Google's Chromebook Web-enabled laptop machines will now be sold in Walmart and Staples stores, which will mean that the devices will now be available to consumers in more than 6,600 retail stores around the world.
The announcement, which adds Walmart and Staples stores to the existing Chromebook retail outlets through Best Buy and Amazon.com, was unveiled in a June 17 post on the Google Official Blog by David Shapiro, Google's director of Chromebook marketing.
"Chromebooks—a fast, simple, secure laptop that won't break the bank—will now be carried in over 3 times more stores than before," wrote Shapiro in his post. "Starting today, Walmart will be making the newest Acer Chromebook, which has a 16GB Solid State Drive (SSD), available in approximately 2,800 stores across the U.S., for just $199."
The machines will be arriving in the chain's stores throughout the summer, he wrote. "And beginning this weekend, Staples will bring a mix of Chromebooks from Acer, HP and Samsung to every store in the U.S.—more than 1,500 in total."
Consumers will also be able to purchase the machines via Staples online, while business users will be able to buy them through the Staples Advantage B2B program, wrote Shapiro.
Additional retailers are also expected to be unveiled in the coming months, including select Office Depot, OfficeMax, Fry's and TigerDirect stores, he wrote.
Similar expansions are also happening in the 10 other markets worldwide where Chromebooks are sold, including 116 Tesco stores in the United Kingdom and Mediamarket and Saturn stores in the Netherlands, FNAC stores in France and Elgiganten stores in Sweden. In Australia, JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores will soon be carrying Chromebooks as well.
Chromebooks and their desktop brethren Chromeboxes run Google's Chrome operating system and feature a wide range of preinstalled, cloud-based Google services and products, including Google Docs and Google Calendar.
Chromebooks allow users to do their work online with less need for on-machine storage for large applications and files. One shortcoming is that users need good connectivity to use their machines, and offline work can be a challenge, according to critics and reviewers. At the same time, the machines can be inexpensive and well-featured devices that allow users to accomplish a wide range of tasks without the bloat and mass of a traditional laptop or notebook machine.
Two IT analysts told eWEEK that they believe that the expanding retail networks for the devices is a smart move for Google.