According to the latest figures from IDC, Chromebooks sales overtook Macs for the first time ever last quarter, with over two million Google-powered laptops sold in the US alone. (Apple "only" sold 1.76 million laptops in the same period.) The sales boost could not have come at a better time for Google, which is finally arming Chrome OS with a treasure-trove of apps from its Google Play store. In other words, we can expect the sales gap to widen as Chromebooks become fully-fledged computers — particularly in the business sector.
IDC is a research firm that tracks global PC sales. Its latest report put combined Chromebooks sales from Dell, Lenovo, HP and others at 2 million units. This is around 15 per cent more than the number of Macs Apple manged to sell over the same period.
Now, it should be pointed out that the number of units sold does not translate to bigger profits. Unlike Macs, Chromebooks are famously cheap — you can pick up brand-new units for under $300, while Macbooks start at just under $2000. However, this just shows that Chromebooks are becoming a serious force to be reckoned with.
Consumers are beginning to peg onto the fact that they don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a work laptop. A Chromebook can handle most online day-to-day computing tasks at a fraction of the price. They also look attractively thin and sleek thanks to the smaller number of components packed inside.
Later this year, the Play Store is finally coming to Chrome OS, which brings potential access to thousands of Android apps that were previously reserved for smartphones and tablets. This is particularly intriguing for business users, who will be able to purchase and use full versions of productivity apps such as Microsoft Office, Photoshop and Slack.
As Play Store integration begins to take hold, we wouldn't be surprised to see more small businesses adopt this technology for its workforce. Most of their employees are already highly familiar with the OS via the prevalence of the Chrome browser and Android smartphones. Many of them know the ins-and-outs of Android better than Windows.
When coupled with improved security and a much cheaper cost per unit, it makes perfect sense for businesses to consider Chromebooks for their next laptop rollout. The operating system's main weakness — software limitations — is about to be a thing of the past.
We're curious to hear what readers think. Would your consider a Google Play-powered Chromebook for your next work laptop? Or will you be sticking to the familiarity and inbuilt power of an Apple Mac or Windows PC? Let us know in the comments.
[Via Business Insider]