Report: Google Chromebooks are off to a slow (mainstream) start

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Google's web-centric Chrome operating system debuted on July 7, 2009, with the very first Intel-based Chromebooks shipping on June 15, 2011.

Since then, the Chrome concept has increased in popularity, with Samsung launching a versatile ARM-powered Chromebook which quickly became a best-selling product on Amazon at a $250 price point.

Additional Chrome devices include the Series 5 550 Chromebook (Wi-Fi), the XE300Mww_A01US Chromebox, the slightly redesigned XE300M22-B01US, the XE300M22-A01US Chromebox powered by an Intel Core i5-2450M processor and Mountain View's flagship Pixel.

There are yet more Chrome-powered hardware on the horizon, with the prolific François Beaufort recently reporting that Mountain View appears to be testing at least two new devices code-named Sonic and Peach Pit.

Unsurprisingly, not much is known about the above-mentioned devices, although it is believed that Peach Pit is equipped with an ARM-based processor, rather than an Intel chip. There is also a Chrome OS device nicknamed Puppy under development, which is expected to boast an Nvidia Tegra 4 ARM Cortex-A15 quad-core processor.

Clearly, there is a lot of industry excitement surrounding Google's stripped-down operating system and related hardware. However, it seems as if mainstream adoption of the Chrome concept has yet to reach critical mass.

Indeed, for the week of 4/8 - 4/14, ChromeBook has 0.023 percent weighted worldwide usage. Because it rounds to less than 0.1 percent, the OS didn't even make it into NetMarketShare reports.

As ZDNet's Ed Bott notes, as of April 2013 all Chromebooks combined have only managed to eke out 7/10 of 1 percent of the usage of Windows 8 PCs worldwide.

"Put another way, that figure suggests that in nearly two years on the market, all of those Chromebooks have achieved a smaller percentage of usage than Windows RT earned as of January 2013, after only three months on the market. Windows RT has been widely considered a disappointment, with OEMs cutting prices for RT-powered devices," Bott explained.

"In both categories, those tiny results suggest a fair amount of pain for the OEMs that jumped in early. Google’s gone all-in for its cloud-based OS, and Microsoft is similarly gung-ho about the future of its Windows RT operating system. But it might be another couple of years before the general buying public is really ready for either one."