Because tons of unsold palettes of Chromebooks, that’s why

A while back, I wrote an article for another publication called “The Chromebooks are coming.” If you still haven’t seen a Chromebook, don’t feel badly; it probably just means you haven’t visited Best Buy or one of the relatively few places that they are sold.

Chromebooks are the spiritual successor to netbooks. You might remember netbooks as those tiny underpowered laptops which disappeared after iPads came out. There are still folks who want a “real” PC experience, though, and the only choice has been a heavy expensive laptop or a light, even more expensive ultrabook. Chromebooks don’t run Windows or any Microsoft apps so they can be a lot less expensive. Today’s Chromebooks are sleek and light and while they may not have a lot of power, they don’t necessarily need it and with solid state drives they feel plenty fast.

The only thing is, it seems like Chromebooks are trying to answer a question that no one is asking. Yet, the latest numbers out there seem to say that they’re an incredible hit. Supposedly 21% of notebook sales are Chromebooks. Yet, as Forbes points out, Chromebooks only represent about .5% of the web traffic out there. How can this be?

First, it’s important to remember that sales of all traditional computers are really low right now. People are not buying computers of any stripe, except for tablets. The PC industry is in a free fall which looks like it will continue for some time. So, 21% of practically nothing is still … practically nothing.

However, the big reason that these numbers don’t match up is because people aren’t really buying them. It’s not really clear where that “21% number” comes from, but most likely it comes from Google, maker of the Chromebook. They’re probably not saying how many people bought Chromebooks, but instead how many retailers did. Just like the whole Galaxy Gear fiasco, there are probably hundreds of thousands of unsold Chromebooks in warehouses and distribution centers all over the country. Retailers like Amazon and Best Buy have gambled big on the Chromebook, and so far there’s no evidence that they are succeeding.

As a wise man once said, statistics lie and liars use statistics. This seems to be another clear case of statistics lying. And, in case you’re curious, this article was written on a good, old-fashioned, PC running Windows.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.