New Chromebook is Amazon top-seller

Apple should learn something from Google and Samsung. In a poll which results I'll post today, the majority of respondents tell us that iPad mini costs too much; prices start at $329. Meanwhile, the 11.6-inch Chromebook is priced just right. The WiFi model is Amazon's laptop top-seller, while the $329.99 3G model is No. 4 (and declining). Both models are sold out, like Google Play. Get one, if you can!

Many of you want new Chromebook, which swaps x86 for ARM architecture. So far, 1,770 people have responded to buying poll "Why you buy $249 Chromebook?". More than 35 percent plan to get one within 3 months, while 15.37 already placed orders. How funny if Google's Chrome OS portable turned out to be autumn's ARM sleeper sales success, and not iPad mini or Microsoft Surface.

Based on my using the new Chromebook for a week, I can say that it's a writer's dream machine. The keyboard is simply amazing, and the overall dimensions are lap or couch comfy. The portable is fanless and doesn't get too hot resting on the legs. But there's no gamer paradise here, and the ARM Chromebook often stops to catch its breath while climbing the hill of Flash ads.

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Mine is a love-hate relationship. The ergonomics are fantastic -- every bit as good, and in some ways better, than the similarly looking Apple MacBook Air -- but the performance is not. The ARM Chromebook is fast enough for most tasks, but I do more waiting than I'd like. Strange, though, the occasional huff-and-puff slowdowns prove to be a refreshing mental break from the tunnel vision of writing.

Over at Google+, I've been communicating with geeky types considering new Chromebook, or even buying one.

"I have ordered one from PC World here in the UK, even though I don't need another laptop, partly due to your excellent first impressions report", Siamak Masnavi writes. "Mine's arriving on Friday. Can't wait!" To which I respond: "I tried not to set expectations too high. I do hope you are satisfied".

He answers: "I am aiming to use it exclusively for working with Google Docs/Sheets. But I could also take it on short trips instead of an iPad 3 or Nexus 7 because of the great keyboard and support for Adobe Flash. I am also hoping that Netflix support arrives soon".

The point of the exchange: He doesn't need another computer, but $249 is an irresistible price. Think about it. For the price of the cheapest-selling MacBook Air, you could buy four Chromebooks. Performance won't be the same, but I can attest from using both that ergonomics are quite similar.

My concern is one of expectations -- that many people will expect too much for the price. Masnavi rightly observes:

If you are expecting the performance of a 2012 MacBook Air at a quarter of the price, I guess you will be disappointed...but I am not expecting to use it for video editing, 3D gaming, or mobile app development. Despite what the Google TV ads says, I don't believe that this is a machine for everyone. However, for lite/typical web browsing and office work, as well as email management, I am guessing it will be just fine.

James Mason is "looking at this as a kids' laptop, as well as a secondary machine for myself. Need to persuade my wife & kids that Microsoft Word is not actually necessary for homework. ;-)"

Bram Bout answers:

My kids use the Samsung 550 Chromebook and love it. They have shown their teacher how they use Docs in school and then continue at home seamlessly which has impressed the teacher :). I'm thinking of pitching the new $250 model to our school, as they are about to replace a batch of MacBooks and I really think the Chromebooks are a better deal.

Did you buy the ARM Chromebook? If so is it good enough for your needs?

25 Responses to New Chromebook is Amazon top-seller

  1. Khalid says:

    Joe, your Flash issues might soon be sorted. The Google Chrome Releases blog (an official Google blog) posted today that a new version of Flash has been pushed to the new Chromebook in the beta channel.

    The post is at http://googlechromereleases.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/beta-channel-update-for-chrome-os.html

  2. eehsun says:

    In a poll results I'll post today OR
    In a poll whose results I'll post today - please have your editors do their jobs

  3. ToeKneeC67 says:

    How are you seeing the Top selling Electronic Items on Amazon. While I see the Samsung Chromebook as number 2, the Kindle Fire HD is number 1. Using your logic, the people have spoken, the Samsung Chromebook cost too much at 249.

    There is no way this is a writers dream machine - Maybe a struggling artist (writer, poet, editor). But your choice of words are simply to persuade people to Goolge's Chrome OS. I have never seen a tech writer so bent on a beta OS for the mass public. Don't get me wrong, it's here to stay, and 3-5 years who knows.

    • Khalid says:

      The article clearly states that it's the top selling item in laptops, not electronics overall. Also, the screenshot shows the best-selling laptops, not electronics in general.

      With respect, have you used this machine? I haven't, so I wouldn't comment on the keyboard, but Joe has and he does a lot of typing. Your use of the word struggling seems insulting, though it may not be meant in such a way.

      Finally, I agree that the OS is before its time (and no, it's not a beta) but it's still a very usable product. I use the Cr-48 (the original/beta hardware for the concept) and it performs well enough for browsing, watching videos and using Google Docs/Drive. That hardware is 3 generations old. That is, after that came the Series 5, then the Series 5 550 and now this. Clearly, the new ARM-based machine is going to be far superior.
      Although it's not possible to run Photoshop or the latest games on this device, most users do not. Yes, Joe has a very tech-savvy audience and they're more likely to be doing complex tasks on their machines. This machine clearly isn't for everyone, but I'd use it before criticising, as the OS is capable and hassle-free. That most users just do use Facebook/Twitter, YouTube and email makes it perfect for them as they won't have to worry about antivirus software and updates.

      • ToeKneeC67 says:

        Oh, the photo...there was no girl in it, I didn't see it :)
        I haven't typed on it. But my experience in this error is high. I have worked at multiple magazine companies (primarily HS Media, big player at the time, I know people at People, Time, so on) - Probably still have 60+ editors in my contacts. I call no way (bull)- based on my experiences a system this cheap is going to have a cheap keyboard. But also based on Joy's articles, which are hugely Google Android/Chrome OS tilted - regardless of crap or not. Don't get me wrong, I like my Samsung S III (having a hard time selling, as I want to get a new phone). And because of you, I'll order one, because I can. If I hate it I'll throw it away or put it in Craigslist.

        My use of words are more blunt than installing (I am at work you know, limited time to type). As when I see faulty logic it upset me (reminds me of my Ex-wife :)

        But I have use Chrome OS, and it's far from hassle free. And for just a tad more (maybe skipping a couple dinners out), you can get a Windows 7 or even pre-order a Windows 8 laptop. I'm not saying Google should get praise, but on his logic, so should Windows 8 - and it doesn't.

      • Khalid says:

        The point (and no offence, but your argument is a tired one) that a Windows 7 or 8 machine is just a little more expensive isn't really a fair one. Yes, it would be only a little more expensive, but what matters is the user experience. A cheap laptop isn't great to use and is by no means hassle-free.

        Recently my parents bought a Windows 7 machine that was on special (it had more RAM than usual, so was pretty good value) because they need to run Windows software for their business. I spent nearly 3 hours removing pre-installed junk, updating Windows and installing antivirus software. That's more than I'd spend maintaining a Chrome device over its entire lifetime. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it's really not. It did take nearly 3 hours and if anything every goes seriously wrong with a Chrome device (I don't think it could, but for arguments sake) you hit the reset switch, connect to the internet and it updates itself.

        Now, they bought this machine because they run a piece of hardware that needs Windows. But for the most part my parents browse the web, write emails etc, just like most users.

        I think you should give it a fair go and if the keyboard really is awful and it doesn't work for you, so be it. Given that it's selling so well on Amazon, I'd imagine that you'd have no problem offloading it.
        That said, I've seen a few sites say how good the keyboard is and given that it is such a cheap machine and that people will buy it to type (versus a cheaper tablet, that has no real management issues and touch makes it easy to use) I don't have a problem believing that it has a nice keyboard.

        I don't know when you last used Chrome OS, but back before the Aura update, I kind of felt the same way I did about Android before Ice Cream Sandwich. It functioned, but it was ugly as sin. Aura makes it a lot prettier and faster. It feels more like a real OS.

      • ToeKneeC67 says:

        First - you summed it up nice. A cheap laptop isn't great to use and is by no means hassle-free. To me - you pay for what you get.

        Second - I'm sorry you aren't very good with Windows.

        I'm also sorry, your parents bought cheap, you get more crap installed the cheaper it is. For example, I always say get something like a HP business notebook or desktop. No crap, 3 year warranty out of the box.

        On that - and Seriously - I can can re-install Windows from scratch and all needed software in 1 hour (if it's new). And do for family day one.

        As your skill set is lower (it's OK, I'm pretty bad with my Android phone..but love it) - next time use PC De-Crapifier.
        http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/

        And if just installing Windows from scratch, go to http://www.ninite.com - ALL IT people should know about that. Click, Click, Click walk away, come back, done.

        Windows RT describes your needs by the way. Or if your nice, get them an iPad with a keyboard :)

        I am more of a tech lover.

      • Khalid says:

        I'm not very good with Windows? Wow, just wow. The fact that I uninstalled every piece of junk manually rather than rely on a download and label myself a more capable user of a product is laughable. Seriously, laughable. Actually, it's worse. It's arrogant of you and if you truly believe it, it's misguided.

        No further discussion with you is warranted.

      • ToeKneeC67 says:

        If I was job interviewig you and you told me you spent 3 hours cleaning up a new PC, I would have rated you 1 notch over a basic user. Sorry man. I do not use decrapifier myself, I have Windows 7 Home on my USB, on my keychain. Everyone knows if you guy a ceap PC, it's not Windows that is crap but all the crap the vendor puts on it, I just nuke it, resintsall, let windos ge the drivers, use ninite.com to click the main things people want. If I'm nice, I run my script that does about 50 reg chances and just makes Windows 7 awesome.
        No worries, it was more to help you. I'm no the best on Apple OSX anymore, it would take me 3 hours to re-do them, so doen't take it personally, there is always someone better.
        On that, and back to the article. Khalid was correct, sorry Joe, came out more than blunt. I just want to see some good Windows 9 reviews from you, I'm OK with you hating Apple (sure you have your reasons).

  4. TheCyberKnight says:

    249$ for an ARM Chromebook when you can get a 11,6" laptop built around an AMD APU using a Radeon 6290 with Windows 8 for 270$?
    Not really interesting.

  5. IT advisor says:

    I thought it would sell well.

    It will be interesting to see when the real sales numbers come in. Remember, the concept of this device is in its infancy. Google will keep refining it over the years to come, so it can only get better and more popular. Google must be smiling.

    As I said before, this is the device Ballmer should have made. Microsoft has the services, but no successful platform to connect to them (apart from ever-declining Windows OS sales). Microsoft spent the billions to create the services, only to let them all wither on the vine.

    The Chromebook is going to take serious sales away from all other laptop platforms.

    • SPM says:

      Microsoft doesn't want open standards. They killed Netscape because they feared Netscape turning its browser into an open standards OS within Windows, thus usurping Microsoft's Windows API lock-in. Now this is starting to come true, and the challenger is now bigger than Microsoft.

  6. brunul says:

    I'm getting an iPad mini. I rule.

  7. woe says:

    Here is the best part of this.....the graphic. #2 and #3 have been on the top 100 for 136 days. Lets see how long the Chromebook sits in the top 100. I am guessing 90 days....if that.

  8. ilev says:

    "Apple should learn something from Google and Samsung"...

    Apple has nothing to learn from both of them with $8.2B in profit in last quarter and the Macbook being #1 laptop in sales in US and the iMac being #1 desktop in sales as well, both beating Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshibs, Asus, Acer.......

    • Andy Hilton says:

      The Macbook is the number 1 in sales because Apple is the only company that makes laptops that run Mac OS. If you add up all of the Windows manufacturers laptop sales then the Macbook gets the crap kicked out of it hard.

      • johntech says:

        Atleast check specs before saying some stupid stuff !
        Chromebook comes with "Samsung Exynos 5 Dual 1.7 GHz", ( worst quad-core ever. should have used snapdragon atleast ), slower than intel x86 processors.

      • johntech says:

        Mac comes with intel processors and Fusion drive. even a light weight browser based OS like chromium cant match MAC's performance !
        BTW, you cant do too much with chromium, its nothing more than a browser.A browser that was built on Webkit (made by Apple).

      • OMAR WILLIAMS II says:

        "A browser that was built on Webkit (made by Apple)." Where did you read that? I'm guessing off the top of your fan boy head. Chrome OS was developed by the same exact team that developed the open source Linux based OS Ubuntu and is actually built from version 12.04 LTS 64 bit. Where did I read that? ON THE CHROME OS DEVELOPER'S WEB PAGE. And OS X is a descendant of Unix not Linux.

      • Brian Harring says:

        Um. You do realize chrome os is derived from Gentoo, not Ubuntu, right?

        Early versions of chrome-os were ubuntu derived- basically prototypes. That got chucked and converted to gentoo starting around 02/10. The common *host* OS people use to build chrome-os is ubuntu (gobuntu moreso), although it works on any linux distro...

        NFC where you get the "developed by the same exact team that developed ubuntu", but you're pretty far off the mark on that one; canonical didn't build chrome-os.

        If in doubt, google it; hell, look at the source even http://git.chromium.org/gitweb/.

    • SPM says:

      That's interesting. It means one thing - you don't need Windows applications to sell a traditional laptop or desktop.

  9. johntech says:

    oh come on, check price and specs !
    You shouldn't have used sales to evaluate, everyone cannot afford mac ! No doubts ! it is the best among all !

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