Chromebooks set to replace low-cost PCs

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Chromebooks set to replace low-cost PCs

Cliff Saran

By 2017, sales of Chromebooks are set to reach 14.4 million units, according to Gartner, as PC makers target low-cost computing.

The analyst’s latest report on Chrombook sales estimates that 5.2 million Chromebooks will ship this year, and that this figure will triple by 2017.

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Gartner predicts PC makers will target Chromebooks at the sub-$300 portable PC market.

Adoption of the thin-client laptop alternative, which runs Google’s ChromeOS, has been driven primarily by the US education section, but Gartner expects this to change.

While Chromebooks are primarily used by the education sector, they will also have a place in businesses for specific workers, such as staff in banking, financial services, estate agents and hotel receptionists, said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner.

"So far, businesses have looked at Chromebooks, but not bought many," said Ms Durand. "By adopting Chromebooks and cloud computing, businesses can benefit; they can shift their focus from managing devices to managing something much more important - their data."

According to Durand, Chromebooks also encourage more collaboration and sharing of content. As more users work collaboratively in the cloud, collaborative working practices are likely to become more common, which may further increase the appeal of Chromebooks and similar devices, Gartner noted.

Gartner’s marketshare data showed that Samsung sold 1.7 million Chromebooks in 2013, making it the market leader. Acer was the second largest with a 21.4% share, while HP took the third spot with 6.8% share.

Given its strengths in the enterprise market, Gartner predicted HP was well positioned to grow its share of the Chromebook market.

While Chromebooks primarily access browser-based apps available from the Chrome store, Google partnered with VMware in February to provide a virtual desktop environment for Google Chromebooks.

Earlier this year, after Chrome attained CESG approval, Barking and Dagenham Council started replacing XP desktops and laptops with Chromebooks for employees. They also used Chromeboxes for reception desks and shared work areas.

Recruitment site Reed.co.uk is one of the UK companies using the desk-based version of the Chromebook. Speaking to Computer Weekly last year, Mark Ridley, director of technology at reed.co.uk, said the Google Chrome desktop used on Chromebooks was cheaper than an equivalent Windows desktop PC. Chromebooks also support remote IT administration.


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