back to article Why 2014 might just be the year of the Google Chromebook

Can Google’s Chromebook become the laptop platform of choice during 2014? Probably not, but there’s certainly demand for it. According to US market-watcher NPD, during the 11 months from January through November 2013, the platform’s share of the computing device market had risen to 9.6 per cent from just 0.2 per cent in the same …

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  1. Stanislaw
    Happy

    "Netbooks done properly: Cheap, the right size and without Windows"

    So, like they were meant to be then? Before some idiot turned them all into small laptops? My cup runneth over.

  2. Martin

    And if they are really getting 10% of the market...

    ...the software makers might start coming on board too - which won't do any harm.

    All we need now is a few Chromebooks at a couple of hundred quid with a better screen than 1366x768.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. PJI

        Re: And if they are really getting 10% of the market...

        >> but really other than photo editing and a somewhat longer battery life, the little Samsung isn't inferior to the Macbook Air.

        Photo editing is quite a big thing for many people. The MBA is a fully fledged, reasonably powerful computer that can be used for photo editing, code development, games, word processing, without regard to overly restricted disc space and, critically, without any network connection. If your usage is just for simple documents, email and web browsing, you should be happy with a tablet or one of the better "smart phones". Comparing the MBA with a chromebook is like comparing chalk and cheese.

        A Chromebook is a network device and a fairly tightly controlled one at that. Without a half decent network connection it is barely useful and its portability and useability outside urban areas (and outside buildings with free wifi) are compromised. I expect they have improved; but just last year I discovered one could not even install Skype. I see no practical advantage, except perhaps price, over a decent tablet or low end windows laptop or, considering the sheer prettiness, portability, performance and battery life, of something like the iPad Air or latest Nexus.

        Then again, do you want to be dependent upon, say, Google+ to do anything? There seem to be a few screams about the new MS Office model where it is "cloud" hosted in return for the licence fee instead of having a local installation. Why is a Chromebook viewed any differently, where almost everything is "cloud" based?

        Of course, my comments about the MBA are just as valid for any other full computer, whether windows or Linux or OS X.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And if they are really getting 10% of the market...

          "If your usage is just for simple documents, email and web browsing, you should be happy with a tablet or one of the better "smart phones". "

          I have a tablet (well, two actually), I have several smartphones, and none of them are nearly as good at document editing or email as a small laptop with a proper keyboard. I haven't tried the latest Asus Transformer, which has a proper keyboard, but I think it's around £5-600. The Surface RT with a very poor keyboard is currently £309 and is out of stock on the Microsoft web store. The iPads,without keyboards, are £249 and up.

          So no, I'm not happy using any of them for that and they cost more.

        2. Euripides Pants Silver badge

          Re: And if they are really getting 10% of the market...

          "A Chromebook is a network device and a fairly tightly controlled one at that. Without a half decent network connection it is barely useful"

          Until you put your favorite version of Linux on it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes Grim reading For MS Beancounters

    Good luck to Ballmer's replacement, they're going to need it.

    1. fixit_f

      Re: Makes Grim reading For MS Beancounters

      Maybe they'll going to need to decouple Office and Visual Studio + the runtimes from it's dependency on Windows to survive. This will be a good thing for those of us who prefer to avoid Windows but like Microsoft's dev environment.

  4. nematoad Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Don't think so.

    "Netbooks were arguably killed off by tablets..."

    More likely netbooks were killed off by Microsoft.

    Which were seen by them as a threat to their Windows empire.

    I stlll use an Asus eee701 running Linux which was as you put it " Cheap, the right size and without Windows"

    Then along comes MS using its muscle and a loss leader in WinXP and all of a sudden netbooks became large, bloated and more expensive.

    MS had effectively killed off netbooks before the rise of the tablet.

    1. Tim Walker

      +1 for the Eee 701SD :-)

      My 701 is humming away contentedly on the desk here - it's a great little machine, and has never had any MS Windows variant anywhere near its SSD. (Arch Linux since 2011 - IMO, the perfect distro for rolling your own lean and fast system. Even WinXP will barely get out of bed on this little fella, but with Arch it fairly zips along.)

      Funny how the 701 was slagged off for being "too small" (hence a large part of its appeal to me - fits on a FGW train "tray-table" when few other machines would), but 7" tablets are now everwhere...

      1. Andyroid5

        Re: +1 for the Eee 701SD :-)

        They are a tough little unit ..I run mine on the bench PSU with the battery removed, find it helps with the lifespan of the battery. ...as said Lubuntu boots in seconds on it as does Puppy Linux from the SD card..

        Will definitely weep when I finally kill it ... ;)

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: +1 for the Eee 701SD :-)

        My 701 4G just keeps on going, and has been my main machine since 2008 - it runs even better now I've doubled the RAM, too. Bodhi Linux FTW! (and TLP for power management: http://linrunner.de/en/tlp/tlp.html)

        1. frank ly Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: +1 for the Eee 701SD :-)

          I have an Eee 901SD and it's running MINT 13 MATE quite nicely if a little sluggish sometimes. I know many of you are now shouting at me but it has exactly the same software as my desktop PC and my laptop, same GUI setup etc. Having said that I didn't bother installing Blender or any screen video recording software.

          It prints, it scans, it browses over WiFi, it runs Gigolo and Insync and Dropbox all at the same time and Thunderbird works fine, so I'm very happy with it.

    2. jason 7

      Re: Don't think so.

      Nah, wimpy single core CPUs, slow SSD/HDDs and highly inadequate 600 pixel depth screens was more of a hindrance.

      Parts bin specials for clearing out old tech.

      People say MS limited the spec but remember the first ones launched by surprise from Intel/Acer/Asus with Linux installed and the hardware spec didn't radically change much from then on when Windows appeared on them several months later.

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Don't think so.

        > Nah, wimpy single core CPUs, slow SSD/HDDs and highly inadequate 600 pixel depth screens was more of a hindrance.

        OK, so not the Asus, my netbook is an HP2133, so a rather better screen than most laptops have, if not quite the 2560x1600 sort of screen of a modern tablet.

        As to the slow CPU and disk, you've missed the whole point. Netbooks aren't small full function PCs, they're useful in their own right and sure beat dragging my quad core mobile workstation down to the coffee shop to glance at a few emails and surf a bit of web. They pre-dated the iPad, so many people who just wanted that sort of functionality have gone tablet. Those of use who wanted the easy input of the keyboard still like netbooks. But it isn't a replacement for my laptop.

        1. jason 7

          Re: Don't think so.

          Yes but you expect it to be slow because you know how the spec will respond.

          But I got fed up with Joe Public bringing their netbooks to me asking..."Its really slow...can you make it faster!"

          To which the reply was usually "Well your netbook is slow...because its slow!"

          Like a Morris Minor owner asking why his car gets pulled over on the Autobahn.

          They didn't want me to slap in another 2GB of ram and a SSD, because they paid next to nothing for it so what was the point. Plus it often meant near complete disassembly to get anywhere.

          Had they brought me a laptop from 2006/7 I could do something with that. Slap in another GB or two and swap out the old single core Celeron for a £10 Ebay C2D. Bingo, good for a few more years.

        2. Number6

          Re: Don't think so.

          I think the problem was the people who expected desktop or high-end laptop performance from a netbook.

          I use mine (Aspire One) for general stuff that doesn't need too much CPU grunt. I'd love to be able to refresh the form factor with a new CPU, given that five years is a long time in computing. Anyone want to produce a motherboard with a newer Atom CPU to replace the one I've got?

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Don't think so.

      Netbooks were killed by greed. Asus, HP et al saw ultrabooks and tablets coming along and used them as an excuse to kill the format. Why bother making a netbook on thin margins when you can charge an arm and a leg for something filling essentially the same purpose?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't think so.

        "Asus, HP et al saw ultrabooks coming along"

        No, sorry, never seen one in real life, though I have occasionally read about them. Are they extinct or something?

        ps

        Ultrabook is a trademark of Intel. Please don't forget:

        http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/trademarks/ultrabook.html

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't think so.

      You and many other may have been happy with Linux. However the average user was used to Windows and that was what they wanted.

      The "Microsoft killed them" argument is just a case of "A Big Boy did it an ran away"

      Until Linux gives the punters the applications they know and are used to it is dead and buried on the Desktop/Laptop.

      NOT applications that may be as good. But the the same applications

      2014 will not be "The Year of Linux on the Desktop"

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Don't think so.

        > The "Microsoft killed them" argument is just a case of "A Big Boy did it an ran away"

        Yes they did. They used 'loyalty discounts', and revived XP to force their OEMs to offer XP netbooks _only_. If the OEMs could have offered XP _or_ Linux then the outcome may have been different. As it was XP required larger disks, so HDs were installed, more CPU, more RAM, and this priced them the same as small laptops.

        Netbooks were intended to be cheap with DVD player screens, SD 'disks'.

        > 2014 will not be "The Year of Linux on the Desktop"

        2014 won't be _anyone's_ year on the desktop. It will be Linux's 'Year on the Personal Compters', again, where these are the more personal smartphones and tablets. Not just with Android, but with FirefoxOS, Tizen, Sailfish, Ubuntu and others.

        > Until Linux gives the punters the applications they know and are used to

        What most users are 'used to' is Firefox, Chrome, and Android apps (and iOS apps). You may want to only use Windows, Office, Photoshop and Visual Studio and no one will stop you doing that.

      2. jgarbo
        Linux

        Re: Don't think so.

        "Until Linux gives the punters the applications they know... "

        You don't get it. Linux is NOT a company, it's only a name. Linux does not have to do anything. Whether you use it or not doesn't matter. It's free, it works beautifully, has a friendly, helpful community of intelligent people to ask for guidance.

        Or do it the other way. Your choice.

    5. Al Jones

      Re: Don't think so.

      @nematoad - The same old bollox about MS killing netbooks. It was the netbook manufacturers who pleaded with MS to give them "loss leader XP" because they couldn't make any money selling netbooks with Linux on them.

      If there was a market for linux based netbooks, chinese factories would have been churning them out, just as they are currently churning out no-name android tablets. They didn't churn out linux-based netbooks because the market just didn't exist.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't think so.

        @Al Jones : "They didn't churn out linux-based netbooks because the market just didn't exist."

        May well have been true back then. Very few folk back then acknowledged that there was a possibility of life outside the Window box.

        Times change. Lots of people now realise they can do what they need to do without needing a Wintel box.

    6. jgarbo
      Linux

      Re: Don't think so.

      Agreed. Still get 3+ hrs out of my eee701, running Mint 9 smoothly, banging out reports and stories, cruising the net and watching movies off a USB drive. Real keyboard, stereo sound, instant On (with Suspend). And the size of a paperback. What's a tablet? ;-p

  5. Himalayaman

    They are selling better because Joe Average has no clue what it is and it is cheapo.

    1. Stumpy Pepys

      If that were true

      then people would be returning them in droves. (Maybe they are, but you'd have to post some figures to back up your assertion.)

      Read the Amazon reviews for the Samsung Chromebook--people know what it is and what it does, and they generally seem satisfied with it. They're very useful machines for a certain market segment, even if they're of no use to you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If that were true

        As opposed to Linux Netbooks which people DID return in droves.

        Waiting to get downvoted since it's forbidden to criticise Linux on the pages of El Reg

      2. zen1

        @ Stumpy

        Brilliantly put: "They're very useful machines for a certain market segment, even if they're of no use to you."

        That being said, everybody wants to get in on a good thing. A certain percentage of the consumer market shows an interest in something and then the industry assumes that 100% of the market wants it. As much as I hate to admit this, I'd be interested in something that could provide the same look and feel to what I'm used to, for the uses I have... Privacy issues aside.

        I'm still not sold on the whole "the cloud is the answer to everything" argument, because outages happen, shit breaks and I can't say I'm overly thrilled with my data floating around on a server managed by someone I don't know or know how many people actually have administrative access to it.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      File under "People making buying decisions I don't like"

      So if Joe Average had a clue, what would he buy?

  6. Andyroid5

    Still using my first gen Asus eee 701 on lubuntu., have played with the new pads n pods...better specs maybe but bogged down with more baggage.. its all smoke and mirrors... :)

  7. Big_Ted
    Thumb Up

    I have a chromebook

    Luckily I got one with 3G in as well. This is a great little machine and does everything I want it to, the only thing it doesn't do so far is run windows programs. Have I missed that? no not at all, I do not use it for work so Google Docs etc do all I need, add to that the fact that I dont have to constantly install security fixes, virus updates etc etc and its a perfect machine for a non techy as well. I can see a lot of these being sold to older people as it does browsing, email etc which for many of them is everything they want.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I have a chromebook

      >I can see a lot of these being sold to older people as it does browsing, email etc which for many of them is everything they want.

      I think Big_Ted has hit the nail on the head.

    2. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: I have a chromebook

      Does it have a good (offline) version of patience or other card games?

      If so then it might be exactly what my dad is after.

      1. jason 7
        WTF?

        Re: I have a chromebook

        Why do you have to be 'offline'? Your Dad isnt one of those old codgers that still switch their router off when they are not using it?

        Like those that only have their mobile on when they need to call you. You know who they are.

        Offline happens maybe a twice a year to me.

        1. PJI

          Re: I have a chromebook

          >>Why do you have to be 'offline'? Your Dad …

          So, your personal usage model and fear of being non-existent because you can not be contacted must be the right one for everyone else? Was it Pascal who put forward the idea that things only exist if you can see them? Better keep permanently connected and Lord help you if you go out of WAN range.

          You top off this arrogant ignorance with gratuitous denigration of anyone old enough to be "your Dad", presumably including most of the greatest IT innovators. Actually, a standard piece of security advice for those educated enough to understand is: turn off your private router if not using it. So such old codgers may be cleverer than you.

          I expect you leave all the services on your mobile on as well, so you can pull down the latest tweet or email and flatten your battery even when in no position or necessity to use the device. Do you leave the car engine running just in case you want to drive off quickly, because you can?

          One day, you will be "an old codger", not too far off now judging by your attitude. Bear in mind that, according to the demographics scaremongers, the old codgers of both sexes are becoming the majority, including in IT.

          I expect you leave all the services on your mobile on as well, so you can pull down the latest tweet or email and flatten your battery even when in no position or necessity to read it. Do you leave the car engine running just in case you want to drive off quickly, because you can?

          I seem to be somewhere between old codger and Grumpy Old Man stage. Great.

          1. jason 7

            Re: I have a chromebook

            I think I touched a nerve there! Sit down and drink your Horlicks!

            Are your kids sticking labels on your stuff already then?

        2. Professor Clifton Shallot

          Re: I have a chromebook

          "Why do you have to be 'offline'? Your Dad isnt one of those old codgers that still switch their router off when they are not using it?

          Like those that only have their mobile on when they need to call you. You know who they are.

          Offline happens maybe a twice a year to me.

          I can't imagine why anyone would ever pass up the opportunity for a call from such a charmer and I hope you let your acquaintances know that the internet disapproves of them missing out.

          My dad doesn't switch his router off but he does get out and about more than twice a year and while the beaches and countryside in his part of the world have many tremendous attributes, internet connectivity is not one of them so if he wants to take along a lightweight computing device to augment his leisure activities it will have to be able to provide some services offline.

    3. Saint Gerbil

      Re: I have a chromebook

      "I dont have to constantly install security fixes, virus updates etc etc" until they get the market share and get targeted.

      Much like Apple used to tout that they didn't get viruses, then they became popular enough.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Need to replace my trusty Samsung N110 netbook, since it's taken so much abuse the hinge has now cracked, and a Chromebook may fit the bill. I like the small form factor and I don't need the power of a more up market laptop, since I run Linux and find that even doing Java development in NetBeans is acceptable on the N110. What I would need though is the ability to replace the Chrome OS with regular Linux, and possibly put a larger SSD into the machine. Trouble is, none of the reviews I've seen of Chromebooks talk about upgradability, presumably because these machines are so cheap that they're almost considered as disposable as mobile phones.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      The latest Acer chromebook has 2gb of ram solidered onto the motherboard so that can't be upgraded. Lots of chromebooks are also using emmc rather than 2.5" ssd and I have no idea how upgradeable they are.

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Storage, Storage and more storage

    No all of us lives in an 'always connected' world. I only have to go to my local park and there is naff all mobile signal apart from one bar on Three. EE? nach, O2? Nope, Voda? no chance.

    given the lack of storage on these devices they are totally unsuitable for me unless I can have at least 128Gb.

    nice design concept but frankly Google's latest farcical change to Gmail/Goolgle+ has made me wary of getting into bed with them any more than I can.

    If I were to buy one of the devices then I'd wipe the supplied software and load a linux (not Ubuntu) onto it.

    However, my old EEEbook is still going strong so I really don't feel the need to give into the 'shiny-shiny' and ditch it on for one of these.

    1. localzuk

      Re: Storage, Storage and more storage

      You aren't the target consumer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Storage, Storage and more storage

        "You aren't the target consumer."

        No, your data is the target.

    2. Big_Ted

      Re: Storage, Storage and more storage

      So buy a few SD cards of an external drive.

      There sorted it for you.

      Or buy a laptop with no connection in the park still....

      Oh and why are you taking a laptop to the park ? why not use it in the garden etc etc....

      1. John G Imrie Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Oh and why are you taking a laptop to the park ?

        Because there are more pretty girls to look at in the park?

        1. John G Imrie Silver badge
          Happy

          Appologies to all the ladies who read the Register

          In the interests of balance

          Because there are more pretty boys to look at in the park?

        2. Martin

          Re: Oh and why are you taking a laptop to the park ?

          So if there are pretty girls (or boys) to look at in the park, why take the laptop?

  10. dogged

    It's weird how Chromebooks getting a sub 10% market share means Windows is dead but WP8 getting a 10% market share means WP is doomed.

    1. Hellcat

      Agendas. That is all.

    2. fandom Silver badge

      Because, as hard to believe as it is now, there used to be a time in which Windows had 99% of the market.

    3. John G Imrie Silver badge

      It's not the size that matters

      It's what you do with it.

      Or in this case which direction you are travelling.

      1. dogged

        Re: It's not the size that matters

        Both appear to be rising in.market share. So....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not the size that matters

        "It's what you do with it"

        Indeed. The square root of fuck all in most cases no doubt.

        Ignore me, I'm not a "target consumer" :)

        1. John G Imrie Silver badge

          Re: The square root of fuck all in most cases no doubt.

          Some where between i and -i then.

  11. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I think netbooks were partly killed by disappointment. Too many people bought them as cheap laptops. Which they simply weren't suitable as. With either Linux or Windows.

    Also laptops continued to get cheaper, from the £400 for anything useable at the time down to £300 for an OK one nowadays.

    So I suspect that the Chromebook may rise, and fall, in a similar way to the netbook. The geeks know what they're buying, and will be happy. The normal users may think they've scored a decent sized £200 laptop, only to find it only works when connected to the internet, and they can't put iTunes on it - or fill it with photos.

    Of course, I may be wrong. People may be buying them instead of tablets. Actually given that the decent tablet bluetooth keyboards seem to cost around £70 (and often only fit one specific model of tablet) it may be cheaper than buying, then repacing, one of those to just keep a Chromebook around for long emails / forum posts. Or in fact buying them because they're cheaper than 10" tablets.

    As a piece fo purely anecdotal information, I've been in PC world 5 or 6 times in the last few weeks. I've been variously after a cheapo desktop PC in a hurry, helping a friend buy a laptop and playing with tablets. I don't think I saw a single customer at the side of the shop with the full-fat Windows tablets and the Chromebooks. Goodness knows why they're placed together. There were plenty around the iPads, fewer round the Android tablets, and a good number around the laptops. Even a hardy few still buying deskops - and the odd one lusting after the huge tables of Apple kit. Then again, for a company supposedly having a great Christmas, the store was never even close to full, and I was actually approached by several staff on each visit, offering 'help'.

    The fact that I had to get my phone out and get a spec online for one of the laptops I was showing my mate, reflects amusingly badly on the company... This was while at the desk with 'small business expert', who couldn't find the model on either their internal system, or their website. I suppose I should have just booted it up and gone to control panel, if only they'd had a power lead handy.

    1. localzuk

      Many people chose poorly to be honest. There were some great netbooks out there. The Samsung NB110 was my favourite model (stupid power button aside).

      There was a glut of Win CE based Netbooks available, which were super cheap (£100 or less) and people bought these thinking they'd be better than the Linux models. Only, they weren't. They were phenomenally underpowered, with 128Mb RAM for example. I had a string of people contacting me asking me if I could "fix" their netbook as it froze up if they tried to go to Facebook. The same fact was, the machine didn't have enough resources to render the page!

      Combine that with Windows XP and later 7 Starter being shoe-horned onto 'good' netbooks, causing them to be sluggish and unusable (which lead to them increasing spec, and therefore price, meaning buying one was pointless as a normal laptop was cheaper).

      1. Tim Jenkins

        "There were some great netbooks out there"

        'Great' can be anything that meets your perceived needs for an acceptable price. My wifes requirements for web access, email and a little light Office on the sofa while watching TV are adequately met by her Asus netbook running Win 7 Starter, particularly after I'd cracked it open and installed a non-netbook-spec extra gig of RAM. My 'needs', on the other had, are fulfilled by the quad-core monster upstairs with SLI GPUs and screen the size of a barn, 'cos some of those zombies have really small heads...

  12. Rallicat

    I love that the headline and the subheadline boldly give the impression that this is an article explaining why it will be the year of the Google Chromebook, but then within the first /sentence/ the words 'probably not' are used. Linkbait much?

    Anyway, lets keep in mind that these NPD numbers being bandied around lately showing chromebooks at 20% are based on business to business sales (and by that we mean 'sell-in', not 'sell-out') and as I understand it, for North America only. So, it's inaccurate to draw conclusions that consumers are moving in droves to Chromebooks.

    To me Chromebooks are just another incarnation of Netbooks, with all the same flaws therein. The real threat to Windows is not that Chromebooks will do well, but that Chromebooks will deliver another shift in the perceptions of consumers about what personal computing hardware should cost.

    After Netbooks, consumers were less willing to return to the days of paying high prices for PCs and laptops. Thus putting the squeeze on the 'old model' for Microsoft and it's partners. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons Android tablets sell so well, particularly 7 & 8" tablets that are priced affordably.

    Another shift in consumer perceptions could well deliver damage to Windows, but in the long term there's only so far that can go. PC sales may have declined, but the PC industry is far from dead.

  13. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Now its possible to see why Dell went private

    I doubt shareholders would have the courage to allow Dell to turn on MS with a vengance. If the (Reg) story about a £125 chromebook coming out in Feb, that with crouton will run a full blown linux - including full development suites and LibreOffice, and a few hundred thousand other apps I can see them selling a few of those.

    I have avoided Dell for years but I'm going to buy one of these and have a play and then probably pass it on to my daughter as it will piss all over any droid device for her to do her homework on the bus.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Now its possible to see why Dell went private

      Kids today have enough breathing space and calm on buses to do their homework??

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now its possible to see why Dell went private

        Has her bus got wi-fi now? Or is there reliable 3G (and a cheap data plan) along the whole route?

        Glad you take her homework so seriously. She should go far with that kind of support.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Now its possible to see why Dell went private

          re AC 11/1 18:36 Has her bus got wifi? No - but she's knows that and she's going to a school that doesn't give marks for googling stuff. I used to do my homework on the bus - and we didn’t even have calculators. She also gets to do her homework at home if she hasn’t finished it on the bus, or the homework classes they have at school.

          And if she needs support from us it's there - I don’t know why your sniping like that - is it because the only time your kids interact with you is when you do their homework for them because you assume the worst of everyone?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now its possible to see why Dell went private

      Unfortunately Dell have had a history of being first into a market and then jumping out. I'm thinking of the Dell mini 9 with linux and the Streak phone. I still use the mini 9 with Ubuntu netbook linux and it is ideal as a travelling laptop for surfing and email. However for local daily use it has been supplanted by a phablet which fits into a pocket and demonstrates that mobile Firefox can't connect to Starbucks wifi but Chrome can. I've given up on Panera wifi with any machine. I'd also like to see a lightweight linux netbook, but don't have much hope.

      1. Al Jones

        Re: Now its possible to see why Dell went private

        Dell has a manufacturing pipeline that is more tightly connected to consumer demand than anyone else. So when it throws out something new to the market, it sometimes encounters a tepid response, because the people who normally buy Dell weren't looking for that device, and the people who were looking for that device don't usually look to Dell for their toys, and Dell moves on to other things - you can't "Stack 'em High and Sell 'em Cheap" if they aren't selling.

        It'll be interesting to see whether Dell stays the course with the BayTrail Windows tablets - they've even started to advertise them on TV, and the 32GB version of the Dell venue Pro 8 is currenly at #24 on Amazon's Sales Rank for Tablets, and #74 for Eletronics over all,

        (It's behind 14 different versions of Kindle, 2 iPads, the Nexus 7, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, the Surface RT, 3 android tablets that retail for < $80, and a Foscam (?? On the tablet list? WTF, Amazon?)

        14 different Kindles! Talk about market fragmentation!

  14. batfastad

    Netbooks

    Don't diss 'em! I still rock an Asus 1005HA-P. It's one of the 10" screen ones, not those early ones with a glorified CF card "SSD", massive black borders around the screen and a cut-down Linux OS.

    Dual boot Win XP (gah) and Linux Mint, battery life still getting 9+ hours (covers a full transatlantic flight + airport faffing), 4GB RAM and only 1Kg in the bag. Replaced the HDD with a cheap SSD last year and it goes like a train. Well it struggles a bit with HD video on Youtube, or vimeo and anything to do with Silverlight. But I get infinitely more done on this than I ever could on a tablet. Being able to run real desktop applications is just ideal. At £200 for the amount of use it's had over 4 years it's been a total bargain. How much is the Nexus 7 again?

    Unfortunately when it comes to replacing my netbook, I'm probably going to end up with both an Ultrabook(tm) and probably a tablet, for those times when the ultrabook is too big. This netbook though, goes in the bag and works everywhere.

    If they had just dumped stock Android on these Chromebook things from the start instead of ChromeOS then that would make people seriously consider them, as the hardware generally seems decent. Internet access coverage when travelling around is nowhere near complete, reliable or cheap enough to go cloud only.

    1. Ant Evans

      Re: Netbooks

      This is being typed via an Acer netbook acting as a virtual desktop terminal. It's only 5 years old. When it dies I will certainly take a look at a Chromebook, if Google still exists in 2023.

  15. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    No Chromebook for me...

    ... until a) I can be sure it will allow me to work on project development without having to be/store them online and b) a means exists to completely eliminate Google from them.

    While I don't doubt that all of the major players are stalking everyone in their own way, I've yet to see a Microsoft Street View car driving round my neighbourhood, slurping up all the wifi it can and working out my house door number...

    1. Big_Ted

      Re: No Chromebook for me...

      Sorry but try useing Google for a minute and you will see you can install standard linux on most of them and dual boot. Plus they have slots or SD cards and USB ports for external drives.......

      As for MS slurping via Street View cars they are too busy sorting out the NSA access to your computer and browing / email etc etc.......

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Daniel Bower

    Dear Google

    Could I please buy a Chromebook so that you have access to all my documents as well as my emails and entire browsing history so that you can better profile me and serve me up an endless stream of ads that I am still not interested in...

    Nope, not for me I am afraid. Call me old fashioned but I like MY documents on MY hard drive thank you very much.

    1. The last doughnut

      Re: Dear Google

      What makes you think that's your hard-drive?

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Dear Google

      >I like MY documents on MY hard drive thank you very much.

      I assume that you either encrypt your hard drive, or don't have any sensitive data about 3rd parties stored on it. We still get news stories about USB sticks left on trains, or laptops stolen from parked cars. Several years ago my mate was issued a works laptop running a custom Linux distro, purely for logging onto his organisation's VPN; they did not want their data on a hard drive in the wild.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dear Google

        At least with your own hard drive you have the choice. You can just be careful and not expose it, physically, to all and sundry or, in most systems, just turn on encryption or install an equivalent. If you suffer the loss of the system, being so clever and technical, you probably have passwords on the BIOS, your login, any admin accounts and encryption. You know, the first line of security is physical: access to the computer and a lock on the door of the computer room. Once you get past those, all bets are off. With Google Docs and similar, all bets are off from the beginning as the first line of defence is not even available.

        Also, even if in the most with the most wonderful internet provider, it can still go wrong. I am with a mainstream, reputably one of the best, internet providers in Europe. Yet at least a couple of times a year I just lose all connectivity for a few hours, confirmed once I can get on to their website and read the bulletins later.

        As already mentioned by others, local data and programmes means you can work offline even if travelling abroad or to areas without 3G, ethernet or wifi connectivity. It depends upon your usage if this matters.

        With all your data on some "cloud", anyone who manages to see you type your name and password or just someone with various other break-in software techniques, or some "agency" or Google have access from anywhere and you would not even know, until those embarrassing comments about your job or your girlfriend or that large bank transfer become public.

        However, the way people expose themselves on facebook and its ilk, perhaps personal computer security is no longer relevant for very many.

        1. Frank Gerlach #2

          You Mean, Like,...NSAKEY ?

          So you are suggesting Google services are as unsafe as Windows machines ? NSA can sign whatever executable they want to inject into your Windows box by means of NSAKEY ?

          Yeah, sounds about correct.

          That's why people should liberate their Chromebooks and use it like an ordinary Linux/X11 machine.

    3. JP19

      Re: Dear Google

      "so that you have access to all my documents as well as my emails and entire browsing history"

      Yep and your downvoters are the dicks that already give google all their personal information and would feel better about it if everyone else did as well.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm...

    This whole market share and forecasts thing is odd, I keep hearing about Chromebooks and how well they're doing, but I have yet to see one in the wild. I find this doubly odd because I also keep hearing about how badly surface/WinRT and surface pro are doing and I've seen oooh, maybe four of these (I accept this is a vanishingly small sample set). I have seen a fair few Android and iPad tablets, but again vastly more iPads than Android, even though Android is supposed to have a much larger wedge of the market.

    Why is this? I should be seeing Android tables all over the place, many more than iPads, but I just don't. Is it my demographic, or am I missing some witchcraft in the numbers?

    1. Philippe

      Re: Hmm...

      You're hanging out too much at Starbucks.

      Having said that, I never go to Starbucks and I've never seen a Chromebook outside the stores. This would makes sense. You need Wifi to take full advantage of these devices and the best wifi is at usually at home.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm...

        I would accept this if I hung out with Hipsters all the time, but I really don't. The nearest I get to hanging out with hipsters is my hairdresser (ipad/iphone, natch) but most other people are, well, normal. I can't remember the last time I went to a coffee shop, so it's not that. This is all based on friends, family, colleagues and people in the pub or on the train.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google OSs do seem to be popular with the younger generation

    At least if my daughters are representative. They use an Android tablet for games, and a Chromebook for homework and e-mail (and also Flash games).

    I remember a funny thing from a few years ago when one of them wanted to create a document for printing. This was before she'd ever used a Chromebook. Did she look for "Word" in the "start" menu? No, she typed "openoffice" into the browser. She knew she needed a word processor, she'd heard that "openoffice" was a word processor, and she expected applications to be available through the browser.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another perspective...

    I originally disliked the idea of Chromebooks due to distaste for The Cloud and not having all my data held locally, etc - but in reality so many people are now used to sitting down and casually websurfing on a tablet that these may well turn out to be perfectly acceptable for people who basically have similar needs but would be much happier with a real keyboard. I've done a U turn on dismissing them as pointless. Good Luck to GOOG.

  20. Julian Bond

    Not quite ready yet

    What can't you do on a Chromebook (without using dev mode and Crouton or Chrubuntu and maybe not even then)

    - Access a home NAS

    - Rip a CD

    - Run a full Open/Libreoffice

    - Run a dedicated media player like iTunes, Winamp, WMP, Amarok etc

    - Sync an iPod/iPhone

    - Upload to Google Music Player

    etc etc. This will get fixed but Chrome-OS still feels a bit unfinished to me.

    All too often you can't upgrade the hardware either. Soldered RAM? No thanks.

    Meanwhile the latest and current crop of Chromebooks would make excellent Netbooks. Can I have one with Win7 Home Premium on it please?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Not quite ready yet

      If you want to pay nearly double you probably can.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Not quite ready yet

      A lot of that you can't do on a 1000quid mac book air either

      1. PJI

        Re: Not quite ready yet

        >>A lot of that you can't do on a 1000quid mac book air either

        Oh yes you can and more. Stop trolling and try using a mac book or a mac mini. Of course, some minimal computer knowledge may be necessary for you first.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Not quite ready yet

          Has a built-in cd drive does it?

          If you are allowed to include extra peripherals then my chromebook can ssh into the ISS and run a space station so ner-ner-nee-ner-ner

    3. Frank Gerlach #2

      007 F.U.D. Attack

      Just liberate your Chromebook and then you can run LibertyOffice on it:

      https://www.google.de/search?q=installing+debian+on+a+chromebook&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:de:official&client=firefox-a&gws_rd=cr&ei=-hrQUrWEJMrNhAfuqICQCw

      Store your files on your LibertyServer:

      http://raspberrypiguide.de/howtos/ssh-zugriff-unter-raspbian-einrichten/

      Get yourself a proper DNS name for free to find your LibertyServer behind the DSL modem:

      http://blog.mivia.dk/free-dynamic-dns-for-raspberry-pi/

    4. k9gardner

      Re: Not quite ready yet

      Of course you're right with all of these limitations, and I did my own research before buying my Chromebook. But I was working on a specific project, I needed to do a lot of text editing, on an ad-hoc basis, wherever I happened to find myself. I had actually started trying to do it on my iPad, but that was just really crippling. I was doing a lot of copying/pasting, switching among several Word and PDF documents and websites, etc, and it was painful. Buying the Chromebook, for a price of $250, seemed a no-brainer.

      In fact, in the field, it proved to be a very reliable tool for what I needed it for. Now that the project is completed, I still grab it occasionally to do more casual work, searching stuff on the web, etc. But it has a really crappy display, and it gets quite annoying having everything in a browser tab that you have to try to keep track of. Oh, and the computer uses an utterly non-standard AC adapter plug, which shows that Samsung dedicated approximately zero resources in consideration of this aspect of the design (the newer HP model thankfully uses a micro USB like most other phones and pads do), and it inexplicably draws a relatively enormous amount of your battery's capacity while it's sleeping. If you think you're going to shut the lid, put it aside, and pick up where you left off the next day, you'd better guess again. Unless you specifically go through the "Shut down," you will have very little juice left.

      These are nit-picky things. The computer is a good little tool, especially for the price. I would have liked a MacBook Air, but couldn't justify the cost for what I was doing. Would it do as an "only computer?" Of course not. I have iMacs in my (three) offices, and I have an old MacBook and an iPad. I've got the computers I need, and the Chromebook is one of those.

      1. poseidon300

        All Da $hills out there

        You can report back to the CIC (Chairthrower In Chief) that

        A) nobody uses CDs and DVDs anymore. 32 GB USB sticks are handy and cheap

        B) your propaganda has been lacking in recent months. People still don't buy 400 euros for single-window computers running Castrated Windows 7.

  21. toadwarrior

    The numbers aren't entirely accurate as NPD exclude custom built laptops. Everyone reporting on their findings misses that bit out. Given both windows and MacBooks allow customised system purchases I would say their numbers are higher (especially windows).

    Chromebooks are toys. I can't see how anyone would take them seriously especially given that storing everything in the cloud means the NSA has access to all your stuff.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Price

    I've had a look at some of the chrome books in the shops, why would you buy one, they are just not cheap enough, and extra £20 will get you a laptop with better specification, though if the US prices were ever to come to the UK, maybe ...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Price

      Because most people don't want a computer - they want a web browser, netflix/youtube viewer/, typewriter.

      You know everytime you visit your parents/grandparents/non-techie freinds and you daren't touch their computer because of all the extra toolbars, popups, trojans, god-knows-whats on their machine?

      And you spent all boxing day fixing it for them? With a chromebook they don't have any of that, if they do have a problem they press a reset key, log back into Google and they have their machine back.

  23. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Should be disqualified

    “I think Chromebooks can be very impactful in the market really quickly.”

    Impactful? Seriously, even with an appreciation for inevitable changes in language I can't accept that one.

  24. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    It was Intel wot did it

    Lots of posts about why the netbook never thrived. The main cause was Intel because they limited memory and screen size which could be used with their low margin Atom chips and thus prevented the spread to other form factors beyond the extremely unergonomic 10.6" one. Microsoft's expensive licensing didn't help but it was really Intel who did for the category.

    1. Frank Gerlach #2

      Why "Big" ?

      Sometimes little AK47s can defeat planes with 12 jet engines. THINK about it.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: It was Intel wot did it

      Atom chips are quite capable of driving larger screens and addressing more memory.

      Microsoft limited the specs for the starter edition of windows - put in a larger screen or more memory and you could pay for a full copy of Windows7, which would then require more memory etc.

      I suspect this little bit of strategy is going to come back and bite them. Little companies like Intel and Samsung learnt that Microsoft was capable of dictating their product lines in a way they hadn't done before. I imagine a lot of the Samsung interest in Chromebooks/Android etc and comes from not wanting to be owned by Redmond.

      1. jason 7
        Facepalm

        Re: It was Intel wot did it

        But they first came out with Linux on...not Windows. So how was MS dictating the spec from day one?

        XP didnt come till several months later and Windows 7 Starter arrived well after the netbook party was over (2009+).

        Netbooks kind of arrived out of the blue. I think the first one I saw was at a Stuff Show in London, maybe Xmas 2005?

    3. dajames Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: It was Intel wot did it

      The main cause was Intel because they limited memory and screen size which could be used with their low margin Atom chip ...

      It was Microsoft. In order to encourage OEMs to supply Windows rather than Linux on their netbooks they first offered cheap licences for XP for netbooks only (because Vista wouldn't fit) and later introduced a special cut-price edition of Windows 7 called "Starter" for netbooks only. In order to stop OEMs using the cheap "Starter" edition on bigger laptops they tied the licence to certain hardware restrictions, including a maximum of 2GB of RAM and a maximim display resolution of 1024x600.

      OEMs made boards that were limited to qualify for the cheap "Starter" licence. The actual chips could all do more.

      That's why netbooks in the XP era often had 1366x768 screens and some could take 4GB of RAM. Lots of manufacturers -- including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo -- seemed happy enough selling those so were presumably able to do so profitably. When Windows 7 Starter models appeared they were no cheaper but had downgraded specs to meet the licensing requirement.

      Microsoft killed the netbook, not Intel.

      The irony is that I don't think they meant to; they just didn't understand the market well enough. They would have liked everyone to have a Windows netbook AND a Windows laptop, but they made netbooks too unappealing and suddenly found that what everyone really wanted was a Windows laptop and an iPad.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay go Chrome, move away from the file format lock-in to having all your data locked up in Google's cloud, with the NSA making sure it's not full of bad stuff.

  26. Salts

    Horses for Courses

    I believe Chrome books will do very well, they are ideal for many people with tablets and wishing to replace an aging laptop, who still need to do the odd letter, long email, face thing stuff, homework and such, at home with a keyboard and mouse, that 10 or 20% that the average consumer needs a keyboard and mouse for these days. Most of these people don't give a toss that Google has all their data, it's convenient for them.

    They have wireless in the house, what do they care it runs Chrome or Android its cheap it's Google just like their phones and tablets, in that market why would a consumer pay even 20GBP more for a windows machine?

    This is also interesting to throw into the mix http://thevarguy.com/cloud-computing-services-and-business-solutions/010814/synnex-empowers-google-chromebook-k-12-resellers, comments from harried school IT Admins welcome on if it is something they would appreciate.

  27. Frankee Llonnygog

    NPD disagree

    Why has El Reg regurgitated this false interpretation of NPD's numbers some days after NPD themselves have debunked it?

    http://news.idg.no/cw/art.cfm?id=3CF25874-B69F-E19B-024BC4137078E1F0

  28. Frank Gerlach #2

    Break Monopoly

    By now it is very clear that the incumbents want to stop anything that threatens either their expensive, power-hungry processor or their bloated, expensive and of course insecure operating system.

    There simply is no way to make this bloat work properly on a small, light and long-enduring machine. To just read the web, write emails, and watch the odd movie, we don't need the Monopoly Bloat.

    Go to

    http://www.quantimpex.com

    and get yourself a small, light, ARM device for 120Euros:

    http://www.quantimpex.com/netbook/

    Bonus points if you remove Android and run xfce or the like on it.

    1. Salts

      Re: Break Monopoly

      Nice price

      I have been thinking of a new small desktop and this is my choice, a bit more expensive but it suits my needs.

      http://utilite-computer.com/web/utilite-pro-specifications

      Wonder if anyone has experience of this product?

  29. Number6

    OS Swapping

    It would be good to know which, if any, Chromebooks are suitable to be upgraded to a Linux distro. Obviously there needs to be enough RAM and local storage present for that to work, but given that a Raspberry Pi is capable of a fair bit with its limited resources, I suspect the process of upgrading the OS is as important as what system resources are available.

    1. Frank Gerlach #2

      Searchengine, Friend etc

      This should be not really difficult als Chrome itself is a Linux distribution with X11 GUI. Just remove the locks and install local applications.

      E.g

      https://wiki.debian.org/InstallingDebianOn/Samsung/ARMChromebook

      http://www.chromebook-linux.com/2011/11/how-to-install-gnulinux-debian-603-on.html

      "Chromebook" is just a popular way of bringing people to X11 and Linux, now that they already have Android/Linux in their shirt pocket.

    2. Salts

      Re: OS Swapping

      or this

      http://liliputing.com/2013/10/running-ubuntu-apps-hp-chromebook-11-video.html

  30. Frank Gerlach #2

    @MS, Intel: If You Cannot Beat Them...

    By now it is quite clear that Linux is going to dominate the OS space from coffe machines to supercomputers.

    Why don't you embrace it and offer high-quality stuff like the Visual Studio IDE or your Office products on the Linux kernel (Android and/or X11) ? I would not mind having an MS dongle in an little USB device attached as copy-protection. Run some real algorithms on the dongle.

    To continue the old path (all must be windows-only) is to fight reality and that mostly doesn't work. Be a fair competitor and stop playing the Abrahamic Terroist approach of "we must kill or convert all non-believers". Get yourself a kinder face.

    And no, that's not "naive". It's "smart".

  31. k9gardner

    Math tutoring available

    What a ridiculous article. Do you guys know math? First, I can't figure out what you're saying in the third paragraph. Previously you'd said that Chromebooks had 9.6 percent of the market, Apple MacBooks 1.8 percent, and Windows 34.1 percent. Now all of a sudden you're saying "do the sums," and we have Chromebooks with 21 percent, Apple with 4 percent and Windows with 75. What changed? What are we "summing" here that we were not summing in the first paragraph?

    Second, "MacBooks are four to five times more expensive than the average Chromebook - $1,000-plus against around $200." The absolutely cheapest MacBook, the 11" Air, sells for $1,000. They range in price up to $2,600. Apple doesn't publish statistics on sales of individual models, but I'm guessing that the average price over all MacBook models sold is around $1,300. And the average Chromebook is probably ~not~ $200, since that's the ~lowest~ priced Chromebook. I actually have a Chromebook, and one that I have, made by Samsung (XE303C12), sells for $250, and I'd guess that's the most popular one - because it looks most like a MacBook.

    Anyway, for the record, four to five times $200 would be $800-$1,000, and that's clearly not the price range of any of the MacBook models. If $250 is the average for Chromebooks however, then yes, probably 5 times that number is the average for MacBooks.

    Finally, your statement that "in the US Apple really isn’t that big a player," seems pretty ludicrous, from what you see on the streets. I don't know where the people are that are ~not~ using Apple's product, but they're not much out and about with them. There's a reason, I think, why other vendors - including Samsung as indicated above - make their laptops to look like Apple's. I suspect it has something to do with wanting to sell some of them.

    If, in your minds, all of this translates into "not that big a player," all I can say, to quote talkshow host Arsenio Hall, is "Hmmmmm."

  32. candyman76

    Asus EEE

    I used to have a 700 series and then a 900 series. Changed jobs and the 700 went away since it belonged to work and a 1 year old accidentally throwing up on the 900 kind of killed it. The 1000 that replaced it is still working fine and had literally every OS you can imagine from Linux to Windows to being a hackintosh. I miss the little netbooks and have been thinking of picking up a chromebook with the same thinking of that good ole 700, cheap and if it gets destroyed life will go on. Besides, I'm a geek, I want one with an x86 processor so I can fire up Ubuntu with chroot. :)

    1. poseidon300

      Re: Asus EEE

      Since when is chroot() related to x86 ? Does chroot require excessive amounts of energy to be emitted to work properly ? Or are you just an Intel marketing man ? If yes, sell us ARM processors.

  33. DougS Silver badge

    HUGE flaw in these stats that people keep missing

    NPD's numbers cover only sales from stores who report to NPD.

    Significantly, it doesn't include sales through Apple (Apple Store or internet) nor does it include ANY sales to businesses large enough to go through the channel, or directly to Dell, Lenovo, etc. Many internet retails don't report to them, though I believe Amazon does (that still may leave out the second tier like newegg, PCmall, ...)

    Between the two Apple's share is probably about right (adding in stuff bought directly from Apple would increase the percentage, but corporations buy few Macs, dropping it) and the Chromebook share is probably overstated by at least a factor of two since no large businesses have or will adopt them in the near future.

    1. 38292757

      Re: HUGE flaw in these stats that people keep missing

      School districts in the US are going nuts with the Chromebook, for good or for ill. We should consider them when talking about corporate adoption.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: HUGE flaw in these stats that people keep missing

        There's no reason schools need Windows laptops, so this is a good thing since it saves money.

        In addition, it probably makes them less likely to be stolen since the cheaper they are the less it is worth a thief taking the risk (assuming the thief knows what he's stealing, which is only sometimes true)

      2. Shao

        Re: HUGE flaw in these stats that people keep missing

        Good to hear. But it's not the same story in the U.K. Chromebooks are like the Linux wave into schools here. Yes, you can save money by buying them, but once you want to go beyond web surfing you have a problem. Computers in schools run Windows software for educational purposes. They can't go with anything but Windows to make use of this software. Furthermore, education does not pay much for a Windows licence anyway - £10 per machine if that. And there are site licence agreements for office (another £10 per machine if that). Whilst there are huge advantages in getting cheap Chromebooks in the developing world where they start from nothing, I'm not sure the cheapness of Chromebooks has outweighed the additional usefulness of a Windows laptop/desktop with full educational software.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: HUGE flaw in these stats that people keep missing

          Except the "full educational software" consists of student version of MS-office

          Assuming the school (or next generation technology achievement facilitation academy) just wants to teach kids how to make bold text in Word - that's great

  34. Shao

    Chromebooks are capturing a diminishing low end market. Whilst they are more efficient on low end machines for surfing the web, that market has moved over to tablets. It's not a market worth talking about anymore. Most people either want a tablet, or want a normal full blown laptop or desktop or more recently a small PC box to plug into the TV via HDMI and run wireless receivers for Xbox 360 controllers and use with wireless mouse and keyboard for surfing against the TV and playing MAME games. There is very little use for a Chromebook - taking 10% of something going towards nothing isn't worth Windows trying to challenge and regain market share there. The slightly better specced machines tend to have Chrome OS wiped and Windows put on to help a friend on a budget. That's the reality.

  35. ben_myers

    The year of the Chromebook or something else???

    Now if all the egos in the Linux world would put their egos and hundreds of different Linux distros and spins aside, I would say that a Linux-based laptop (but at least dual-core) fills the bill, too. But it's a confusing Linux jungle out there to most people, with no clear winners. You have Ubuntu with quite a few different spins and Mint with its several spins seeming to be the best of the bunch from the standpoint of user interface design and wide choice of programs to run. But it's still a confusing Linux jungle out there.

  36. Legacymjr

    It's confusing out there

    I am actually in the market for a replacement for my Samsung netbook that runs XP. I have read all of the comments on this and many other sites about Windows 8, many Linux variants and chromebooks and am still pretty confused. My current take is as follows:

    Could go Apple but its very expensive and I dont want to learn a new ecosystem.

    Linux is useless because of peripheral support or lack of it. I need to use a scanner for photos and cloud printing. I ran up Lubuntu which was fine then tried to set up my HP 7520 (which works perfectly under windows) - its a joke yes i got it working but its totally unstable and I cant scan. Enough said.

    Chromebook is pretty good for printing (cant scan though) but it wont talk to my Raspbmc setup which has all of my media stuff on large NTFS drives. (Stopped using CD and DVD some years ago).

    So in order to do what I want I am stuck with windows - can scan my photos and talk to my Raspbmc setup.

    Is this right or am I missing something here?

  37. AdamCB

    Time for Chromebooks

    I'm not surprised that Chromebooks have finally broken through. They are a great choice for users that spend most of their time in a browser and want a device that starts up fast and is easy to use.

    There are also third party tools for Chromebook users that also need access to Windows applications. For example, Ericom AccessNow is an HTML5 RDP client that enables Chromebook users to securely connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server and VDI virtual desktops, and run their applications and desktops in a browser.

    AccessNow does not require any client to be installed on the Chromebook, as you only need the HTML5-compatible browser.

    For an online, interactive demo, open your Chrome browser and visit:

    http://www.ericom.com/demo_AccessNow.asp?URL_ID=708

    Please note that I work for Ericom

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Advert policy?

      Dear Reg, dear commentards,

      This valued contributor from Ericom has 7 posts, all of which are unpaid adverts for his employer (he does at least admit as much), 6 of which are basically cut+paste (the first was a little different).

      Are readers happy with the precedent this sets of product spamming being acceptable in the comments?

      Are Reg staff happy with the concept of unpaid advertorial below the line? Surely advertorial belongs above the line, and deserves to be paid for according to the standard Reg tariff?

      Slippery slopes, etc.

      Toodle pip,

      C. Saatchey.

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