Buy a Chromebook, get 1TB of cloud storage for two years
It's getting to be all-out warfare in the low-cost computing market. In response to the growing interest in cheap Chromebooks, Intel and Microsoft have been working together to push sub-$200 Windows laptops into the market place through its hardware partners. That's caused Chromebooks to come down in price as well, but it isn't stopping there. Google today announced that new Chromebook buyers can get 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage for two years at no additional cost.
Tis the season of the low cost laptop, and if you're looking for a portable system on the cheap, you have a growing number of choices. You won't find them in the Apple Store, of course, but you will find Windows laptops in the $200 range, including a recently reduced Asus X205TA model selling for just $170 at the Microsoft Store. In response, Chromebook models are expected to be even more affordable than they already are with Asus and Lenovo both reportedly planning to release $149 Chromebook models.
It was easier to make an argument in favor of Chromebooks as early as a month ago. There's plenty they can't do, but they're cheap and sufficient for basic computing tasks, like surfing the web. They're also nice tools if you're heavily tied into Google's ecosystem. Several vendors have jumped on board the Chromebook bandwagon, and rumor has it Lenovo will offer an ultra-affordable Chromebook model of its own next year, but has their time in the spotlight come and gone?
Retail PC sales rise up on Chromebook and Mac shipments
As we've said time and again, the PC sector is alive is well. According to NPD Group, retail PC sales grew nearly 3 percent during the 10-week back-to-school shopping season that went from July 4th through Labor Day week), compared to a 2.5 percent decline in the same period a year ago. Where things get interesting is when you break down those sales to look for trends in consumer spending.
Samsung, one of the biggest participants in Google's Chromebook movement, is planning to cease all laptop sales in Europe, multiple outlets are reporting. The decision effectively ends Samsung's presence as a traditional PC player in Europe, as it doesn't sell deskop computers in the region, either. Samsung does, however, continue to sell tablet PCs and smartphones in Europe.
It doesn't matter if you're sticking with Windows or trying your hand at Chrome OS, HP has new systems for whichever platform you ultimately choose. Those going with Chrome OS might be interested in HP's second generation Chromebook models available in 11.6-inch and 14-inch models, both of which are splashed with color. And those wanting to go with Windows might find something of interest in HP's new Envy x2 and Pavilion x2 detachables.
We've pointed out before how Chromebooks are some of the best selling laptops on Amazon, and though these cloud-based systems aren't as capable as their Windows-based counterparts, they've having no trouble finding an audience, particularly in education circles. In fact, market research firm Gartner forecasts 5.2 million Chromebook sales by the end of the year, which would translate into a 79 percent jump compared to 2013.
Get ready for an influx of $199 to $249 Windows laptops
A big reason why Chromebooks are selling so well is because they offer up basic functionality at dirt cheap prices. However, what would happen if Windows laptops could easily be found at the same price points? It's a question that will get answered within the next few months. That's because Intel, Microsoft, and notebook makers are collaborating on entry-level laptops that will sell for $199 to $249.
Nearly a third of Chromebook shipments belong to Acer
It may seem like a trivial thing to lead the Chromebook market when Windows-based PCs are so much more functional, but considering that three of the top five selling laptops on Amazon are Chromebooks, as well as five of the top 10, it's a potentially lucrative market to dominate. So in that regard, Acer should be pleased as punch that's it currently the top Chromebook player.
Sorry kids, but what you see on the horizon is the back-to-school shopping season -- always a buzz kill when you're knee deep in summer activities you wish would last forever. And with the back-to-school shopping season comes new laptop announcements. Case in point, Acer today is thumping its chest over having launched the first Chromebook to sport a 4th Generation Intel Core i3 processor inside its belly.