As PC sales continue to decline, Chromebooks are on the rise

by: Jonathan FeistApril 2, 2014


As almost all categories of personal computer sales experienced a decline in 2013, one category experienced growth, Chromebooks, powered by Google’s Chrome OS.

Chromebooks are low-cost devices that run Google’s Chrome operating system. Chrome OS connects to Google’s web services, such as Google Drive, as opposed to running locally installed applications on the device. Going by shape, size and specifications, Chromebooks are typically considered a direct competitor to current netbook style laptops. However, due to the greater overall performance brought on by the streamlined Chrome OS functionality, Chromebooks have proven disruptive to sales of current PCs.

Chromebooks have become a popular choice for schools. In addition to their low-price, currently as low as $229, Chrome OS offers a simple management system that makes it easy for schools to support the devices for staff and students. Google also offers their Google Apps system, for business, education and non-profits, that offers further user and resource management.


Investors Business Daily reports that the average price around the globe for a Chromebook in 2013 was $338. Sales in 2013 increased sevenfold over 2012, to a reported total of 2.1 million chromebooks sold. Their expectation is that Chromebook sales will grow at a rate of 28% per year through 2019.

Currently, in the U.S. Google Play Store, you can choose from four variations of the Chromebook. The Acer C720 Chromebook will cost you just $229. The Samsung Chromebook runs at $249. HP Chromebook 11 comes in at $279. Finally, Google offers their own branded Chromebook Pixel, a device with premium specifications, for $1299. The first three all offer at least 6 hours of battery time, 100 GB of free Google Drive storage space and an 11.6-inch screen. A larger screen and higher performance reduces the Chromebook Pixel’s battery life to about 5 hours, but comes with an impressive 1TB of free Google Drive storage space.


Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what happens with Chrome OS as a whole. Google chose to merge Chrome OS and Android leadership into the hands of Sundar Pichai. So far, we’ve not seen any significant merging of the two systems, and Google founder Eric Schmidt says that we should not expect to see Android and Chrome OS merge either. Aside from Android, Chrome OS has made efforts to further invade Microsoft’s dominance in the PC space. Google has been working with VMWare to enable Microsoft programs to run on Chrome OS, and even near completely duplicated the Chrome OS experience right on top of Microsoft Windows 8.

What do you think, does the Chromebook have a strong future, or is an Android tablet or Windows machine with Chrome OS a better tool for you? What resources, or lack there of, entice or prevent you from buying a Chromebook?

  • Jayfeather787

    The acer c720 chromebook is actually an excellent machine. Though it is an intel celeron processor, it has Haswell micro architecture and it is a very smooth machine. From what I have seen, it also runs most Linux distros very well. This looks like a great laptop. The Hp 11 though I think is terrible. Inadequate cooling an a shabby processor do not really justify its higher price. However that acer really has my attention and I wouldn’t mind getting one.

    • Jayfeather787

      I still don’t think that anything can replace a true PC. I am typing this on a PC right now. While I still want a laptop for school, I will always have a PC. I love my PC and its awesome hard ware. PCs will always be faster and better and I hope they stick around for a good while.
      My specs (in case you are wondering)
      AMD phenom II X4 955 3.2 GHz quad core processor. 4 GB RAM. Nvidia Gt 430 ( I know not the best, but handles everything just fine, but I might upgrade in the future) and 1 one terrabyte hard drive, one 250 GB hard drive, and an external 640 GB hard drive. Biostar motherboard.
      The ability to upgrade cmoputers is also something not found in laptops. Its quite hard to change a CPU on a laptop. You buy a laptop and it is simply as is (unless you can upgrade the RAM). However, you can change everything in a real PC, and I don’t have to completely buy a new PC just to upgrade the RAM.
      TECH FTW!

      • Jonathan Feist

        Great overall analysis Jayfeather787. It will be difficult to get many of us off of our workstations, but I wonder about the next generation that likely will not build a PC by hand. I know far too many people already that are too afraid of technology to attempt updating the RAM on a normal laptop. If this is to become the norm, for users to not know or care about upgrading as you or I might, I see the $200 Chromebook totally taking over.

        This goes too for cloud storage. I used to feel the same way you do, but the more I use the cloud, the more I trust and can appreciate it. Obviously that comes with its limitations, but again, next generation users that experience it as the norm…. Chromebooks have a bright future.

        • Shark Bait

          I think they do, for the civilian tecky their great, simple , cheap, no setting and it just works. I can see them replacing the PC here.
          my mum loves mine! Lol

      • Pobrecito hablador

        I’m fine with PCs.. if they run Linux.

      • Shark Bait

        I now have chrome book for school and I sold my windows laptop straight away. But I will have a desktop PC for the exact reasons you said. And the 2 totally work well together! Everything sync’s nicely and its great

    • Shark Bait

      Everything’s much nicer up here in the cloud.
      I never forget my USB stick now, plus my music and photos are unlimited and everywhere !
      I only use my hardrive as a back up now

  • Dell X

    Chromebook will keep rise but PC will not go away. Each have their use. People will need either one for different purpose.
    For me the problem is price. If chromebook priced close to full-blown laptop with similar spec, then I don’t see reason to buy one.

    Except if chromebooks can officially run Android apps, then it’s a different story..

    • Shark Bait

      Totally, but it finally gives more choice and intrest to a typically booring PC market.
      I think the Chromebook market is bigger than most think, I love them, and don’t even have a windows laptop anymore (and that’s great). Unfortunately work brings me back to windows, and I agree it will never go away. I see a future where chrome is for casual and home use, and windows is for high end business applications (my engineering applications will never be in chrome) and Mac is for people who want to look cool in Starbucks

    • theUglyTruth

      Equal specs are misleading in this case. My $250 chromebook with 2 gigs of ram, small processor, 16 gig SSD drive works as fast as my $1100 windows desktop with 8 gigs of ram, a processor that cost more than the chromebook, and plenty of SSD space. Windows couldn’t even fit on the chromebook SSD.
      It would probably be faster if you installed it on that full blown laptop as well, but since its all standard hardware in the chromebook it is programmed to take advantage of it.

  • Bryan Z

    Bought a Samsung Chromebook last year… threw it out the window. Thats pretty much how I feel about Chromebooks as of today. It has potential though

    • Shark Bait

      For real??? I loved mine. I’m on an Acer Chromebook now, it soooo so so so much nicer than windows

      • Bryan Z

        Yeah for real. I hated the quality of the screen more than anything.

        • JayTee

          You should have either read reviews or tested one in store before purchasing.

          • Bryan Z

            Of course I did, but for me I’ve gotta try it on daily basis and see how it fits daily activities (personal and professional)

          • Shark Bait

            You totally do need to. I found it used it similar to a tablet, but when I needed some typing or desktop sites, and it worked real well for some basic computing, I still have my powerful desktop for any serious work so I’m happy

      • Bryan Z

        For those looking to get a deal and a chrome book:

  • Iran Matias-Elias

    Chromebooks still have a way to go. Let’s start with the basics, Dropbox and other cloud integration. Even though Google Drive is good, is not at the level of Dropbox. You cannot map G-Drive to an external Hd. Also, it needs a bigger HD or at least have a micro-SD slot so can put a 128gb micro to save some stuff. Google needs to realistic, not everywhere you go you will have access to the cloud. I’m a military service member currently deployed in Afghanistan, so my access to my cloud is not constant, that’s why I need my information to be available without the use of the cloud. Dropbox did it right! You can even map you DB folder to an external so it syncs directly to it, plus is seamless between devices. However, I do have to say G-Drive did it right with lowering the costs. Do some more tweaking with the chrome books and integrate with others and I can see replacing all PCs with Chromebooks, but as right now, I don’t think so. I can get same benefit plus more using a PC using the Chrome browser.

    • Shark Bait

      They will never replace PC’s unfortunately….
      (PS they do have SD slots)

  • ljg500

    I find myself preferring my Chromebook over a slow Android tablet. Yet, I would dread being solely dependent on a Chromebook for business and critical personal tasks. However, the evolving Chromebook architecture is definitely carving out a computing niche. How large a niche remains to be seen.

  • Groud Frank

    Let me hear the people who say, “Linux will never make it on the desktop” talk out their butts now. ChromeOS is too limiting for my use however I have opted to completely remove WIndows from my hard drive and use a Linux distro (Elementary OS Luna, which I HIGHLY recommend) instead. The days of Microsoft sucking the life out of consumers and business with their insanely high price for their substandard software services are slowly coming to an end.

  • Kenny Rousseau

    I love my chromebook, if i could use this thing to play video games, i wouldn’t use my windows 8.1 comp at all, don’t get me wrong i love 8.1, but if i could use my chromebook for everything, i definitely would

  • Brendon Brown

    The only reason pc sales are declining is because companies have made them too powerful to just replace every year. People don’t upgrade as much with laptops etc.

  • apianist16

    Chromebooks will reach together full potential when everyone has a 1Gbit internet connection.

  • Obvious Black Guy

    HP 14 is $299 and has that sweet celeron processor and a 14 inch display…

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  • likalaruku

    Really…Because almost every other website from this date says that PC & Mac sales went up while tablet sales went down.