Walmart taking the Chromebook mainstream
Google's low-cost, Web-centric laptops also to be sold at Staples
Computerworld - Walmart has begun selling the Chromebook in 2,800 of its approximately 4,600 U.S. stores, expanding the reach of this still-on-the-margins platform.
Staples will also be selling the Chromebook in 1,500 stores, Google said on Monday.
Chromebook has long been available on Amazon, among other online retailers, and the $249 Samsung Chromebook has been its laptop category best-seller for months.
Chromebook is also sold in Best Buy stores and in the coming months will also be available Office Depot, Office Max, Fry's and others, Google said on Monday.
Chromebook is now officially just about everywhere, and that will help educate users about the platform.
But using a Chromebook can be a jolt for a new user. Just about everything is browser-based and runs the cloud. Even a simple tool such as Notepad on Windows is not available, natively, on the Chrome OS.
But there are apps that provide Notepad-like functionality, and will save content in the cloud. Users will work with Google Apps tools, its spreadsheets and docs, and an expanding universe of cloud-based tools.
If you believe that PCs of the future will be entirely cloud-based, then Chromebook may be offering its users an inside track in operating in this new world.
There are other benefits, as well. Chromebook systems, with the SSDs at least, boot up and shut down in seconds. The cloud-based storage and synchronization makes it easy to move from system to system.
But while retailers may want to take Chromebook mainstream, it still has a way to go before it is mainstream, said Frank Gillett, an analyst at Forrester.
Forrester estimates that about 2 million Chromebooks have been sold, which include some school systems and corporate deployments. "It's not clear that there is a lot of end-user uptake," Gillett said.
Some of the retail push may be about having an alternative to Windows 8 in the market. Windows 8 has been blamed by some analysts for especially weak PC sales.
"[PC makers] are really concerned about the uptake of Windows 8 and whether that's impairing their ability to sell machines, and they just want to have an alternative out there," Gillett said. "It's not so much that they think there is anything wrong with Microsoft, they just want an alternative."
One striking characteristic of many Chromebooks is cost. Walmart will be selling Acer's 16GB system for $199.
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Laptops in Computerworld's Laptops Topic Center.
- SANS: Next-Generation Datacenters = Next-Generation Security This whitepaper takes a look at some new technology that may allow security teams to implement more flexible and capable protection models in...
- SANS: Protecting Virtual Endpoints with McAfee Server Security Suite Essentials SANS review of McAfees Server Security Suite Essentials that address some of the emerging challenges of securing virtual platforms and cloud environments.
- Safeguarding the Next-Generation Data Center Use of virtual and cloud servers has exploded. Unfortunately, security often lags behind. McAfee recommends looking at innovative solutions in order to erect...
- Aberdeen: Securing the Evolving Datacenter This report highlights ways security technologies and services are evolving to provide the visibility and control needed to deploy workloads flexibly in the...
- Is SQL Server AlwaysOn really as powerful? Tips and Tricks from the field With the introduction of AlwaysOn, Windows Clustering Services is now more critical than ever.
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center... All Laptops White Papers | Webcasts