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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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:04PM (#44266791)

    it is not going anywhere.

    it already is. [forbes.com]

    The "it's just replaced less often" meme has been analyzed and found not to be true. There are increasingly more people who aren't replacing their PCs with another PC when they die, but rather with a tablet.

    Sorry, but the data disagrees with you. Don't confuse what you (and me too) want to be true, with what is actually true. Wishful thinking gets you nowhere.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Cap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CronoCloud (590650) <.cronocloudauron. .at. .gmail.com.> 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

  • 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.

  • 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 donaldm (919619) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:01AM (#44268341)

    Exactly. Chromebooks are not anything like a PC. It is a dumb terminal connected to remote resources controlled by a third party.

    While I have not done an exhaustive study on Chromebooks I find that in many ways they are very similar to a PC since they do have a disk drive (SSD), USB ports and WiFi which means you can store basic data on the drive and copy, move or read/write your data to a USB connected disk drive or another networked device (ie. Remote Services aka "the Cloud", or a PC). For people who want portability and long battery life Chromebooks are excellent however they don't have a huge amount of internal storage so you will not be able to install a large video library on them unless you put your library on a USB connected hard drive which will reduce battery life.

    And yes, compared to MS Windows 8 it probably is a success.

    I would not call "Windows 8" a failure although IMHO it is one of the worst GUI's I have ever seen. Basically if you purchase a new Laptop/PC you are normally going to get MS Windows 8 as the Operating System although it would be interesting to see how many MS Windows licenses were purchased by people wanting to upgrade the OS on their PC.

    But compared to hardware people want, it is not.

    I think you will find that the majority of people that want a portable PC like device are going to want either a tablet (PC or Apple), laptop (PC or Apple), smart-phone (Android or iOS) or a Chromebook and while a laptop may be the more flexible it normally has the worst battery life. Basically if you have an Android or even iOS phone and are happy with it but would like a larger screen with excellent battery life and a convenient application store then a tablet or Chromebook is a serious contender.

    Please note I did not mention a Microsoft Smartphone since it's GUI is more in-line with MS Windows 8 which is definitely different to the Android or iOS GUI's.

  • 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.

  • 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"?

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