn't really a need for special printers any printer will do, my printers are not directly supported but anything that can run the chrome browser , eg linux mint for example is capable of being a gateway for existing printers.

      For my android devices they can use googles cloud printing service which routes to my netbook which hands the job over to my nas which has the physical printers.

      It's a pretty good system to be fair as your unlikely to run into the unsupported printer problem. What you are actual

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      The only thing I think is a gaping limitation is the lack of IP printing without a middleman. It's kind of stupid that i need to have an XP machine running somewhere in order to print. Organizations looking to supplement their hardware options with chromebooks shouldn't need to buy special printers to go with them.

      Just buy a better printer. A lot of newer ones support practically every print protocol available - from de-facto lpr/lpd, IPP, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print (for Chromebooks, this is what you need

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I can't find a "better printer" than my HPLJ2300DTN. All the new printers in the same price range have higher consumables costs and are less reliable. (and as well, I bought this one used, good luck beating that.) I'm willing to deal with needing a gateway for anyone unwilling to speak one of the several preexisting standard protocols or languages. (Seriously, it speaks like six versions of PCL and postscript, and it will do it via Appletalk/DDP, Appletalk/IP, IPX, or IP, including raw tcp, lpr... Why in th

      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        Needing to buy a better printer somewhat detracts from the Chromebook's "low price" appeal. Having to add £100 to the cost of a £350 purchase is no small thing.

  • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:49PM (#44266325)
    I have one, and it is pretty good for what it is. I think I am going to pass it down to my mother.
    Just about no effort to admin the machine, fast enough, and simple.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:50PM (#44266335)

    Chromebook == Awesome

    Bought my mom one when they first came out. A year later she accidentally stepped on it, ruining the power connector. They cheap enough that I just decided to buy her a new one. She logged in and all her stuff was just there. Completely seamless. And of course, I don't have to worry about her getting viruses.

    I almost bought the new ARM Chromebook instead of a new Macbook Air, but I had to go with the Air and OS X so I could run examination software. Chromebooks definitely rock, though. I spend most of my day in terminal windows. I still use mutt for e-mail, and tin for reading newsgroups, when I'm not working or browsing the web. The ARM Chromebook is like a dream come true. I'm pi$$ed I was stifled by the man.

  • by CajunArson (465943) on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:57PM (#44266377) Journal

    Chromebooks most certainly are self-serving products for Google. Just because they aren't selling on the same scale as Android doesn't make them charity devices.

    To really use a Chromebook do you need to have a Google account? Yeah?

    Will you be bombarded with ads? Sure?

    Are the two complaints I just listed above huge bones of contention for Windows 8 & 8.1 (substituting Microsoft's online services for Google's)? YES.

    So just because the Google version is "free" does that make it insanely great while a Windows machine is full of spyware? Not necessarily. A Chromebook running real Linux is nice, but a better-specced Windows notebook that also runs real Linux can be quite a bit nicer.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:24PM (#44266571) Journal

      I don't think that anybody is arguing that Chromebooks aren't a self-serving product for Google, just that they are a popular-with-users self-serving product for Google.

      As best I can tell, Google has diffused most of the serious-nerd hate by making it pretty trivial(not supported as in 'sure, we'll be happy to do customer support for your custom linux distro'; but supported as in 'there are official directions on how to bypass the Google-Blessed payload and boot your own') to turn them into quite competent(and very cheap) full linux machines if you don't like the 'chromebook' stuff, and the less serious end of the market (A) doesn't actually care all that much and (b) is choosing between multiple self-serving products, not between utopian products and self-serving products.

      Microsoft can't kill off its legacy OSes overnight, so scoring a Win7 system isn't rocket science; but 8 and 8.1(doubly so for RT) make it abundantly clear that the Redomond Future is app stores, Microsoft accounts, and Skydrive integration. Over in Cupertino, your iOS device makes the app store and Apple Account Exciting and Mandatory!, while your OSX device starts at $1000(barring only the mini, which isn't portable and doesn't even come with pack-in peripherals, making it a questionable buy for consumers, though attractive for lab/kiosk type work) and makes it increasingly clear that anything outside the app store is a second class citizen. Plus, of course, be it Windows or OSX, probably a good half of the users are going to have Gmail open pretty much all the time anyway, so they aren't exactly shying away from Google even if they choose otherwise.

      None of the major vendors give a damn about your desire(if you have one, and a good many people don't) to be free of the mothership, so it's understandable why Google's limited(but stalwartly idiot-proof) and crazy cheap offering would be popular.

    • by icebike (68054) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:44PM (#44266695)

      Find me one product in any market that is not self serving.
      Buy a dozen eggs, the farmer not only uses the money to feed the chickens, but his own children as well as buying new shoes and maybe some beer.
      Its all self serving.

      And your discussion of nice and nicer without reference to price is totally non-helpful.

      The real problem that I see with chromebooks and the whole cloud storage issue is that the law basically says anything left un-accessed for 6months is abandoned, and fair game, and doesn't even require a warrant.

    • by farble1670 (803356) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:29PM (#44266941)

      Will you be bombarded with ads? Sure?

      nope?

      if you never visit a google site, you'll never see a google ad on your chromebook. they don't insert ads at the OS level.

    • To really use any iDevice do you need to have a AppleID? Yeah?

      Will you be bombarded with Apple merchandising? Sure?

      Funny how that works, isn't it?

    • Odd...I'm writing this on a Chromebook Pixel and I've yet to experience of this ad bombardment that you refer to.

  • by Telvin_3d (855514) on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:57PM (#44266379)

    I've seen these percentages reported a lot of places, but I have yet to be able to find anything that lists actual sales numbers. Without knowing how big the market for sub-$300 PC market is, it's a meaningless measurement. For example, if 50 million sub-$300 PCs were sold, 25% is a really respectable number. If two million sub-$300 PCs were sold then the 500,000 total sales are quite disappointing.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Given how many people trample each other to death for the chance to get a $299 laptop from Walmart on Black Friday, I'd say it's pretty significant.

    • by Xenoproctologist (698865) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:31PM (#44266619)

      Well, if you look at the article's source [bloomberg.com], you get this gem:

      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, according to Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst at Gartner Inc.

      So, if the laptop market was ~33m units in Q1, that puts Chromebooks at ~1.5m for the quarter, which is the first thing approaching an actual number I've seen on Chromebook sales. Not sure how that spreads out between Samsung, Acer, and HP.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Saturday July 13, 2013 @06:50AM (#44268809) Homepage

        Still pretty solid numbers though, certainly nothing to be sniffed at. While overall it may be a small percentage of total laptop tales for a handful of individual models it's rather good. The year-on-year growth rate is also very strong.

        • by cbhacking (979169)

          The year-to-year is the really interesting thing; it indicates a strong trend in their favor. A few months after Windows RT came out, it was already more popular than the 1.5-years-older ChromeOS. However, it has not been growing at the same rate. Sounds like ChromeOS (much like Android, come to think of it) had a very slow and nearly abortive start, then began picking up a lot of momentum. We'll see how it goes.

          For me personally, they're nigh-useless. Too reliant on an Internet connection, too limited in s

  • by transporter_ii (986545) on Friday July 12, 2013 @07:57PM (#44266385) Homepage

    Linux-based Netbooks were killed by MS right when they were fixing to take off. Maybe this means we are finally to a point MS can't just kill off competitors easily any more.

    Chrombooks don't make much sense to me...but it seems like a good thing that someone can launch something with a OS with a tiny market share, and it actually sell well enough to keep making them.

  • They wouldn't do that, though. Would they?

    • by James Carnley (789899) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:05PM (#44266453) Homepage

      No, they wouldn't.

      Killing Reader doesn't mean Google is shutting down all of their products. Reader is the only "important" project they've shut down and that's only because we are all nerds and used Reader constantly. Most people on the internet don't use RSS or even know what it is.

      Chromebooks are one of the major pieces of Google's ecosystem. There's no way they will be shut down or neglected unless Google completely changes its business model. At that point we will have more to complain about than Google shutting down a few products.

      • by tepples (727027)

        Reader is the only "important" project they've shut down and that's only because we are all nerds and used Reader constantly. Most people on the internet don't use RSS or even know what it is.

        What do most people on the Internet use to fulfill the use cases that RSS fulfills to nerds?

      • It's not like Reader was the only thing they've killed. They'll kill anything they deem to not be profitable or which gets in the way of something else, like Google+. It's not that far out to assume they'll, at some point, decide Chromebooks are redundant because of Android.
    • by MSRedfox (1043112)
      Even if they shut it down (which I highly doubt), my Samsung ARM Chromebook runs Linux really well. So it might hurt the mom and pop users, but technically inclined people would be fine.
    • They wouldn't do that, though. Would they?

      It would be hard to imagine why Google would 'pull the plug' on a device that exists pretty much entirely to give you cheap access to whatever products Google has on tap.

      Now, you may or may not be happy to hear about the changes in product lineup available when you turn the thing on, and if they really stop selling well you can probably say goodbye to anything more than the same Chrome updates that mainline Linux gets; it it would take quite a shift for Google to kill something that is basically a web brows

  • by McGruber (1417641) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:13PM (#44266497)

    I fly a lot for work --two roundtrips per month-- and have been carrying my Chromebook as a second machine, to supplement my corporate laptop. Being a corporate machine, I do not have admin rights to the laptop and my employer tells me they reserve the right to monitor what I'm doing with it, so I assume the laptop has spyware on it.

    The Chromebook gets used for my personal stuff in the evenings, when I'm in my hotel room - I figure that my employer doesn't need to know what I'm buying/selling on ebay, nor do they need to know what political sites I read, nor do they need to know what stories I'm submitting to slashdot.... nor do they need to know that I prefer big breasted brunettes.

    When flying, I almost always sit in tiny "economy class" seats - the chromebook works well in those seats. I can actually open it up and actually type on it while sitting on a plane, even tiny regional jets. I usually can't open my corporate notebook up on a plane because it is too big to fit between me and the seat in front of me.... and that's before the jerk in front of me reclines back into my space.

    The Chromebook also came with a dozen free Gogo passes. Gogo passes were costing $14 each, if I remembered to buy them prior to my flight.... so the dozen free passes were worth $168 to me. All in all, I consider my $250 Samsung Chromebook was money very well spent.

    • So you got a dozen free Gogo passes and turned in the cost on your expense account anyway. Well played Sir, well played.

      Seriously, the Gogo passes would really help. Thanks for sharing that one.
  • by IANAAC (692242) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:15PM (#44266507)
    Chromebooks are about all that's left in this price range, aren't they?

    I couple years ago I bought an Acer Aspire One with Win7 loaded on it, but if I walk into a big box store, I only see Samsungs and Acer C7s (which are just rebadged netbooks from a year ago).

  • Neighbor bought one (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:16PM (#44266519) Homepage

    He's definitely not a nerd, and just a windows guy.

    He likes it, he says its nice and light, cool, and runs quite a long time on the battery. Most of what he does is just internet stuff so that works.

    He cant print directly to his printer, but he can go through his windows PC. Mainly he sees it as a great travel laptop as if its taken he can recover via Google and its not a major financial loss. I think for those who have a desktop and need a capable yet inexpensive travel laptop, this will probably hit the mark.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:44PM (#44266693) Journal
    It is basically a iPad minus all the sexy touch screen things. Built on solid reliable technology using well understood tested input devices and formats. And more open too. No wonder it is growing. I am actually thinking of getting a second and a bluetooth keyboard+thumbwheel to serve as the streaming device for the home theater. It has HDMI out and works with Amazon videos, Netflix.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:22PM (#44266897) Homepage Journal

    Much like MS can afford to introduce something that is a loss at first, Google can too.

    They see a long term plan for these as more and more people move into the 'media consumption' arena, but still want an attached keyboard.

    Personally i'm glad we have more ARM options.. i'm tired of x86.

  • Works OK (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sk999 (846068) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:26PM (#44266927)

    I picked up an Acer C7 to keep at a second office for occassional use. For what I do, Chrome OS doesn't cut it, so I installed the Chrubuntu distro in a separate partition. The only real complaint, I guess, is that the keyboard is cheap and doesn't have much "feel" to the keys. Lots of other minor complaints (Unity stinks, Gnome 3 stinks) but managed to work around them all. Wired ethernet and VGA connector for external display were used heavily (sorry Samsung, you don't have either - a big negative.) Biggest surprise was that the Celeron processor actually has decent performance.

    Having said that, my intent was actually to see if Chrome OS could be tweaked so as to do all the things I need, and the chroot'ed version of Linux may be the way to go to get new software installed. A project for the future.

    • by hazem (472289)

      I have an Acer AO756, which has nearly identical specs as the C7, except it came with Windows 7 and not Chrome (and was therefore more expensive). However it was easy to just install whatever Linux on it I want.

      Does the C7 not allow you to do that? Just wipe the drive (or install a different one) and put whatever you want?

  • She's got a windows box which is in bad shape. I've got two ChromeBoxs running Ubuntu.

    The safe, quick-boot, always updated, easy to manage seems like it's perfect for the "only need the web and email" crowd.

  • It is a much better hardware match than windowZ ...

    Tinker with an older EEEpc and it is obvious that WindowZ abuses the hardware budget. A tight linux distro and a darn quick browswe and Bob's your uncle.

    Nothing magic about Chrome given the recent Firefox improvements.

  • I was one of the lucky many who got a free Cr-48. I've used it pretty much every day since December 2010; as others have noted, it makes a wonderful second computer, or a "don't care" travel laptop, or something that your relative with a porn/click ALL THE LINKS habit can't break.

    The '48 is crap for playing movies, though; anything more than 360p resolution is annoyingly choppy. Probably a non-Atom Chromebook would do just fine.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      The CR-48 is starting to feel a bit slow for me. I have a Nexus 10 so that tends to be my go-to browsing/etc device. However, if I want to do something crazy like type a comment on Slashdot or an email while traveling I always reach for the CR48. Even if I'm already looking at what I want to reply to on my tablet it takes less time to boot a CR-48 cold and navigate to it than it takes for me to try to type on a touchscreen. I'm sure the newer Chromebooks are much faster.

  • by Cobonobo (2981333) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:17AM (#44268373) Homepage
    I bought a Samsung ARM Chromebook a few months back. While it's absolutely perfect for web browsing on its own and its battery performance is exemplary, I find myself using it less and less. It's not because I mislike the machine, nor is it that I cannot do the majority of my work in a browser, it's simply that I prefer to have separate applications for separate tasks. I now just use a netbook with Arch Linux instead. I still recommend the Chromebook openly, though. It's a fantastic device with excellent build quality for the price and, as a web browser, it's not to be beaten any time soon.
  • The growth doesn't mean anything. You can grow in a shrinking market if you're new. The idea of having to be on all the time and having google try to lock my data into their services which may or may not disappear or be the same any time in the future is not appealing to me. It's even less appealing to hand my data over to a company in bed with the NSA which it would appear Google are.
  • For those of us on Slashdot, we've seen Google sliding down the slope from "Don't Be Evil" and a single bar of text ads besides your email that pulled data exclusively from that particular email, to today's monstrous data mining, privacy obliteration machine. Its really frustrating because if it wasn't for this abhorrent behavior, Google services are otherwise high quality. Though there have been people who have seen the signs of the increasingly pathogenic information gathering for years, Snowden's infor

  • 2011 - netbooks sell like crazy
    2012 - people realize netbooks are unusably slow, have too small of a screen, and have double the failure rate of laptops plus no shops will fix them
    2013 - people buy Chromebooks and tablets
    2014 - people realize they can't run any useful software on a Chromebook and it's a single-use style device that lives in its own little fairy magic land and stop using it. They also realize that you can't type on tablets so they're useless for almost everything.
    2015 - Microsoft realiz
    • Actually what did happen with netbooks is that Microsoft started twisting the vendors arms. First to bundle Windows XP with them then Windows 7. They increased software licensing costs for the vendors significantly. They also forced a mandatory list of requirements including hard disk drives with 100s of GB of capacity. This basically killed any cost advantage netbooks had. Once you had Core 2 Duo laptops costing about the same price as a netbook who in their right mind would buy one? Not to mention that Wi

      • That doesn't explain the volume of netbooks at pawn shops or the price. It only explains why vendors stopped pushing them. They're just awful!
  • You can see these devices are not popular in any look at Web usage and server logs. We already know the low-cost notebook (aka netbook) market has been decimated by $329 and $399 iPads that are essentially netbooks done right, plus C apps and iPod features and high-end build quality thrown in. Claiming 20% of that price point in clamshells only in mid-2013 is a very, very small victory. Consider the entire price point and you immediately ask why these Chrome OS systems aren't tablets and why they have no C

  • and frankly, for the average non-technical user, that's enough.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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