It's hard to resist the allure of Google's Chromebook. For those just looking for a cheap Internet machine, Google's sub-$300 laptops are hard to beat. That unmatched value is helping Chromebooks succeed in a market that's been defined by nothing but declining sales the past few years.
The NPD says that Google's Chromebook has now gained 20 to 25 percent of the sub-$300 laptop market in the U.S. That's a huge gain for a computer that's only been on the market for two years. It's even more impressive when you consider that Chromebooks were seen as nothing but a self-serving experiment on the part of Google for the first year of their existence.
That all started to change last year, however, as Google started to release cheaper Chromebooks with the help of its partners at Acer and Samsung. The Acer C7 Chromebook in particular is a fantastic value at $199. It's that value combined with broader acceptance of Chrome OS as a valid alternative to Windows or Mac OS X.
It also doesn't hurt that Google has made Chromebooks incredibly affordable to schools through its education initiatives. Other companies like Apple appeal to schools with cheaper pricing, but it's hard to compete with $99 per laptop, especially for struggling schools that are trying to put more technology in the hands of it students.
NPD's Stephen Baker says that broader acceptance has given Google's Chromebook its "niche in the marketplace." It's not like Google is taking the computing industry by storm, but it has definitely found more success than others. That's why Baker says that Google has a part in what he calls the "radical change" affecting the PC industry.
That radical change has been well documented over the past year as analyst after analyst has predicted the continued decline of the PC industry. Just last week, an analyst with IDC pointed to numbers that show PC shipments are becoming increasingly stagnant through all parts of the world. By the end of the year, IDC predicts that PC shipments will decline by 7.8 percent.
As for Chromebook, it can only go up from here. Google's Caesar Sengupta, head of product development at Chromebook, says that they're "seeing tremendous growth, without a doubt - massive, massive growth."[h/t: Bloomberg]