Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Chromebooks Have a Lucrative Year; Should WinTel Be Worried?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the hey-as-long-as-you-can-snapchat dept.

Chrome 321

Chromebooks, and ChromeOS have come a long way, and this year two of the best selling laptops at Amazon are Chromebooks. Computerworld calls it a punch in the gut for Microsoft. "As of late Thursday, the trio retained their lock on the top three places on Amazon's best-selling-laptop list in the order of Acer, Samsung and Asus. Another Acer Chromebook, one that sports 32GB of on-board storage space -- double the 16GB of Acer's lower-priced model -- held the No. 7 spot on the retailer's top 10. Chromebooks' holiday success at Amazon was duplicated elsewhere during the year, according to the NPD Group, which tracked U.S. PC sales to commercial buyers such as businesses, schools, government and other organizations. ... By NPD's tallies, Chromebooks accounted for 21% of all U.S. commercial notebook sales in 2013 through November, and 10% of all computers and tablets. Both shares were up massively from 2012; last year, Chromebooks accounted for an almost-invisible two-tenths of one percent of all computer and tablet sales."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Betteridge's law of headlines (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45812863)

No.

Re:Betteridge's law of headlines (5, Insightful)

something_wicked_thi (918168) | about a year ago | (#45813433)

In this case, I think the answer is yes, but the headline is misleading nonetheless. First, some Chromebooks use Intel chips, so Intel is probably getting a cut of this. Microsoft has more to lose than Intel here.

Second, Windows faces competition from a lot more than just Chromebooks, and I'd argue that Chromebooks aren't the reason why Windows is hurting. Rather, Windows netbooks and tablets have failed to be very compelling, so all the other competitors are doing well. I think that, while Chromebooks are getting more compelling, the biggest driver here is that WinTel laptops are getting less compelling faster.

Third, aren't Windows sales dipping across the board, anyway, in favor of more mobile devices? That seems like the biggest threat to WinTel, not Chromebooks.

Re:Betteridge's law of headlines (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#45813663)

Third, aren't Windows sales dipping across the board, anyway, in favor of more mobile devices? That seems like the biggest threat to WinTel, not Chromebooks.

Computer sales in general are dipping across the board, because there's less reason to consider upgrading. Unless you count cell phone/tablet, many if not most of the people reading this probably haven't bought a new primary computing device in years. Heck, I'm typing this on a 3 year old laptop that is still running as well as it was the day I bought it. I have absolutely no reason to consider upgrading it until I start seeing hardware failures, and that could be another few years.

10 years ago, each new generation brought huge improvements in overall user experience/speed. Today, they're incremental at best, and most of the improvements that are being seen in the desktop/laptop markets are to do with power consumption, rather than actual speed improvements. Sure, buying a laptop which will run for 8 hours is better than that 3 year old laptop whose battery lasts 2.5 hours, is it *enough* of an upgrade to make it worth buying a new one? For most of us, no. Case in point: I'm using an inverter that I bought 6 years ago, rather than buying a new laptop with a longer-lasting battery right now (cellular data, too... in the back seat of a car that's travelling 100km/h through the countryside). Sure it's one more gadget to carry, it's still a lot cheaper than a new laptop which wouldn't give me any other improvement.

Re:Betteridge's law of headlines (2)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45813749)

I doubt Intel is really excited about their share of the BOM on a $200 laptop. But they have no choice. It's this or give the Chromebook to Qualcomm for Christmas.

Re:Betteridge's law of headlines (4, Interesting)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#45813765)

some Chromebooks use Intel chips, so Intel is probably getting a cut of this

That helps Intel, not the Wintel duopoly. In fact it helps wean Intel away from Wintel so its all good.

Chromebooks aren't the reason why Windows is hurting

True, the point is that a significant segment of the market is willing to buy a laptop without Windows. It's a harbinger. It is now evident that running Windows applications is not a killer feature for many customers after all, running a browser is.

Now Android laptops are starting to show up. This development constitutes a far greater threat to Microsoft's income than Chromebooks do, for one simple reason: the Android app market. We are already past the tipping point where 800,000 Android applications have more impact on day to day life than the usual Windows offerings. That enables a robust market segment which will attract further development so that Microsoft's traditional spreadsheet/wordprocessor breadbasket comes under attack. Google helped this along tremendously by buying and releasing Quickoffice as freeware. Libreoffice with an Android interface is not far away. The document processing argument for sticking with Microsoft is rapidly eroding.

Note that Android on laptops does not fit Google's agenda perfectly either: Google would much prefer that the market become entirely dependent on cloud offerings, regardless of whether that is best for the customer. Among other advantages, this lets Google "fix" the little problem that Android is forkable open source. But Android on laptops is now inevitable and is far preferable for Google than Windows or Ios on laptops. Android on laptops will help keep Google out of antitrust court for one thing.

While I am rambling on here, the next domino to fall will be Microsoft's server franchise, which is sustained largely by being the backend for Microsoft's email applications and directory infrastructure. Who needs it when Gmail is so much less bother? Look around you at work: do you already see this trend under way? Yes you do.

Well, what next? Some of us were sure that Microsoft would eventually end up as a console company but several factors now cast doubt on that: Sony is thumping Microsoft in this product cycle; the gamer demographic is shifting to an older, more casual mix that is perfectly happy whiling its time away with cheesy touchscreen games instead of hardcore console blockbusters; and Stream walked. Suddenly it starts to look like Microsoft's traditional PC monopoly could be the last part of the ship to sink and its games business will turn out to be just more dead weight pulling it down faster.

About the only thing Microsoft could do to accelerate its sink rate would be to make Elop CEO. We can only hope.

How many don't use the chrome part? (5, Insightful)

taxman_10m (41083) | about a year ago | (#45812865)

I wiped the Chome OS off of the Chrombook. For me it was just a cheap netbook.

Re:How many don't use the chrome part? (2, Interesting)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about a year ago | (#45812933)

This is what I hear from everyone I know who has one. I know of 7 people with Chromebooks, they either wiped Chrome off or left it getting dusty on a shelf, one or two given to someone else. I must state that none of these people bought their Chromebooks, they were given for free from Google.

So, does anyone actually know of anyone who has bought one? Why do they sell well on Amazon? A race to the bottom to release cheap hardware, Chrome OS machines being one of the only ones left as OEMs have learnt that racing to the bottom doesn't work.

Profitability? (4, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#45813037)

This is a guess I'm pulling out of my @$$, but they look pretty profitable to sell. Those screens can be had for $50 bucks in quantities of 1000 (let alone what Samsung buys) and they hardware's a cheap SOC. The entire thing's probably under $120 bucks and you can sell it for $250. That's a pretty sweet profit margin. It's kinda like how Android phones were outselling Windows 8 Phones because the sales reps got better bonuses. Amazon's going to push the product with the better margin.

@$$? Really? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#45813235)

This is a guess I'm pulling out of my @$$

You can say "ass" at Slashdot, we are mostly adults here.

And even more, if it's a "personal thing" about profanity, if you are typing "@$$", you are thinking "ass", and so you are just as "guilty" of offending whatever thing it is about the word "ass" that offends you.

Re:@$$? Really? (4, Informative)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#45813295)

It's spelled 'arse' :-)

Re:@$$? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813367)

It's a US centric site mate. Don't you have a croc to skin or a kangaroo to wrestle or something?

Re:@$$? Really? (1)

iamnotasmurf (3464141) | about a year ago | (#45813445)

It's a US centric site mate. Don't you have a croc to skin or a kangaroo to wrestle or something?

Arse is also used in the UK and Ireland, you insensitive clod!

Re:@$$? Really? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#45813717)

It's spelled 'arse' :-)

So that would be... @r$3 ... ?

Re:@$$? Really? (1)

fido_dogstoyevsky (905893) | about a year ago | (#45813595)

This is a guess I'm pulling out of my @$$

You can say "ass" at Slashdot, we are mostly adults here.

And even more, if it's a "personal thing" about profanity, if you are typing "@$$", you are thinking "ass", and so you are just as "guilty" of offending whatever thing it is about the word "ass" that offends you.

Donkeys are offensive now?

Re:How many don't use the chrome part? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45813093)

It's a $200 Haswell notebook. Why would it not sell?

Re: How many don't use the chrome part? (1)

Alioth (221270) | about a year ago | (#45813127)

If it's Haswell then surely the Intel bit of 'wintel' has nothing to fear?

what did they install (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813177)

if your friends installed anything except Windows, then the answer to the title might be "yes."

Re:How many don't use the chrome part? (2)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#45813657)

I have a friend sitting next to me who's not the most computer-geeky of folks who likes hers; she's aware that one could wipe ChromeOS and put something more useful on it, but for now it does "everything she needs". She does have another laptop elsewhere (a larger thing).

Amazing $200 Linux laptops (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45812965)

Re:Amazing $200 Linux laptops (2)

taxman_10m (41083) | about a year ago | (#45812985)

Mine is a C7 w/ 320 gb hard drive. 16 SSD seems a bit small to me.

Re:Amazing $200 Linux laptops (5, Informative)

CdBee (742846) | about a year ago | (#45813017)

should be noted that at the current time the touchpad is not supported in Linux distros, so it must be used either entirely from keyboard shortcuts, or with a usb mouse/trackpad/rollerball. Still a great deal but thats quite a failing in a laptop that doesnt have a touchscreen (unless you buy the C720P touchscreen version which is 50% more expensive)

Re:Amazing $200 Linux laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813079)

You should be able to use the chromebook kernel (and drivers), but with a completely separate user land. Just be sure the kernel version matches the system admin tools. But otherwise, there shouldn't be any problem with the distribution.

Touchpad kernel patch (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813097)

If you wipe ChromeOS with Arch Linux, there's a patch available for the C720 touchpad. [archlinux.org] They even have the touchscreen working for the C720P. I know they're working on getting the patches to work with Ubuntu, Mint, etc.

Alternatively, you can just run Crouton to duel-boot alongside ChromeOS...which solves the touchpad issue.

Re:Amazing $200 Linux laptops (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45813019)

Also, for $99 you can upgrade the ssd to 128GB [amazon.com] . Now it's a pretty killer laptop for $300.

Re:Amazing $200 Linux laptops (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about a year ago | (#45813511)

Wow, that's cool. I had assumed these things were built more like tablets or "ultrabooks" (with soldered-on flash).

Re:Amazing $200 Linux laptops (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45813731)

Sadly the RAM is soldered on, or people would be bumping that to 4 or 8 GB as well. The 4GB versions are perpetually sold out.

Re:Amazing $200 Linux laptops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813163)

Looked good until you quoted the screen resolution.

When will we get a decent (i.e. non 1366x768) screen? Yes I'm prepared to pay alittle extra for it.
I gave up on x768 screens 10 years ago.

Cup of Tea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813229)

It's not your cup of tea - that's fine, and you're willing to pay extra for higher res. The reason it's $199 is because it has a mass-market cheapo screen. Look in the $300 and up range, and you'll find your device.

Re:Amazing $200 Linux laptops (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45813243)

They may have something for you at CES.

Solely for banking/financial activities ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813039)

I wiped the Chome OS off of the Chrombook. For me it was just a cheap netbook.

Bought two, one was for a cheap Linux laptop. Emphasis cheap, trackpad especially so. Yet it is the first time I repurposed or dual boot a laptop and had full functionality due to a complete working set of drivers.

The second chromebook is intact and serving a more useful purpose. It where I do online banking and other financial activities. Its used for nothing else.

As far as Google's more general purpose intent for a chromebook. Sorry, PCs and Macs do a better job, even when bought into the google docs idea.

Online banking and other financial activities ?? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813377)

You are using an OS specifically designed as spyware and you are using it for online banking and other financial activities?? Seriously??

Re:Online banking and other financial activities ? (2)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about a year ago | (#45813575)

I just need a quick bit of clarification: you are speaking about ChromeOS and not all flavors of Windows, yes?

Re:How many don't use the chrome part? (4, Interesting)

pesho (843750) | about a year ago | (#45813121)

I bought a samsung chromebook for the kids and it is still with the original ChromeOS. Perfect for what they need - web browsing, simple document creation. Even I occasionally pick it up. I will likely buy one later this year for my parents to replace an old Windows XP Netbook. Again it is going to do all they need to do and at the same time require a lot less maintenance than Windows. I think google has found a nearly perfect balance here. The only drawback is the somewhat finicky printing. Let's face it the operating system has become a cheap commodity, as far as the the average consumer is concerned. For consumers the hardware and the OS are inseparable parts of the same package, and the nature of the OS is a little concern for most of them. In this mindset the price takes a lead in the purchase decision and windows hardware with its price premium for the OS is bound to loose. And before you jump up and start telling me how much more windows and MS office can do, let me make clear that we are not talking about business PCs. The chromebook primary market is the home users.

Re:How many don't use the chrome part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813585)

The only drawback is the somewhat finicky printing.

I'd like you to do some reading on the NSA... You know, there are alternatives that don't spy on you. Not windows, not mac osx, not chrome os. I'm talking about an operating system that doesn't have a vendor.

Re:How many don't use the chrome part? (4, Interesting)

D1G1T (1136467) | about a year ago | (#45813293)

Bought my Acer Chromebook with the intention of running Linux on it for use as an on-site network diagnostics machine I didn't need to fear getting stolen. I have found myself using it much more in the chrome side of the dual boot. Web browsing, checking mail, and even the occasional netflix movie. Basically what other people use tablets for, except it has a physical keyboard. It's a great little machine.

Re:How many don't use the chrome part? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#45813323)

shame about the browser. if this thing came with a detachable touchscreen it'd be a great Firefox OS device!

Re:How many don't use the chrome part? (2)

cmorriss (471077) | about a year ago | (#45813609)

I bought an Acer C720 for my wife. Chrome OS is nearly perfect for her. All she does is surf the web and the small amount of photo editing can be done in web apps like pixelr. Plex and Netflix work like champs.

The only hitch was Skype as she uses it to talk to her family in Italy. That's where linux comes in. Installed crouton and have it running aside chrome OS. Skype runs beautifully in it and she can hear a call while in chrome OS and switch with a single key combo and switch back when finished.

Microsoft should be worried about this. It will only improve and piece by piece take over the last remaining bastion of their empire.

There are a lot of people eating their hats (4, Interesting)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about a year ago | (#45812875)

Seems like Google found a pretty good formula there. I'm not sure Chromebooks will ever be even the single #1 overall netbook OS, lots of people need support for things Chrome doesn't do, but it is pretty impressive that they've got this much market penetration. I'd have scoffed at the possibility a year ago myself.

Re:There are a lot of people eating their hats (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about a year ago | (#45812927)

Everyone else kinda stopped selling netbooks didn't they? I would have preferred a netbook with roughly the same specs as a Chromebook and for roughly the same price, but such a thing didn't exist. Just a few years back there seemed to be plenty of different options.

Re:There are a lot of people eating their hats (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45813047)

The way netbooks were killed was always sort of fishy.

Re:There are a lot of people eating their hats (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813241)

The way netbooks were killed was always sort of fishy.

It's not "fishy"; it's a clear favour from the PC manufacturers to Microsoft. This is the one which Microsoft used to test their bargaining power before screwing them over by starting to build their own tablet hardware. They just wanted to know how far they could go. The same way that Microsoft got Nokia to agree to go exclusively for MS Office on Symbian and then completely failing to deliver the software before forcing them to change over to Windows on all their phones.

The basic aim was to size up the PC manufacturers for the death blow. As with Windows Phone, it seems that Steve Ballmer just didn't have the accuracy to strike where it was needed and instead Google is coming in and taking their market.

Re:There are a lot of people eating their hats (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#45813245)

Not really. They were a pain. Atom really did have what was (at the time) miraculous power consumption, but it struggled with a lot of tasks.

The novelty of an easily-portable laptop was relatively new outside of obscene price points (Intel's ULV parts cost a lot more back then), but quickly wore off once low-power parts became available, starting with Nehalem and solidifying with Sandy Bridge. Ivy Bridge made tablets viable and Haswell improved on that.

It turns out there isn't much of a market between crappy Atom tablets with docks and 1000 buck Core tablets.

AMDs efforts came somewhat late when the market was already drying out and sacrificed battery life, so they never ahd much impact.

Re:There are a lot of people eating their hats (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#45813521)

I found they weren't bad running Linux, but were quite slow when running windows. I could even run another Linux version in a VM reasonable well with only a GB of RAM. Not too shabby. I actually still have an original Acer Aspire around being used as a media player (audio) and a few other things. I think Microsoft pushing XP on netbooks is what killed them. I think it was a smart, but dirty move, and they would have needed to worry about Linux a lot sooner if they hadn't.

I never see people with Chromebooks. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45812981)

I'm a full-time college student, and I'm a part-time web developer. I'm constantly surrounded by the demographics that are the heaviest users of mobile and portable computing devices. Yet I NEVER see anyone using a Chromebook, even though it's something I specifically watch for.

Nobody in my lectures uses one of them. Most of them have an Apple laptop of some sort, or a Dell. I never see people in the college library with Chromebooks. Again, they've got their iLaptops, Dells, and occasionally a tablet.

Nobody at my workplace uses a Chromebook, from executives to managers to the marketing squad to us lowly web devs. We all have real laptops, and there are a few people who use a tablet now and then.

Nobody I know outside of work and college has a Chromebook. None of my extended family members do, my wife doesn't, my kids don't, and none of my friends do.

Even on the goddamn subway or bus I never see people carrying a Chromebook, never mind actually using it. When I'm out for lunch or getting a coffee, again, I never see Chromebooks being carried or used. The last time I was on a flight, I saw lots of people using Apple or PC laptops, but nobody had a Chromebook.

If these devices truly were as widespread as is claimed, then why the hell am I not seeing anybody actually use them? Of the hundreds of people I'll see with devices in a given day, or the thousands upon thousands of people I've seen since these devices first came on the scene, none of them have or are using a Chromebook. I see Apple laptops. I see PC laptops. I see tablets. I see mobile phones. But I never see Chromebooks. Never!

Re:I never see people with Chromebooks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813085)

But you do hear of Slashdot users using them...LOL

Re:I never see people with Chromebooks. (4, Informative)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#45813101)

You have to parse the report. This isn't overall sales - this appears to be sales through third-party channels. No Apple Store or apple.com sales, no Microsoft Store sales (ha ha), etc.

How many people do you know who purchased a Mac at Best Buy?

Re:I never see people with Chromebooks. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#45813525)

Where I am, most people buy Apple gear at Best Buy. There's only one Apple store, and it's not particularly convenient for many. Many more probably don't even know it's there.

Only seen at kitchen table when paying bills. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813131)

I use a chromebook exclusively for personal banking and similar financial activities. Its used for nothing else. No email, no web browsing ... its a special purpose dedicated device. Unless you are my kitchen table when I'm paying bills you wouldn't see it.

Re:Only seen at kitchen table when paying bills. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813193)

I use a chromebook exclusively for personal banking

Do you also only shower in the sex offenders' wing?

Re:I never see people with Chromebooks. (2)

pesho (843750) | about a year ago | (#45813141)

Because most of them are in the homes of people who shop at walmart, and reading your post you rarely visit such places. Nevertheless they are a huge market.

Re:I never see people with Chromebooks. (4, Insightful)

savuporo (658486) | about a year ago | (#45813321)

Probably because people buy them for grandparents and kids etc who obviously dont drag them out to look trendy in coffee shops at Noe Valley.

Re:I never see people with Chromebooks. (1)

substance2003 (665358) | about a year ago | (#45813337)

I've used one for a while (an Acer C7) and traveled with it to Europe. Served me well with a dual setup Chrome OS Ubuntu Linux setup but I did find it somewhat disappointing at times. I ended up selling it off and buying a full fledged laptop afterwards.

I would think that one reason you don't see them much is because they are left home. The same people buying these probably use the saved money to buy a tablet for on the go computing.

Also keep in mind, 20% of the sales are for this year. People you see on the streets using laptops out there have models purchased up to 5 years ago. Chromebooks don't have an accumulation of years of sales so If (and that's a big if) their sales trend continues for 2-3 years. Then we will see them in the wild more. Otherwise, they'll end up like the Wii was to casual gamers. Collecting dust in a closet which is incidentally what prompted me to sell mine as I don't want my closet filled with techno junk.

That's my nickel's worth since we don't have pennies here anymore.

Re:I never see people with Chromebooks. (0)

Known Nutter (988758) | about a year ago | (#45813469)

iLaptops

How cute and trendy of you. They're called MacBooks, dude. All of Apple's laptops are MacBooks.

Re:I never see people with Chromebooks. (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#45813747)

The most likely markets for a Chromebook would be at home, or at work in a small business that can operate entirely on web-based apps. The least likely place to find it would be on a train, where network connectivity is probably a bit of an issue since most people don't have tethering plans.

If I had to buy a relative a computer it would be a Chromebook. It does just about everything they'd be likely to need a computer for, and it basically requires zero support. If I were starting a small business and didn't have a need for any thick-client applications I'd also use Chromebooks - again zero overhead.

I don't see why they wouldn't be useful at college, but whoever is paying for college is already sinking tens of thousands of dollars a year on the exercise, so why they'd be concerned about how much they spend on a laptop isn't clear to me. Plus, they're not the same fashion statement an Apple product is.

Re:There are a lot of people eating their hats (2)

the_humeister (922869) | about a year ago | (#45813031)

It doesn't hurt that it's pretty trivial to put Ubuntu on these things. I have a Samsung Chromebook with the dual-core Cortex A-15 processor, and I put Ubuntu 12.04 on it. All the things I can't do i ChromeOS (image editing, etc.) I do in Ubuntu.

Re:There are a lot of people eating their hats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813181)

This was not sales to consumers. In other words, this is sales to a purchaser that thought it sounded like a good idea for their organization.

I don't expect many employees and students will be all that impressed by the extremely limited capabilities of ChromeOS.

Its us geeks who should be worried. (1)

tonywestonuk (261622) | about a year ago | (#45812883)

No Comment!

Re:Its us geeks who should be worried. (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about a year ago | (#45812913)

From that standpoint the blame should lay with MS and Windows 8. No one wants to give anyone who may need support a laptop with Win 8 on it.

Lucrative, or high selling (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about a year ago | (#45812903)

The subject line and body are not the same thing. Having excellent sales implies nothing about whether or not it was lucrative. The opposite is also true, of course, just ask Apple, or Porsche.

Re:Lucrative, or high selling (1)

pmontra (738736) | about a year ago | (#45812961)

You're right. Nevertheless MS should still be worried if people buy chromebooks instead of Windows machines. Less sales, less profit for MS. The profit made by chromebook manufacturers doesn't matter. Actually I care about my profit, not theirs. It's much better for me if their margins are thin or even sell at a loss: it means more value for my money.

linux compatibility? (2)

richlv (778496) | about a year ago | (#45812909)

can we hope that this means all hardware being perfectly supported by linux ?

Re:linux compatibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45812987)

no, it means binary blobs.

Acer C720 - best kept Chromebook secret (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813051)

The Acer C720 [amazon.com] Chromebook is Intel Haswell-based, and perfectly compatible with most Linux distros.

Phoronix did an awesome review of linux on the C720 [phoronix.com] several weeks ago, and in short: it's awesome. It runs everything you'd need - movies, internet, USB 3.0, streaming, 7-8 hours of battery life. There is some issue to work out with the touchpad, but it's possible to run most distros out of the box with an external mouse, or by applying a kernel patch. This is temporary though - I'd expect the touchpad to be incorporated in due time.

For $199, there's no better laptop on the market for Linux.

Re:Acer C720 - best kept Chromebook secret (1)

m.dillon (147925) | about a year ago | (#45813103)

I just ordered one of these precisely for its small form factor and haswell guts. Haven't gotten it yet but I had been looking for something along those lines for over a year now. The only downside is that the internal storage uses a NGFF (M.2) SSD slot rather than a full-blown SATA port, so the amount of storage you can throw into it is limited.

That said, I expect I can just upgrade the internals to ~64G and then connect up an external SSD via USB for higher capacity to backup my camera cards.

-Matt

128GB $99 SSD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813135)

Check out this 128GB NGFF SSD. [amazon.com] $200 for the C720, $100 for the SSD ....it's a damn fine value. Anything else you might need can connect through USB 3.0 or the SD card slot.

Re:Acer C720 - best kept Chromebook secret (1)

Stryker2 (258706) | about a year ago | (#45813299)

I have one. I purchased it for browsing and watching streamed videos. The trackpad sucks, but it works well for online use, and it has a larger screen than tablets. I was using a Kindle Fire HD for wireless browsing, and this beats it hands down.

I toyed with the idea of replacing ChromeOS, but I'm not so interested in tinkering any more.

Could be good news for MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45812919)

Nothing like a real live wolf at the door to help focus the troops and get rid of *some* of the inside political games.

Case in point: after Netscape was sold off to AOL, development on IE basically stopped until Firefox ascended and started grabbing crazy market share.

Re:Could be good news for MS (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#45813315)

It pretty neatly handles the "bare machines are only for pirating Windows" argument. All Microsoft needs to do to avoid that is not write and sign the drivers for this. Any bets on how long it takes them to come up with a tailored install kit?

How many were bought by parents who had no idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45812929)

Merry Christmas kids!

Shit.....

Re: How many were bought by parents who had no ide (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813331)

my girlfriend's mother bought a chromebook for her younger brother for christmas. they are very un-tech savvy and the only computer in the house is in mom's bedroom. all she wanted was something cheap and troublefree that would keep him off her computer playing facebook games. it's like she was already describing the chromebook before i suggested it. some people are totally casual users and only relate to a computer like it's a xbox or cell phone. the only thing they ever install is malware on accident. these people aren't creatives, office workers or students...they're children, blue collar laborers, the elderly...basically the family members that bug us with silly computer questions. there are a lot of those people out there.

Re: How many were bought by parents who had no ide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813677)

my girlfriend's mother bought a chromebook for her younger brother for christmas. they are very un-tech savvy and the only computer in the house is in mom's bedroom. all she wanted was something cheap and troublefree that would keep him off her computer playing facebook games. it's like she was already describing the chromebook before i suggested it. some people are totally casual users and only relate to a computer like it's a xbox or cell phone. the only thing they ever install is malware on accident. these people aren't creatives, office workers or students...they're children, blue collar laborers, the elderly...basically the family members that bug us with silly computer questions. there are a lot of those people out there. But no matter, they wound up being really really smart by accident. The Linux based operating system clearly is the most advanced available anywhere at any price. They may not be tech savvy, but somehow managed to avoid the crapware that is windblows. Good for them! Perhaps they will never have to suffer with windblows. I'm happy that there are millions of them, perhaps even billions. Since they don't have to suffer fixing windblows all the time, they can be creative, office workers, and students. Its very simple: the end user experience is secure. You can connect to a company high speed wireless service. Data is secure on company servers. If its stolen, no data breaches. The people who use this are genious!

Lucratively sitting on the shelf doing nothing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45812931)

Enough with the Chromebook hype already. They're fad devices, just like tablets. Yeah, a lot of people may have temporarily deluded themselves into thinking that there was some practical benefit to these kinds of devices, but that fantasy wears off soon enough. Then these half-assed, restricted, Internet-required devices end up sitting on some table or shelf somewhere collecting dust because they tend not to be very useful at all.

Mobile phones are useful. Laptops are useful. Desktops are useful. Anything between them tends to be very impractical because they feature the worst of their neighboring device types. Anything less than a mobile phone (including fancy digital watches) are too small and without enough processing power to be useful. Tablets bring the worst of mobile phones (restricted software environments and limited processing power) without any of the benefits of laptops (useful software environments and a useful amount of processing power). Chromebooks are between tablets and laptops, but still in that damn-near-useless void. Those extra-large laptops are also in a useless void, since they're too large to be portable, but don't offer the processing capabilities of desktop systems. Desktops are, of course, useful for anyone doing anything remotely serious.

It really doesn't matter how many units of these devices are sold. What matters is how much productivity they help enable. Mobile phones, laptops and desktops have an excellent record of increasing productivity significantly. Tablets and Chromebook-style tablets-with-keyboards don't.

Re:Lucratively sitting on the shelf doing nothing. (3, Insightful)

pmontra (738736) | about a year ago | (#45813009)

I don't think tablets are a fad. They are a zero maintenance and more mobile version of the laptop, much better for the vast majority of people that had to use a computer in the past 20 years only because of the Internet. They're now free from much of the hassle of managing a computer. Chromebooks might be a fat tablet for the guys that really need a keyboard but still don't need a traditional OS. Disclosure: I don't own a tablet because I don't have any clear use case for it. I need to use a "real" laptop and I have a smartphone, tertium non datur.

Re:Lucratively sitting on the shelf doing nothing. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813129)

I think that tablets are more like the motorcycles that a lot of middle-aged American men own. They're a luxury or status symbol, rather than something that's meant to be useful. These men each have a motorcycle, and use them maybe once or twice a year, for only a few hours at a time. The rest of the time these motorcycles just sit in a garage covered with a tarp. But merely owning one allows these men to brag to one another about owning a motorcycle, and then they can act all macho about how they supposed (but don't actually) spend time fixing it and tuning it up. And any real transportation needs are satisfied using their car. It's much the same for tablets. One hipster buys it so he can carry it with him when in the presence of other hipsters, who bought their tablets for a similar reason. They can sit around bragging about the apps they've bought, but never actually use. Then they just end up using their laptops or desktops when they actually need to do anything using a computer.

Re:Lucratively sitting on the shelf doing nothing. (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about a year ago | (#45813561)

Most tablets are used to play games from what I've observed.

Re:Lucratively sitting on the shelf doing nothing. (2)

motek (179836) | about a year ago | (#45813213)

On, my... So, what was the increase of productivity brought about by TV?

Re: Lucratively sitting on the shelf doing nothing (2)

msevior (145103) | about a year ago | (#45813683)

My 19 year old daughter is doing a course in Industrial Design. She has a highend macbook (retina display , all ssd), Samsung Note tablet and Fedoera 19 PC which is shared with me. Her time on device is Notebook , PC then MacBook. The tablet is mostly used the consume media and drawing, the PC for when she wants a big monitor or needs to write or print sonethind and the Mac for Adobe products.

Clearly the tablet is a useful device that serves a reasonable fraction of her needs.

It's not that ChromeOS is good... (2, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | about a year ago | (#45812939)

it's that Windows 8 isn't.

Re:It's not that ChromeOS is good... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813015)

it's that Windows 8 isn't.

Isn't that how Windows became the desktop, by being "good enough?" Now that Windows 8 isn't good enough the market is wide open. Well, that and webapps.

Re:It's not that ChromeOS is good... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813493)

In what way? A UI change that got a bunch of people hysterical, while the solution to it is readily available?

Yeah, that's a media problem.

I LOOKED FOR A CHROMEBOOK RECENTLY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45812953)

And couldn't find anything recent !! All old junk !! There was a recall but check Amazon yourself !! There is Google's at $1500 or more and forget that !!

What's with the ancient Chrome logo /.? (0)

angrykeyboarder (791722) | about a year ago | (#45813061)

They've had two since this one.

Suffers from the same problem as Windows Rt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813123)

See, it looks like a laptop, but the first thing people ask is "does it run... xyz?". I know a few people that have bought them, persevered with them, got frustrated and now they're gathering dust. Granted they do what they do faster and better than a Windows laptop in the same bracket, but they simply can't do as much, and you run into those limitations really fast.

Market Saturation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813173)

As a machine that cannot serve all computing needs, Chromebooks will reach a point of market saturation, as most people will never use them as their primary computers. WinTel doesn't need to be worried, except in the greedy capitalist market share sense (they'll be forced to make room for another entrant in the market).

Chromebook Market was Microsoft's for the Taking (2)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#45813175)

Dave Winer has some interesting thoughts on this [scripting.com] , arguing that the Chromebook market was Microsoft's for the taking, but they instead chose to cut bait on netbooks, ceding the market to Google.

Yes, but not of the chromebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813183)

I recently bought my two computer illiterate brothers $99 tablets (no activation, owned free and clear) from Aldi (Medion Brand).

Now they can email, and surf, and that other shit since I taught it to them in a matter of hours Christmas night. Hell, they don't even need to type, google provides text to speech that's pretty damn good.

Besides surf, my parents only use the computer to do taxes. Their program is now online. No backup worries, no compatibility issues besides a semi modern browser. Half the windows only programs they were previously using was utilities to keep windows running.

The OS has ceased to be important and soon will no longer be a cost that will be tolerated. Whatever OEMs pay for a copy of Windows, I'm guessing $50, will soon be $50 too much in an era of low cost notebooks and netbooks.

Tablets became microsoft's rebar. They weren't willing to commit a fullblown windows to it, crippling it more and more with amount of apps running and what not, out of fear, until they lost the whole thing.

Within the next decade, desktops will beat a retreat away from homes back to the office. Tablets will run android (and iOS). Chromebooks will become more common not because people care about the OS, but rather it won't matter most of the time.

This isn't to say MS will be out of business, but their business inevitably will shrink away from homes.

Everybody's missing the point... (5, Insightful)

jddeluxe (965655) | about a year ago | (#45813195)

Chromebooks aren't for geeks, they're what you buy for your Mom/Dad/kids/salespeople so you don't have to play tech support because they can't be screwed up like a Windows laptop can.


They are making great inroads into educational and some business markets for the same reasons, low acquisition and support costs.

Re:Everybody's missing the point... (1)

MoonFog (586818) | about a year ago | (#45813389)

How is that "missing the point"? Geeks are not exactly the vast majority here. Let's face it, we're actually a MINORITY when it comes to computing. I'm pretty sure Google will be pretty happy if they can hook the non-geek marked since that's where the money is. Getting Chromebooks for the mom/pop/younger siblings out there is exactly what Chromebooks are good at and it also happens to be a very, very large market.

Totally Underappreciated Taiwanese Geeks (5, Interesting)

retroworks (652802) | about a year ago | (#45813261)

I'm kind of a "fanboi" of Simon Lin and Terry Gou. Many of the stories in /. seem blind or deaf to the history of the "white box" manufacturers and "ODM" (original design manufacturers) who build the gadgets that USA Operating Systems run on never seem to get their share of appreciation. Chrome and Android basically did what "white box" permission by IBM and MS did in the early 90s, but much more quickly... allowed Asians to invent and design stuff which is actually more affordable and better made than the originals. I remember people mocking and making fun of "Jap cars" like Datsun, and the "made in Japan" sticker being an object of derision. Then it was Hyundai and Kia and the Koreans. It seems like we have to learn the same lessons over Taiwan.

BTW Lin is behind Wistron and Acer, Gou is behind Foxconn. Together they employ more engineers and inventors than anyone else.

ARM Sales (1, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#45813291)

Just curious how the ratio of ARM/x86 there was.

It was really nice to see a ARM entry into the market, but no one seems to know its there..

This can only mean one thing (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#45813351)

2014 will be the Year of the Linux Desktop!

Of course, this isn't the kind of thing where everything actually changes all at once - what really happens is that slowly but surely most of the key functionality for computers is web-based, so as long as the protocols are well-understood and implemented by a bunch of different clients that leaves users free to choose operating system platforms on other factors (like freedom, price, or coolness) rather than the applications deciding for the buyer. And eventually, the threats that Microsoft makes when an OEM doesn't put Windows on everything will not have enough teeth to be effective.

Chromebooks (-1, Troll)

fisted (2295862) | about a year ago | (#45813373)

Chromebooks!

The same group of Prople behind

KDBUS
Wayland
Gnome3
Pulseaudio
Systemd
Journald
Alienating Udev
Alienating 95% of their Userbase

If you all have so much problems with the ideology of Unix then why do you use a Unix based System. Why don't you move on and create your shabby world elsewhere ? Without causing more damage to ours ?

Re:Chromebooks (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#45813517)

While I deplore lousy software as much as anyone, Gnome3 et al were by Ubuntu, and Chromebooks were by Google. Different groups of people.

Re:Chromebooks (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year ago | (#45813761)

Indeed, Chromebooks are a real userspace frankenstein. It is a Gentoo derivative that runs Upstart. Yes, go look it up...

Re:Chromebooks (1)

bluegutang (2814641) | about a year ago | (#45813679)

Is this a new meme?

$ITEM

The same group of Prople behind

$PREVIOUS_LIST_OF_ITEMS

????

As someone that bought a couple of these... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813481)

They were Christmas gifts to a couple family members that mostly use computers for web browsing. In their case it was a perfect fit, and to my surprise, you can get a lot of functionality through Chrome apps for if you want to go beyond web browsing. I also specifically told them I could put another Linux distribution on them if they didn't like what it could do by itself, but I haven't got any such requests from either one.
tl:dr, they're good computers for what I'd venture to say the majority of people use their computers for, including said family members. I can see reason for Microsoft to be concerned.

Slanted article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813551)

"Chromebooks increasingly threaten Windows' place in the personal computer market." What a load of bunk. Windows' place in the personal computer market *should* be the trash heap. A punch in the gut? Instead of a right to the solar plexus, they really deserve a kick just a little bit south of the solar plexus. I for one am way past tired of their predatory tactics: a competitor comes along offering better product, they spend billions to kill it, then drop their sales and go back to crap service, buggy product and high prices. Worst is their software lock-in. I don't really expect anything different from Computerworld though. They are a 'branch plant' for m$ marketing. They make it sound like mickeysoft deserves people's business, instead of being required to earn it. I hope the OEM's gang up at the spring CES and 'Whack Mickeysoft'. That's marketing talk for 'get a better licensing deal from the abusive proprietary software vendor.' I for one am tired of buying computer, then wiping the mickeysoft crapware and installing a real system on it.

"Best selling" is fairly meaningless here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813631)

Chromebooks being "two of the best selling laptops on amazon" would only be a "punch in the gut" to x86 machines if they were a significant portion of ALL laptop sales. Picking out several models in a market with that many different varieties is missing the big picture.

Windows 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45813753)

More like Windows Dirge. Screwing up a major OS release twice in a decade has to be the reason Ballmer is out.

Worried? In about 10 years maybe (5, Insightful)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | about a year ago | (#45813769)

Wintel has already lost teenagers, grandparents, and all those who use computers just for email and facebook. They have switched to phones, tablets, and now some of them to Chromebooks. If Chromebooks weren't around, they still wouldn't be buying Wintel, but Android or iOS.

But...corporate America is still solidly entrenched, and they are just now moving on from Windows XP to Windows 7. In 10 years or so, when Windows 7 is as old as XP is now, That's when they will start to think about where to go next, and whatever it is, that option isn't around yet. So we'll see!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?