HP, Acer See Promise in Chromebooks Over Windows 8: Reports
The same things have also been happening on the data center side, according to King, as companies moved from Unix and mainframes to servers with commodity x86-based hardware. "And now we see these new ARM-based servers that people are talking about that are going to be a bigger part of the market in the next year or two." Ultimately, consumers' and businesspeople's new use patterns are driving the changing market for companies like HP and Acer, said King. "Vendors go where the money is," he said. "You've got to be able to make a profit. We're seeing it here at Acer and HP. Microsoft's unassailable position on the desktop may not be as unassailable anymore. Here, these comps are exploring [alternatives] and then seeing if there is enough demand for it to make the business work." 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.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. Consumers, however, haven't been jumping aboard the Chromebook bandwagon in huge numbers, based on sales so far. In fact, several systems makers have released Chromebooks in the last year and they haven't stuck with consumers, causing some vendors to retreat or try again with new machines that offer expanded features.
Google and its partner vendors who have built Chromebooks so far, including Samsung and Asus, have been pushing Chromebooks as Internet-connected devices that can be cheaper, faster and more nimble than traditional laptops and notebooks. Chromebooks allow users to do their work online with less need for on-machine storage for large applications and files. One shortcoming, though, is that users need good connectivity to use their machines, and offline work can be a challenge, according to critics and reviewers.