Google Chromebooks: Not Dead Yet!

Google Chrome VP Sundar PichaiChrome VP Sundar Pichai

Photo: Matt Rosoff

Even though Google’s Chrome OS and Chromebooks seem like a product in search of a problem, the project isn’t dead yet.FCC documents uncovered by Laptop Reviews this weekend show that Sony is joining Samsung and Acer on the very short list of Chromebook makers. Google did not confirm the device is real or launching soon.

Google has never released sales stats on Chrome OS devices, but they got off to a very slow start last year, as Acer sold only 5,000 through November, according to DigiTimes.

Even if that DigiTimes number is inaccurate, there are lots of other hints as well — for instance, the top selling Chromebook on Amazon.com is the Samsung Series 5 at the number 22 spot, and I’ve never seen a Chromebook in use outside of Google employees.

But Google’s top Chrome exec Sundar Pichai took over Google’s Apps business last year, and hinted at an investors’ conference in February that Apps would rely more heavily on Chrome.

So if Google Apps keep getting better on Chrome, there still might be a business case for a cheap, low-powered notebook that runs only Web apps. Sony certainly seems to think so.

Meanwhile, Google’s OTHER operating system for low-powered wireless connected devices, Android, is now getting more than 700,000 activations per day.

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