Numbers show that Chromebooks are more popular than thought

Numbers show that Chromebooks are more popular than thought
Recently, a lot of sites have been jumping on the reported number by DigiTimes that only about 500,000 Chromebooks have been sold so far, and using it as proof that the platform is in trouble. Many are also trying to compare that number with the approximate 1.5 million Surface tablets sold so far, as if that's a reasonable comparison. It turns out the Chromebook numbers may be higher than previously thought.

In a new report by Forbes, Acer is reporting that about 5-10% of its quarterly shipments are Chromebooks, which could put the actual number of Chromebooks shipped by Acer between 205,000 and 410,000. And, Acer says that Chromebooks are selling quite well, especially in education where elementary schools and high schools are adopting the platform more and more. The rest of the sales are going to "├╝bergeeks" (like myself), who want a secondary computer. 

If the numbers from Acer are accurate, it seems unlikely that Chromebooks overall have only sold 500,000 units to date. Even if Acer is at the low-end of estimates, there are still Chromebooks from HP, Samsung, and Google, and Samsung's Chromebook has reportedly been the most successful model. 

So, it sounds like Chromebooks are more successful than we thought. And, maybe it's about time people stop trying to compare the sales of $200-$400 Chromebooks (we'll assume the Pixel hasn't sold enough to matter), with the Surface tablet that starts at $500 and jumps to $900 for the Pro (all without Type Covers.) 

source: Forbes



1. Android4u

Posts: 456; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

Great job Google. But, honestly I would never give up my macbook

5. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

the idea isn't that you give up your macbook entirely, but use it to supplement those small tasks

8. imkyle

Posts: 1115; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

You have cell phones and Tablets for that. Not a second computer or ultrabook.

2. amansingal14

Posts: 309; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

Sorry Google, I ain't giving up my Win8 right now. It is far better to have Office suite by MS than online Office solution. To all those mac fans, who could ask me if I had tried a mac. Yup, I have, but its not just for me. I like heavy gaming and all of that stuff...

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

If a Chromebook were available in a form factor like the Surface, I might give it a try. As just another notebook, I am not ready to give up my MBAir. I was really interested in the Surface Pro, until I ran into the Flash issue on the Pro. Since then, the Flash issue seems to have been resolved, so who knows, I may yet take the Surface Pro plunge. (Dunno) But I still won't be giving up my MBAir....

7. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

I don't understand this argument. No one is saying that a Chromebook will be a full replacement for someone who needs Win8 or Mac, but for $250, it's a really nice secondary computer. And, if you don't do anything outside a browser, it's a great experience. Chrome is far more stable and performs better on a Chromebook than as an app on another platform.

9. threed61

Posts: 259; Member since: May 27, 2011

Isn't it kind of straightforward? The Chromebook is a browser with a keyboard. If you can get Chrome and access to Google services for free on a laptop/tablet, why spend $200-$500 for a Chromebook. For $200 this is a niche item for those who only need to get on the net, and don't already have a device.

12. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

I'd say you're looking at it backwards. If all you need is a browser, why pay for a full laptop? The native experience of a Chromebook is better than what you get with Chrome on any other platform. And, while people always seem to think they need to do more with a computer, many only use those expensive laptops to go on the Internet anyway.

13. threed61

Posts: 259; Member since: May 27, 2011

I think I said that in my last sentence.

17. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Close, but "niche" makes it sound like its a very small proportion of the market that would find a Chromebook useful. I think that the majority of users are casual users, and won't need anything more than a browser.

23. kartik4u98

Posts: 511; Member since: May 19, 2012

Hey Michael, I just wanted to ask that should I buy a chromebook or not ? Mostly, I browse internet (a lot), work on ms word and powerpoint frequently, download and play songs and watch movies... Please guide me in buying a laptop. Thanks in advance :) PS- my budget is around $350 to $460

26. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

I give the same advice to anyone. If you need a consumption device, and won't need to type much, get a tablet. The Nexus 10 is in your price range. If you need to create content, and type a lot, a Chromebook is a great computer. Assuming that Office Live is good enough for your Word and PP work. The only thing you have to be careful with is that Chromebooks tend to be much better at streaming media than local playback. Watching HD Netflix works fine, but playing back a local movie file doesn't work so well. Also, not sure what you mean by "download", but Bittorrent is a bit awkward with ChromeOS because the few web-based clients aren't that great yet. Of course, you can usually grab a Chromebook and replace ChromeOS with Ubuntu, if need be. I haven't tried that out though, so I don't know how it performs.

31. Whodaboss

Posts: 176; Member since: Nov 18, 2011

@threed61 I agree with you 100%! Chromebooks are "niche" devices. Spending $200+ for a web browser seems somewhat silly to me. And if you spend closer to $500 then good luck with that. But we all have our preferences. I'm sure all of us can justify purchasing something to make it seem good in our own minds.

35. threed61

Posts: 259; Member since: May 27, 2011

I don't actually disagree with Micheal's recommendation. I think Chromebooks are a niche because most casual users will wind up with a tablet, for the apps or a comparable priced laptop for the extra options.

3. freebee269

Posts: 542; Member since: Aug 10, 2012

If I had the money and choice between surface pro or chrome book I won't choose the surface pro. People buying the surface pro don't care about this authors argument about the price. They want what gives them more options and the surface pro does that over chrome books.

4. darkvadervip

Posts: 366; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

But they did not mention most people buy them then sale them on Craigslist or eBay or just give them to their kids. Really chromebooks are just a android tablet in laptop form.

15. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Except it doesn't run Android.

10. jameswester

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

My guess is that anyone comparing a Chromebook to a MacBook Air or a Surface has never really used a Chromebook. In the past two years I've used every setup mentioned here -- MacBook Air, tablet with keyboard and Chromebook. I've chosen the Chromebook and have carried it to 15+ conferences and run a website using it. The Chromebook gets a ton of use and abuse. It still works great. Frankly, it's performed beyond my expectations. It required some getting used to, just like any other operating system, but I'm going to replace my original machine (which was one of the pilot units) with a Samsung in the next week. Is it a MacBook Air? No. A MacBook Air is a great computer but it's also minimum $900 more and has features I don't need. (And it's a part of an ecosystem that's not nearly as useful as that from Google.) And if I did half the stuff I do with my Chromebook it would be a very expensive paperweight. Is the Chromebook a "tablet with a keyboard?" No. It's much more of a work machine than a tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard. Even the best Bluetooth keyboards don't perform as well as an integrated full-size keyboard. (And the Surface membrane keyboard may be the worst designed thing I've used in years. Horrible. Otherwise the surface is an OK piece of equipment that also happens to be twice as expensive. Haven't tried to Pro yet, but $900 is silly.) For a large enterprise or school, where IT departments have to hand out dozens or hundreds of machines, and keeping those machines updated and secured is a nightmare, the Chromebook is a perfect piece of equipment. For people like me using it to cover conferences with a small, lightweight laptop that's durable and stripped down to the stuff I really need, it's also ideal.

14. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I can't justify getting a laptop that only runs Chrome, no matter how cheap. I would rather get the new higher resolution Nexus 7 that is going to come out.

18. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

The justification comes when you need a keyboard. A Bluetooth keyboard only gets you so far. Sometimes you need a dedicated keyboard.

25. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Michael, how does it compare to having full android in an Asus transformer Tablet plus keyboard?. I know it's apples to oranges, but I am really debating on getting a tablet with "netbook" capabilities for my wife. Is having Google apps on android (Google drive, translate, maps, gmail), plus third party apps... comparable to the usefulness of a chromebook?

27. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

I might say that a Chromebook is actually a better option, because the 10" Android app ecosystem is still lagging behind. So, paying 2x as much for a Transformer plus keyboard may not be worth it. As I said before, it boils down to if you need a consumption device or creation. If your wife will really need the keyboard more than not, the Chromebook might be the better option. But, if she's just going to use the keyboard once in a while, a tablet is probably better.

33. Damien_666

Posts: 37; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

Michael, I'm curiouis - what can a dedicated keyboard can do, that a bluetooth keyboard can't?

34. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

In tablets such as Asus Transformers, it gives additional battery, full SD Slot, USB host and a Trackpad. I have IMO the best BT keyboard out there (Logitech K810) but it is design for Windows 8 and does not have dedicated Android keys... however compared to my (Asus U47A) 14" laptop's keyboard, it is extremely similar, and it even has a better back lighting. But keep in mind that a Bluetooth Keyboard is just that... a keyboard found on a notebook or an Asus tablet, brings many features including something to prop the screen up...

16. belovedson

Posts: 1061; Member since: Nov 30, 2010

ive seen the chromebook at bestbuy sell out so i am pretty sure there are more than 500k sold

19. RapidCat

Posts: 351; Member since: Jun 12, 2012

can i play browser flash games with chrome books?

20. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Yes... Yes you can

21. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I think people here are misunderstanding something, we guys that do programming, need Photoshop, heavy gaming or specific features only a computer can bring are not the main target for chrome books, people like my sister who users her laptop to video chat, Facebook, editing one or two pictures writing documents, and doing simple stuff are the ones that will get a device that fits their needs for cheap, the average user only surfs the web these days, and all these things can be done with a chromebook

22. techloverNYC

Posts: 601; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

Is about the same price as a tablet and it has a full keyboard so it should be pretty useful at times

24. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

I love it, but I think I will keep on using my Win8 Asus Vivobook. Sorry Google!

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