A few years ago, Chromebooks were a bit of a laughing stock. They were under performing single-purpose laptops that weren’t even good at the only thing they could do (that is, surf the web). Nobody really warmed up to them, despite their low price. Early sales were more than disappointing, and even Google’s few hardware partners looked like they were only doing this as a way to court Google’s favor. The whole project seemed doomed from the start.
But somehow, over the last two years, Chromebooks went from being irrelevant to actually making a sizable dent in the laptop market. And not just in the business market. Amazon this week reported that two out of its three best-selling laptops during the holiday season were Chromebooks.
According to the latest numbers from NPD, Chromebooks accounted for 21 percent of all laptop sales and almost 10 percent of all computer sales to businesses in 2013. That’s up from virtually nothing in the year before.
Chromebooks accounts for 21 percent of all laptop sales and almost 10 percent of all computer sales in 2013
Two years ago, as per numbers shared by Google, it seemed Chromebooks were only doing somewhat well in schools. But over the last year, Google created a more diverse ecosystem of hardware partners. Chromebooks ecosystem now includes virtually all major laptop manufacturers, including the likes of Lenovo, HP, Toshiba and Acer and more to join soon.
With the $1,300 Chromebook Pixel, Google even designed its own high-end Chromebook. It was not very popular primarily because of its high price but it surely helped the ecosystem and potential business customers to warm up the idea, too. Over the last year, ChromeOS feels more like a regular PC and less than a laptop that can only run a browser. Chromebooks are usually criticized because of their limited offline capabilities and this is the one area Google’s engineers worked hard by adding more offline capabilities.
Today’s Chromebooks are nothing like the old Cr-48 prototype Google once sent out to bloggers in late 2010. And due to growing popularity of Chromebooks, Microsoft is concerned about losing market share in the business world.