Chromebooks: the flop of 2011?
Puny sales figures
Google's Chromebook initiative appears to be a damp squib. Launched in May 2011, Chromebook sales are unlikely to exceed 30,000 units, despite backing from Acer and Samsung.
So says DigiTimes, in a story about phone maker HTC wondering whether it should adopt Google's Chrome OS for internet gadgets of its own.
Compare that figure with the 211m laptops forecast to have shipped this year and the 59m tablets.
Neither Acer nor Samsung have yet confirmed the claimed sales figure.
Acer's AC700 Chromebook
But Chromebook has at least one other backer: UK retain chain Dixons. Mark Slater, head computer buyer at Dixons Retail, reckons that "Chrome could be circa ten per cent of our computing business this time next year", the Telegraph reports.
There's a catch: Slater's forecast is contingent on "the right mix of hardware partners and a much greater consumer push with regards to the benefits [of Chrome OS]".
But, he adds: "It's not inconceivable for Google to push Chrome much harder before the arrival of Windows 8 next Autumn".
Google pitches Chrome OS as a desktop operating system with tight cloud integration, but in the popularity stakes it trails far behind Android, the company's mobile operating system.
A very slim, store-all-your-data-on-the-net device has a certain appeal to techies, but mainstream consumers are more likely to prefer Windows-based netbooks with beefier specs - especially when the Chromebook has no real price advantage.
Worse, the machines were launched when buyers were turning their backs on the netbook and shifting toward tablets.
Chrome OS may never change the world, but with both Mac OS X and Windows 8 becoming more cloud-centric and adopting UI features from tablets, it's easy to envisage slimline machines from Apple and Microsoft's OEM partners running mainstream operating systems - perhaps there'll be Android-based laptops alongside them - designed to access data held online not locally.
What do Reg readers think of Chromebooks? ®
more expensive than a regular laptop with 1% of the functionality! where do i sign up?!?!
Chrome books are Stupid unless < $50
Connectivity isn't cheap enough, reliable enough or ubiquitous.
Letting Google mind all your data? Stupidity.
No real saving in cost. This has been the case for over 25 years that a computer that has a terminal application is a comparable price or cheaper than a full function graphics terminal.
Not a new concept either. Simply a different protocol to the past (VT220, X-Windows, Citrix, VNC etc). If you have enough "grunt" to run a modern browser and all the stuff for remote docs and video you only need storage to have a decent real computer.
A Traditional OS too complicated? Well iOS and Android are appliance type solutions and OS X is heading that way. MS Windows and Ubuntu is attempting to be like that hence newer versions more irritating to those needing "traditional" flexibility in configuration, desktop and applications.
So called "Cloud Computing" (a new name for an old system, older than Microcomputers or PCs) is a complement not a replacement for either the "Appliance" type gadget (locked down tablet, like Archos, Apple, Kindle, Android) or full fat OS experience (GNU/Linux without a limited tablet interface, Windows XP and earlier, older versions of OSX, Solaris, various IBM stuff etc).
If you *COULD* do a Chromebook for $50, probably a netbook could be $50. So it would be still doomed. ANY Computer or "appliance device" with decent Browser can do what a Chrome book does.
LOL, those things are still around?
I never really understood the point of them. I put Google's OS attempts on the same plane as Microsoft's search adventures. Too little, too late and way off the mark.
To me it's not even about the price, I wouldn't get one even if it was $50 'cause if that was so the hardware would be crap and useless. If you want to exist in Web realm, there's Android/Apple/soon Win8 tablets; pricier - sure, but they're neat and light and mostly right on as far as features/capabilities/utility. For professionals, I don't know anyone that uses their laptops simply to store documents; there's always one or two at least, "special" apps that they use for work.
And even Google's aspirations on creating a unified, maintenance free, up-to-date OS would fall flat eventually if Android is any indication of things to come. The fragmentation is horrendous so from the development standpoint it is a one big patch-happy cock-up. Similar to Linux; great idea, great dev base and all that but Jesus tap-dancing Christ, 2 million versions, distributions, compile-this, aptget-that and most just give up on that idea well before they get started.
And then, if you're hell bent on using Google Apps (really?) why not just get a lappy of your choice and use them. I bought my 11-yo a 10" Asus netbook for 350 bucks. The device is fantastic, does everything that she needs and then some, so why the hell would I spend 500 on a glorified web browser. And for that matter, why would I spend anything on a glorified web browser?
If Google did not already have the Android platform and the world was 100% covered with affordable, high-speed internet connectivity this thing could maybe (maybe) have some legs to stand on. As it is, it's redundant at best and just plain stupid more likely.
I never saw the point in Chromebooks
Tight cloud integration is fine, until you are abroad, and data roaming charges apply (arm+leg, generally), even assuming you have connectivity at all (try mountain tops in Indonesia, or Uganda, or even in many national parks in the US). I want something that works really well locally, without internet connectivity, AND has good cloud integration for when internet is available. Other offers at the same price point just make more sense.
The price was too high, and the specs too mediocre.
How about an Ice Cream Sandwich netbook? oh wait, that would be the ASUS Transformer Prime. Good show.