While PC sales have been declining globally, there's at least one bright spot in the U.S. market: Google's cloud-based Chromebooks, which have been performing strongly, especially in the education sector. In fact, IDC analyst Linn Huang has confirmed that sales of Chromebooks from Dell, HP and Lenovo were -- for the first time -- stronger than sales of Apple's Macs during the first quarter of this year.
In IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker update, released in early April, Huang said U.S. Chromebook sales could see a "potential continued ascent" even as sales of other devices remained sluggish. However, "Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the U.S. in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16," Huang told The Verge yesterday.
IDC has blamed falling PC sales on a number of factors, including aging inventories, growing adoption of detachables, global economic concerns and Microsoft's decision to offer the Windows 10 operating system as a free upgrade to existing customers. However, IDC's April update predicted a "period of reprieve" could be starting soon.
'No Small Feat' for Chromebooks
Apple sold some 1.5 million Macs during the first quarter of this year, Huang told us today via e-mail. By comparison, sales of Chromebooks in the U.S. totaled 1.6 million during that same time period.
"Schools in the U.S. are now buying more Chromebooks than all other devices combined -- and in Q1 of this year, Chromebooks topped Macs in overall shipments to become the #2 most popular PC operating system in the U.S," Huang told us.
"I am expecting that, while there may still be a few strong quarters for Apple in which they overtake Chromebooks in the near term, Chrome OS should continue to outpace Mac OS," Huang said. "Now, this is clearly no small feat becoming the 2nd PC OS in the U.S. However, to put it into perspective, we’re talking about hardware shipments from one OEM against combined shipments of many."
Google launched the Chromebook at its 2011 I/O developer conference, and the device -- now produced by a number of OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) -- has sold especially well for use in K-12 schools across the U.S. Much of the appeal of the device has stemmed from its affordability, due to its use of the cloud for data storage and applications.
However, there's been a growing effort lately to aim Chromebooks at the enterprise market. Last month, for example, Acer unveiled its new Chromebook 14 for Work, featuring a sixth-generation Intel core processor and a reported battery life of up to 12 hours. It's set to be released sometime this month.
Google Play Coming Soon
In other Chromebook developments, Google announced yesterday that it would be bringing its Google Play app store to Chromebooks, starting with a rollout to its developer channel. More details will be released over the next few months, according to a blog post.
Writing on the Chrome Blog, Chrome OS software engineers Google's Dylan Reid and Elijah Taylor said Google has been encouraged by the growing adoption of Chromebooks, "but our users have often told us that they would like to do even more with their Chromebooks -- run more apps, use Office files more easily, connect with a variety of apps, and do more when they're offline."
With Google Play soon arriving on Chromebooks, users of those devices will be able to run the same apps they run on phones and tablets "without compromising their speed, simplicity or security," they noted. "This is good for users and great for developers -- in addition to phones and tablets, they will be able to easily bring their apps to laptops."
Image Credit: Google.
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Posted: 2016-05-23 @ 3:56am PT
This does not include Surface hybrid tablets. They are outselling all of them. It's not the PC people want. It's the tablet.