Chromebooks now the fastest-growing segment of PC market

Nearly one in four laptops under $300 is a Google gizmo


Not only are Google's Chromebooks a success, but they are now the fastest-growing segment of the PC industry, according to market research firm NPD Group.

"While we were skeptical initially, I think Chromebooks definitely have found a niche in the marketplace," NPD analyst Stephen Baker told Bloomberg.

Baker says that in the past eight months, Google's browser-based devices have managed to capture 20 to 25 per cent of the US market for laptops that cost less than $300. This, amid an industry-wide downturn that has IDC analysts predicting a 7.8 per cent decline in overall PC sales in 2013.

If there has been any optimism about the hardware business of late, it has mostly focused on tablets, which IDC has forecast will outsell portable PCs for the first time this year.

But if tablets are all that consumers want, the news hasn't made it to Google's Chromebook division, which continues to market what are essentially ordinary low-cost notebooks, albeit ones running an unusual OS.

"We're seeing tremendous growth, without a doubt – massive, massive growth," Chromebook product development manager Caesar Sengupta told Bloomberg.

Part of that growth is doubtless due to Google's recent retail push. Chromebooks are now available in Best Buy, Fry's, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Walmart stores in the US, as well as from online retailers Amazon and TigerDirect. In all, the devices are now on sale in nearly 7,000 retail outlets.

The Chromebook line is expanding, as well. Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung all manufacture Chromebooks today, with Asus expected to follow suit in the second half of the year. Google even markets its own branded model, the upmarket Chromebook Pixel, with a 2560-by-1700 touchscreen that puts even Apple's vaunted Retina Displays to shame.

The Pixel retails for $1,300, but it's the exception. Each of the other Chromebook models sells for less than $500 in the US, with the cheapest, the Acer C7, going for just $199.

Those low prices have helped keep the devices at the front of Amazon's laptop best-seller list, where the Samsung Chromebook has remained in the top 100 for the last 259 days (and counting).

Google has also marketed Chromebooks aggressively to the education market, with special discount programs and management tools designed for school administrators. Lenovo's Chromebook product is targeted specifically at education.

NPD's Baker said all this points to a bright future for the Chocolate Factory's boot-to-browser devices, with the market for low-cost laptops projected to grow by more than 10 per cent in 2013.

"The entire computing ecosystem is undergoing some radical change, and I think Google has its part in that change," Baker said. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022