Chromebook sales will triple in next three years

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Chromebook sales will triple in next three years

Analyst firm Gartner says sales of Chromebooks will triple in three years, to reach 14.4 million units in 2017.

The prediction comes in the Gartner report "Competitive Landscape: Chromebooks, Worldwide", which also stated that last year saw 5.2 million Chromebooks sold worldwide,

"Samsung was the dominant vendor of Chromebooks in 2013, with 64.9 percent share of the global market," said a Gartner spokesperson. The share translates to 1.7 million units.

The current demand is driven mainly by the education sector, with 85 percent of the 2013 units going to that industry.  The report reasons that this leaves the business sector as an untapped market that could trigger the rise of Chromebooks in the coming years.

[Vox pop: Are Chromebooks ready for the enterprise?]

"So far, businesses have looked at Chromebooks, but not bought many," said report author Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner.

"By adopting Chromebooks and cloud computing, businesses can benefit. They can shift their focus from managing devices to managing something much more important — their data."

A statement from Gartner said that specific users in areas such as "banking, financial services, [real] estate agents and hotel receptionists" could benefit from adopting Chromebooks.

Chromebook vendors' shares of unit sales to end users, worldwide, 2013.

Consumer-focused Samsung and Acer were the first vendors to produce Chromebooks, with Acer's Intel-based budget conscious models taking 21.4 percent of the market last year. The statement said that business-orientated brand HP came in third with 6.8 percent, while Lenovo produced rugged units suitable for younger students to take 6.7 percent.

[Related: Dell stops Chromebook sales, after "better than forecasted" sales]

"Making a competitive Chromebook is not just a matter of hardware and price. What is most important is to show is how the device's cloud-based architecture provides genuine advantages to users," said Durand.

"Now that the PC market is no longer growing strongly, vendors are searching for new business opportunities. They launched Chromebooks to revive interest in sub-$300 portable PCs once the netbook bubble had burst."

Gartner stated that to achieve the predicted growth in the coming years, Chromebook "vendors need to offer better features that address cloud-based usage patterns: faster connectivity, faster memory access, faster and larger solid-state drives, and strong user support in the education, business and consumer segments".

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