I keep hearing from time to time about how well Chromebooks are selling. Their sales in the United States have become so good that, according to IDC, they have apparently outpaced Mac sales in the first quarter of 2016. Dell, HP, and Lenovo together sold nearly 2 million Chromebooks, while Apple shipped 1.76 million Macs, in the last quarter.
The huge Chromebook adoption is largely attributed to the K-12 market. Apple is supposed to be quite strong in the education market too, but it looks like the K-12 numbers are large enough to put Chromebooks ahead.
Strangely enough, here in Singapore, I don’t see anyone totting Chromebooks around. In fact, it’s not even easy to find Chromebooks selling anywhere. It’s quite spectacular how well Chromebooks are doing in the US. It’s a success story that, perhaps, is not seen anywhere else in the world.
There are more good things coming to the Chromebook. There were some rumours from last year about Android merging with ChromeOS. That did not materialise, or at least not yet. However, at Google I/O this year, it was announced that Android apps and the Google Play store is coming to Chrome OS.
So if Chromebooks haven’t been particularly exciting for some of us, this may change soon. With all the Android apps out there, and with Android users already using their favourites on tablet devices, bringing the same apps to Chromebooks will be familiar, and present less of a hurdle. I already use my Android tablet for “light work” when on short holiday trips. Adding a proper keyboard to it, while retaining touchscreen capabilities, like what a new Chromebook might have, will only make it more capable than ever.
However, this is good news mainly for new Chromebooks. Older Chromebooks may not be able to take advantage of Android apps. The lack of touchscreen and other hardware limitations could mean those platforms won’t be able to deliver a good enough experience to meet minimum performance and compatibility standards.
I seriously do hope that Chromebook makers will downsize on the pricing. The Chromebook Pixel 2 is really cool, but at the price it’s asking for, I can’t see why I wouldn’t get a cool Macbook instead.