Four of Top Six Laptops on Amazon are … Chromebooks
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For years, critics mocked Google’s Chrome OS and the low-end laptops that came with the operating system as the default choice. One reviewer recently called it “7 minutes of Heaven, then 7 days of Hell”, while another reviewer asked whether one could “live with just a Chrome browser.”
But looks like Google and its Chromebook partners are having the last laugh.
In a stunning reversal of past fortunes, Chromebooks running Chrome OS and manufactured by Google partners such as Acer, Samsung and HP took four of the top six slots in Amazon.com’s best-selling laptop list, displacing Apple’s venerable MacBooks and PC laptops powered by Microsoft’s Windows operating system. And it doesn’t appear to be just a short-term change in popularity; PC World writer Steven Vaughn-Nichols notes that Chromebooks have been dominating the popularity list for a while. (A screenshot taken by Epoch Times on the morning of Nov 11 is included in this article, but note that Amazon’s best-selling lists change over time.)
As of the morning of November 11, the top selling laptops on Amazon were:
- Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook
- HP 11.6″ Chromebook
- ASUS Transformer T100 (Windows)
- Acer C710 Chromebook
- Toshiba Satellite C55 (Windows)
- Acer C720 Chromebook
So the Chromebooks have taken the #1, #2, #4 and #6 spots, with two Windows laptops rounding off the top six.
The popularity of the Chromebook likely lies in the fact that Chromebooks are the new Netbooks: low-cost, light-weight, under-powered laptops at a sub-$300 price point, but with decent enough performance for everyday use. The Acer C710 Chromebook costs $199, making it possibly the only usable sub-$200 laptop in the market today (and it is possible to get refurbished models of this in usable condition for as low as $129.) For an end user who’s entire computing experience revolves around the web (and particularly Google products such as Gmail), the Chromebook powered by Chrome OS is possibly a good enough computing experience.
This would also explain why (as noted in the above PC World article), Chromebooks are an extremely popular buy to replace aging laptops in educational institutions such as schools, which mostly provide a locked-down and web-based (and in some cases, filtered) computing environment to students.
Chromebooks also appear to have captured the heart of one small, hard-to-please but highly vocal group: software engineers and computer personnel, whose aversion to Microsoft products and Windows seems legendary. Software engineers using the Linux operating system often dislike buying Windows-powered laptops for their “Windows tax” (where a portion of the computer costs go towards paying Microsoft for its Windows operating system); Chromebooks have become a safe haven for this group of developers. Several IT staff have copiously documented how to get a full-blown Linux version on their Chromebook, using open-source tools such as crouton and chrubuntu.
Whether its being used by older folks, students or highly-technical engineers, Chromebooks appear to be making inroads in the market–and at least getting to the top of Amazon’s best-selling lists. But only time will tell exactly how far their popularity will go. The rise of Chromebooks will depend on whether companies can make delightful software that is purely web-based and runs in a browser, and how much support Google will throw behind the platform.