Acer: Expect more Android and Chromebooks, less Windows

Acer has shied away from venting its frustrations with Windows 8. The company is taking things a step further by vowing to sell more Android devices and Chromebooks.
“We are trying to grow our non-Windows business as soon as possible,” Acer president Jim Wong said in a Thursday conference call, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. “Android is very popular in smartphones and dominant in tablets…I also see a new market there for Chromebooks.”
Wong expects Android and Chromebooks to bring in 10 to 12 percent of the company’s revenue this year; that figure could rise to 30 percent next year, he added. Although Wong didn’t talk about revenue splits for last quarter, he did say that Chromebooks accounted for 3 percent of Acer’s shipments. During the second quarter, Acer posted a net loss $11.4 million, compared to a profit of about $1.9 million a year earlier.

Acer makes this Gateway-branded Android desktop. If the manufacturer has its way, Android and Chromebooks will make up a growing percentage of its business.
Acer chairman J.T. Wang said Microsoft needs to somehow “reestablish or reinforce confidence among PC users,” saying people are holding off on purchase decisions. (For what it’s worth, Windows 8.1 is much friendlier to desktop users, and new chips from Intel will help make Windows tablets and hybrids more practical.)
Despite Acer’s tough talk, the company hasn’t shied away from experimenting with Windows machines. Acer’s Iconia W510 and W700 were part of the first wave of Windows 8 hybrid devices, combining tablets with laptop and desktop-style docks. The Iconia W3 is the first 8-inch Windows tablet, while the Acer Aspire R7 is somewhat of a cross between a laptop and a desktop.
At the same time, Acer is keeping busy with alternatives. The company launched a $200 Chromebook last year, and has since expanded the line to include a solid state drive option and a $300 model with beefier specs. In addition, Acer has begun to dabble in Android-based desktop PCs.
Acer’s not alone in diversifying beyond Windows for laptops. Taiwanese rival Asus is working on its own Chromebook for later this year, and HP just launched a new hybrid called the Slatebook X2, running Android. Expect this trend to continue if PC sales keep slowing down.
via Acer: Expect more Android and Chromebooks, less Windows | PCWorld.

Chromebooks take 20-25% of sub-$300 laptop market in US

The excitement surrounding netbooks is long gone, with every major manufacturer walking away from the market in favour of higher-margin products and people opting for tablets or more powerful ultra-slim laptops instead. But there’s still room for laptops in the low budget marketplace, and one unlikely player is slowly but surely gaining traction: the Linux-based, cloud-centric Google Chromebook.
According to data from NPD, the devices have snagged 20 percent to 25 percent of the sub-$300 market in the US. Although that’s not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, it’s at the very least noteworthy given that they are now the fastest-growing segment of the PC industry based on price.

Introduced in 2011, Chromebooks represented a major paradigm shift that ditched traditional desktop applications for web-based services. But their initial $350 – $430 price range made them a hard sell against Windows machines. Although Microsoft is still far from losing the throne, Google has been winning over customers by iterating with better hardware, lower prices, and expanded retail availability. NPD also notes that Chromebooks allow much more off-line activity now through a series of updates to Chrome OS.
Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung are all selling Chromebooks through nearly 7,000 retail outlets including Best Buy, Fry’s, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Walmart, Amazon and Tiger Direct.
Google even began selling its own branded model earlier this year, though with a starting price of $1,300, the Chromebook Pixel is more of an experiment than anything else. The device features a 12.85 inch 2560×1700 touch screen, Core i5 CPU, a 32GB or 64GB SSD and 1TB of storage on Google Drive for three years.
via Chromebooks take 20-25% of sub-$300 laptop market in US – TechSpot.

Review: Chromebook Pixel is too expensive (and too good) for Chrome OS

Just one month ago, the Chromebook Pixel was little more than a poorly sourced rumor. (And personally, while I didn’t quite dismiss it out of hand I came pretty close.) Google was releasing a high-end Chromebook with a touchscreen? And that touchscreen would boast a better pixel density than either of the Retina MacBook Pros? The rumor definitely didn’t fit in with the latest (and by all accounts, most successful) wave of Chromebooks, which have turned heads not least because they’re cheaper than any Chromebooks have been so far.
And yet, here we are: the Chromebook Pixel is real, it’s on my desk, and it starts at $1,299. For the kind of hardware we’re talking about—state-of-the-art Intel processors, a high-density touchscreen, and build quality to rival the best from both the Windows and Apple ecosystems—that price tag isn’t unreasonable. However, the Pixel is still running Chrome OS. Whether your Chromebook costs $199 or $1,299, that operating system still has all of the same features: it relies on constant Internet connectivity, it seeks to replace traditional desktop apps with Web apps, and it’s mostly just a Web browser running on top of a lightweight Linux distribution.
The question is, does this combination make sense? Are the professionals and power users who are willing to spend that kind of money on a computer the same kind of people who can live within Chrome OS’ limitations?
Full Story: Review: Chromebook Pixel is too expensive (and too good) for Chrome OS | Ars Technica.

HP will jump on the Chromebook bandwagon: Report

Another week, another major PC vendor announcing that it’s planning a Chromebook offering of its own. Last week, it was Lenovo; this week, according to reports, it’s none other than HP.
Acer, meanwhile, is riding high on its own Chromebook sales, and Samsung’s offering is currently the No. 1 top-selling laptop on Amazon.
As Windows 8 continues to lag, it’s difficult not to envision rising anxiety levels at Microsoft in Redmond.
A 14-inch display
According to a PDFthat the Verge found earlier today on HP’s site (since apparently taken down), the company is planning what’s referred to as a Pavilion Chromebook.
Google’s own Chromebook
Featuring a 1.1GHz Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 16GB solid-state drive, the device will also sport a 14-inch, 1366-by-768 display, the publication reports—considerably bigger than the 11.6-inch screens offered by most of its competitors, though apparently on par in terms of resolution.
Battery life is apparently another key differentiator, however, with the spec sheet listing just 4 hours and 15 minutes. Samsung’s Chromebook, by contrast, offers closer to seven hours.
‘Another nail in Microsoft’s coffin’
Still, it’s difficult not to marvel over the growing Chromebook phenomenon, particularly now that such major vendors tre getting involved.
Acer President Jim Wong told Bloomberg that Chromebooks have accounted for 5 percent to 10 percent of Acer’s U.S. shipments since November.
The Street, meanwhile, recently referred to Lenovo’s Chromebook as “another nail in Microsoft’s coffin.” The success of Samsung’s entry, of course, speaks for itself.
No love lost
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will always be famous for calling Linux a “cancer.”
And it wasn’t all that long ago that he expressed more concern over competition from Linux than from Apple. Soon afterwards, he also didn’t hold back in expressing his views of Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS.
With four key PC makers now jumping on the Chromebook bandwagon, is Microsoft in a fresh batch of trouble? Sound off with your views in the comments.
via HP will jump on the Chromebook bandwagon: Report | PCWorld.