Since their launch in 2011, Chromebooks have slowly found a foothold in the laptop market, thanks to typically lightweight bodies and equally light price tags. If projections are accurate, the ChromeOS-powered notebook could become more popular soon.
A recent Gartner study estimates that Chromebook sales will rise to 5.2 million by 2014, a 79 percent increase from 2013 (2.9 million units). Gartner expects Chromebook sales to hit 14.4 million by 2017 -- nearly triple the 2014 estimate.
The education sector represents the biggest buyers of Chromebooks in the US, making up 85 percent of unit sales in 2013. Other people that have found use for Chromebooks include bankers, hotel receptionists and real estate agents.
Samsung Chromebooks were the most popular, taking 64.9 percent of the market share in 2013. Next up were Acer (21.4 percent), HP (6.8 percent) and Lenovo (6.7 percent), with Dell rounding out the group (0.3 percent).
Acer recently announced its Chromebook 13, which packs Nvidia's powerful Tegra K1 processor and a Full HD, 13-inch display in a super sleek body. With the muscle boost, Acer's Chromebook 13 (starting at $280) could pack the punch needed to attract more discerning consumers.
Most of the complaints against Chromebooks revolve around how dependent the OS was on an Internet connection, since it is basically a browser-based system. However, Google's been making a big push for developers to ensure their apps are offline-capable though so that Chromebooks can give Windows PCs a run for their money.
In contrast, PC sales have been in decline, according to a Jan 2014 report by Gartner. Some 316 million PCs were shipped worldwide in 2013, a ten percent fall from the 351 million units shipped in 2012. Despite the decline, PC makers should have nothing to fear, since the 14.4 million estimate for Chromebook's 2017 sales is still just a fraction of PC's current 315 million.