Do Chromebooks Need a Larger Screen Size to be Successful?

August 12, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

Google’s Chrome OS started showing up in mid-2011 on a laptop or notebook called a Chromebook.  They were a new concept in that they are best utilized when connected to the internet, as most of their applications reside in that ever ominous ‘cloud.’ although many improvements have been made to their offline usefulness.  Samsung and Acer were the first manufacturers to ship Chromebooks and now we have numerous choices from Lenovo, HP and Google, itself.

Chromebooks were cheap and easy to operate and by 2012 the educational community became their biggest user.  Late in the year, Google fought to increase the market share to included first-time buyers and households looking for that second computer for the family that would not break the bank.  For the Chromebook to become a real success, it will also have to make entry ways into the business world, but in order for it to do that a couple things must change – namely screen size, storage capacity and the ability to use a DVD,

Chromebooks boot up considerably fast as there is no real OS or Windows-like program to load – the Chromebook’s Google Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel and the Google Chrome web browser along with an integrated media player.  Rather than installing traditional applications, such as MS Office, the Chromebook uses web apps on Google Drive for your word processing, spreadsheets or presentation work – and when you make a change to one of your documents, it shows that change on any mobile device, smartphone or tablet, when you next access those docs.  Users can also use Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Keep, the built-in music player, a photo editor, PDF, Amazon’s Cloud Reader, the New York Times App, Angry Birds and a Microsoft Office document viewer offline.

Most Chromebook displays are averaging about 12-inches, but studies from analysts at NPD say that the displays need to get to that 15-inch ‘sweet spot.’  Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD says, “Screen size is the no. 1 factor in the entry-level market.  Most buyers don’t carry [laptops] far from their desks and the three- to four-hour battery life that an entry-level model has is enough for their needs within their home.”  According to their studies, in the first half of 2014, 69-percent of the Windows laptop sales were 15-inches with 17-inch coming in at 12-percent of sales.  Of that 69-percent, 48-percent were priced in the $300 – $500 range…just about where Chromebooks are priced now.

According to the graph and data that The Verge acquired from NPD, Chromebooks are grabbing only 6-percent of the market share compared to Window’s 73-percent and Mac’s 21-percent, up from 17-percent from last year.  A couple observations though do show that from 2011 the Windows-based laptop sales are in a steady decline, the Mac is almost a straight line in growth from 2011, while the Chromebook, though small in market share, is the only one on the rise.  I think a lot of their problems fall into the perception category – many people will ask me, “What is a Chromebook?”  Google and the other Chromebook manufacturers need some well-placed and informative advertising to educate the public.

Yes, the sales figures would indicate that a 15-inch Chromebook needs to be introduced, as well as more storage options – the Chromebook have a lot of potential and analysts predict large growth in the next few years for the platform.  They just need ‘tweaked’ a little and the format should take off…please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know what you would like to see on the next Chromebooks – have you bought one, are you considering buying on or are you confused about them…as always, we would love to hear from you.