The latest Samsung Chromebook only connects to the Internet through Wi-Fi. (Photo : Google Chromebook Blog)
Despite the underwhelming initial reception, it seems Google's Chromebooks are starting to take off. Computer manufacturer Acer is reporting that since November, Chromebooks have accounted for 5 to 10% of all of the company's US shipments.
The laptop line was introduced in early 2010, and featured a new, Linux-based Chrome OS. It had a difficult time initially, but its low price point compared to similar Windows devices seems to be catching on with consumers. Acer currently has a line of $200 Wi-Fi only devices, with Samsung offering a $250 and more featured $430 version. Lenovo is also entering the market later this month with a $430 model of its own.
Acer President Jim Wong praised the line of laptops as "more secure," and hopes that additional companies will join the growing movement for Google's laptop operating system. Google's Chromebook has also been catching on as an educational tool. Over 2,000 schools across the country are now using the laptops, which have proven to be reliable and simple to use and maintain.
Interestingly, as the popularity of Chromebooks grows, Acer is reporting that Windows sales are dropping. The company's total PC shipments dropped by 28% in the fourth quarter, with Jim Wong calling the Windows 8 launch, "not successful."
While Google is far from challenging Microsoft, or even Apple's market share in notebook computers, it is rapidly becoming a worthy competitor. In a few years, if current trends continue, we could see Chromebooks slowly but surely becoming a much more common sight.