Toshiba Chromebook inbound, Microsoft probably not happy about it

 

Toshiba has announced it will begin selling a Chromebook on Feb. 16, becoming one of many vendors that are shipping laptops with an operating system other than Windows.

The device will cost $279 and feature a 13-inch display with a 1366x768 resolution, 2GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD, according to the company's press release. With battery life up to 9 hours, the Chromebook falls in line with many of its other Chromebook competitors, but don’t expect any serious horsepower under the hood as the device uses an Intel Celeron processor.

The laptop is clearly a casual computing device, as you can’t get any applications such as Photoshop, Office or any games that don’t run in a web browser to install on the platform but for Google, that’s OK. Google is all about living "on the web," as nearly all of its services are now browser-based, and if you live exclusively inside the Google ecosystem, a Chromebook may not be a bad value proposition if you can live with its shortcomings.

Of course, Microsoft is surely not pleased about the onset of Chromebooks and has even started to do a bit of negative advertising against the product. Sure, you could write off Chromebooks as not being a serious competitor to Windows, but you can bet that Google will continue to push the platform which means Microsoft better pay attention.

In case you forgot, the last time a competitor entered a computing market and Microsoft wrote them off to quickly was with the iPhone. That oversight has caused a massive headache for Microsoft, as it has found itself well behind the competitor in terms of market share in the mobile segment. So, with Chromebooks, you can bet that Microsoft is looking to avoid the mistakes of last time and is surely taking Google’s OS quite seriously.

Only time will tell if Chromebooks are able to carve out a niche in the market or if they will turn into another iteration of the netbook. But, for those of you who are interested in trying out the platform, you now have another low-cost option on the table.

Image via Toshiba

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So how many of these things are actually selling? So we know from that report that Chrome-OS and Android sold 1.76million devices through commercial channels, but I would imagine a 50/50 split is a decent guess. I am just seriously dying to know if this is a 5mill device ecosystem or 10mill or what. I have the feeling it is nowhere near as big as people were thinking after that NPD report.

that NPD report is from certain B2B resellers only, in the U.S. Manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, not consumers.

I bet there aren't even a million in use today. Netapps and statcounter show the web usage number at under 0.1%,and these things are made to use the web.

From my experience (very limited in scope) I think mainly schools are getting these things. I work for a school and we are buying like crazy because of GAFE and easy management. And they are cheap, cheap, cheap. =) I have yet to see one in the real world though...

After having a Toshiba laptop, I wouldn't care if it had Windows on it. I'll never buy any of their junk again. It seems par for the course that they're putting a garbage OS on it as well.

I don't like them very much, in college I would see a few of them and I have this friend who has one and was always looking for wifi just to work on her chromebook while im on my RT doing some homework by typing a paper and practicing a speech. so she used my rt and liked it better than her chrome book because she got work done.
sometimes I think people just buy things because its google so it must be good but when they use it its terrible but find out there is something better later to find out its from msft and like it

Mr.mister said,
I don't like them very much, in college I would see a few of them and I have this friend who has one and was always looking for wifi just to work on her chromebook while im on my RT doing some homework by typing a paper and practicing a speech. so she used my rt and liked it better than her chrome book because she got work done.

^ never happened.

Netbooks failed because it was either running Windows under the hood or some stupid Linux Distro. Chromebook/Chrome OS can't really be clustered to Linux here, because it's main "UI" is the Chrome browser to which almost everyone in the world uses and positively raves about.

Should Microsoft be very afraid? With offline Apps, lower price, low overhead business cost, and the top notch Google Ecosystem.......oh yeah,...Microsoft should be very afraid.

ehhhh I only have one complaint and that is google is top notch. one can argue msft has a better eco system than google hell even someone can ague that apple has a better eco system than google. and also all companies are afraid of each other. its really dumb when someone says OH this company is afraid of the other company when in reality they are both competing for the consumers money and are afraid of becoming irrelevant... just a thought for the mind

Of course Chromebooks can be a threat to Windows!

Not Adobe Photoshop users or professionals using Autodesk products and CAD, or professional video production...

But a TON of Windows users would be happy to have e-mail, Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, and be able to work with and print some documents and write simple spreadsheets, yet don't throw out a comfortable keyboard with tactile feedback for quick writing as in with a tablet. The Chromebooks can do all this and still much more. Many web apps even have offline support (thank you, HTML5). There are even web apps on the same level as Paint.NET for Windows, supporting layers and all. There are web-based IDE's for web development. These users may stand for a significant percentage of all Windows users.

In short, what I think this is all about is that Microsoft is very worried that Office will stop being considered "ubiquitous" and essential for "office work" in general, on an amateur level or not. That people will discover they maybe only actually use 10-20% of Microsoft Office 2013's feature set. If Microsoft loses foothold in the consumer mindset here, much could be lost, including the foothold of Windows itself. I think we're already seeing signs of going there and that Microsoft is fighting an uphill battle. I certainly don't see Office as essential as when I grew up. There are just so many powerful options, on the web as well as elsewhere. The 2010's seem to have been more about services and networks than particular hardware and operating systems.

Edited by Northgrove, Jan 6 2014, 6:32pm :

If that was true, Linux would have won the war years ago. Tell me what you can't do with Linux that you can do with Chrome?

Like Linux, Chrome will be a niche because people don't like change. I guess it was clear enough with the backlash of the start screen in Win8. People don't want "a good enough" Office suite (like LibreOffice, Google Docs, ...) they want what they know and it's MS Office.

If people did not care, Linux would be king because you can't beat "Free".

TruckWEB said,
If that was true, Linux would have won the war years ago. Tell me what you can't do with Linux that you can do with Chrome?

Like Linux, Chrome will be a niche because people don't like change. I guess it was clear enough with the backlash of the start screen in Win8. People don't want "a good enough" Office suite (like LibreOffice, Google Docs, ...) they want what they know and it's MS Office.

If people did not care, Linux would be king because you can't beat "Free".

Wrong, user friendly goes a long way, and google has inertia and weight with consumers. Flawed argument but nice try.

TruckWEB said,
If that was true, Linux would have won the war years ago. Tell me what you can't do with Linux that you can do with Chrome?

Like Linux, Chrome will be a niche because people don't like change. I guess it was clear enough with the backlash of the start screen in Win8. People don't want "a good enough" Office suite (like LibreOffice, Google Docs, ...) they want what they know and it's MS Office.

If people did not care, Linux would be king because you can't beat "Free".


If might be free, but there are a lot of factors why Linux didn't win the war, but let start with usability, and we all know that it wasn't user friendly back then.

In addition, Chrome is making it and is already in school systems. That is a prety good start, and if those students are using Google's services, chances are, they will be using the same service at home.

If a homeless guy was able to create an smartphone app using Chromebook, then the device has potential.

RommelS said,

If might be free, but there are a lot of factors why Linux didn't win the war, but let start with usability, and we all know that it wasn't user friendly back then.

I'm not talking about Linux "back then", I'm talking now, or maybe since 2010. If your last experience with Linux is "back then" I can imagine why you think it's not user friendly...

TruckWEB said,

I'm not talking about Linux "back then", I'm talking now, or maybe since 2010. If your last experience with Linux is "back then" I can imagine why you think it's not user friendly...

You did say "years ago", and even then or now, it would have not mattered. The battle is no longer in the desktop arena, it is in mobility and cloud.

In any case, there's just too many Linux flavors out there, and in my own opinion, the desktop Linux are competing with one another - even if they are free. Granted they have made inroads, but not to the point that it is popular enough to be used by consumers.

I do deal with Linux from time to time, but it is the enterprise version of it - Red Hat.

Yes, if a non-windows OS is pre-installed then users will use it. There are not many PCs or full laptops that ship with Linux. I installed Linux for other people who did not produce Windows licenses and also for my family for easier support and they are fine with it.

Why wouldn't Microsoft like Chromebooks, they require always on internet and even compared to RT chromebooks are pretty worthless.

RT just needs some serious printer functionality. If they could resolve that, they'd be golden for many people, especially college students.

Last time I talked to Microsoft, their best suggestion was an ePrint printer...

warwagon said,
Why wouldn't Microsoft like Chromebooks, they require always on internet and even compared to RT chromebooks are pretty worthless.

Reminds me of all the hate that XB1 received with its internet requirements. Don't see the same hate directed towards the CB. Hmmm.

Kunal Nanda said,
Don't see the same hate directed towards the CB. Hmmm.

So? CBs were always internet mainly devices. There were advertised as such and this is well known. MS went from a model that people like since the original XBOX and wanted to go always on. This would leave gaming on the XBOX out for a lot of people including a lot of military personnel and make it impossible to play a game in case your internet connection is not working.

So yea, no one is complaining about CBs at all for this reason. And people are more happy with MS for reversing their decision that what they were before. So MS made the right move.

At that price I'd rather have a decent tablet, do more with the thing in a more convenient package.. either that or pay a little more for a notebook.

Microsoft doesn't like it? Good. Maybe they'll release a nice Surface bundle at a comparable or lower price point to compete.

You cannot compare CBs and Surface tablets for specs/pricing. Different devices and uses. The closet comparison to a CB would be a tablet but they are still different.

techbeck said,
You cannot compare CBs and Surface tablets for specs/pricing. Different devices and uses. The closet comparison to a CB would be a tablet but they are still different.

You have to understand that the majority of consumers, people that don't know much about technology, don't compare anything. They look at the price and that's about it.

I meant an RT Surface, not a Pro. I got my RT, plus a touch cover for $275 (minus a $50 gift card). Toss in a nice cover, extra Skydrive space, a USB hub, an HDMI cable, and you've got yourself a nice compelling little package IMO.

Of course, the $200 Surface was a Black Friday special. I'm not sure if that price would be sustainable as the normal price.

They might take a loss on the bundle initially, but improving RT's market share might be worth it. Not to mention their cut on the Store sales.

Microsoft could try to sell the Surface 2 (with RT) and a keyboard at a lower cost if they realy wanted to compete with Chromebook.

Still, a Surface 2 RT can do much more than Chrome...

stevan said,

You have to understand that the majority of consumers, people that don't know much about technology, don't compare anything. They look at the price and that's about it.

Whose fault is that? If people buy things off of recommendation or without doing their own research, then buy something they dont like or is suitable for their needs, then that person is a moron.

techbeck said,

Whose fault is that? If people buy things off of recommendation or without doing their own research, then buy something they dont like or is suitable for their needs, then that person is a moron.

Not everyone visits Neowin to get their daily intake of recommendations. In fact, the majority don't. Just have to remember how many people shop without knowing what they're buying. Most people aren't into the tech world, and I wouldn't call them morons for that matter.

I research everything I buy, sometimes even buying it locally before finding a better deal online. But that doesn't mean that people that buy on impulse are morons.

techbeck said,

Whose fault is that? If people buy things off of recommendation or without doing their own research, then buy something they dont like or is suitable for their needs, then that person is a moron.

And most people are in fact just that. Actually blissfully ignorant is a better term. Most people just want their device to work and care nothing about the inner workings. It's the bane of all science and technology and something that bothered even the likes of Carl Sagan. We're highly dependent on technology and most people know nothing about it.

Oops, didn't mean to get on a soapbox.

Exactly Toshiba sells computers, its upto them what OS they put on the hardware. If Microsoft is so worried, maybe they should do something to compete.

Javik said,
Who gives a toss whether Microsoft likes it or not? Competition is good for all markets.

Unless Microsoft tries to compete with others, then they must stop and stop now because it is not fair to the others.

I agree. Besides, it's only common sense for these companies to explore alternatives since the rise of first party Microsoft devices could eat into their bread and butter.

Are these things massively subsidized by Google or something?

I cannot believe a Win license will add a couple hundred dollars to the mix when releasing it as a Win pc.

They cost about what tablets do and with similar specs.

Look at the Pixel if you want to see what PC hardware bumps it up to in price.

Dutchie64 said,
Are these things massively subsidized by Google or something?

I cannot believe a Win license will add a couple hundred dollars to the mix when releasing it as a Win pc.

It has a Celeron processor...

These chrombooks will slowly take over the casual consumer market along with tablets. The biggest thing they got going besides the price is that they aren't prone to millions of viruses and malware infections like Windows.

lolneowin said,
These chrombooks will slowly take over the casual consumer market along with tablets. The biggest thing they got going besides the price is that they aren't prone to millions of viruses and malware infections like Windows.

Millions of Viruses??!!??!!?!! IT'S OVER 9000!!!!!!!!ONEONEONEBBQ!!! Better install Nortons

lolneowin said,
These chrombooks will slowly take over the casual consumer market along with tablets. The biggest thing they got going besides the price is that they aren't prone to millions of viruses and malware infections like Windows.

I think these chrome books and tablets are fighting for the same niche based on what a chrome book does. I really don't see how you compare a chrome book with a traditional PC or Mac.

You can probably do more right now with a good Android tablet than you can with a Chromebook...

I think the only good thing going for the Chromebook is the size of the screen and included keyboard. Nothing else is good about them.

lolneowin said,
These chrombooks will slowly take over the casual consumer market along with tablets. The biggest thing they got going besides the price is that they aren't prone to millions of viruses and malware infections like Windows.

I think viruses and malware are going to be popping up big time over the next year on Chromebooks. People install these extensions on their chrome browser, then they sync it to everything they log into. Its a nightmare. It might not be reoccuring/bootable but I think they are coming and I am not sure what Google will do about it...

lolneowin said,
These chrombooks will slowly take over the casual consumer market along with tablets. The biggest thing they got going besides the price is that they aren't prone to millions of viruses and malware infections like Windows.

Windows RT is not vulnerable to malwares either, and it provides much more features than chromebooks, yet google/apple fanboys claim Windows RT is useless because it doesn't support win32 apps. Go figure...

btw, chromebooks are vulnerable to malicious extensions, which can do as much harm as typical malwares (steal passwords, credit card data, ...).
Windows RT is not vulnerable to that kind of malware because MS knows that browser extensions are fundamentally dangerous, and didn't allow them on Windows RT.

link8506 said,

Windows RT is not vulnerable to malwares either, and it provides much more features than chromebooks, yet google/apple fanboys claim Windows RT is useless because it doesn't support win32 apps. Go figure...

btw, chromebooks are vulnerable to malicious extensions, which can do as much harm as typical malwares (steal passwords, credit card data, ...).
Windows RT is not vulnerable to that kind of malware because MS knows that browser extensions are fundamentally dangerous, and didn't allow them on Windows RT.

True... I just wish they would allow an ad blocker by default .

Scabrat said,

True... I just wish they would allow an ad blocker by default .

Tracking Protection Lists are supported in Windows RT. Just choose the adblockplus TPL and it will block most ads.

link8506 said,

Tracking Protection Lists are supported in Windows RT. Just choose the adblockplus TPL and it will block most ads.

=D! I will try that right now!

link8506 said,

Tracking Protection Lists are supported in Windows RT. Just choose the adblockplus TPL and it will block most ads.

The real ads I want to block are YouTube ones. I would listen to them but they usually blast them at 20-50% more volume than the show I am watching and that hurts my ears.

Unfortunately it didn't seem to block the YouTube ads =/.

At least the cheap netbook were running Windows. Sure it was slow, but you could do things with them and you did not need to be "connected".

I can't imagine running only in the Google ecosystem. I'd prefer one of the new 8" Windows tablet for about the same price.

Which is about all they're really useful for. However, a real Linux install on one of these things might actually be useful in the spaces Google thinks people want Chromebooks for.

Enron said,

You can install Linux on a cheap $250 Windows laptop too.


You can install Linux on a cheap $25 Raspberry Pi too

But as for Linux on Chromebooks, it would be interesting to see Google ship a few of them (looking at the Pixel here, these high-end ones) that come dual-booted between Chrome OS and some 'regular' Linux distro

Geezy said,
Most cheap windows laptops look/feel cheap and are ugly, but most cheap chromebooks look/feel much better.

That's true, but they have gotten a lot better over the past 2 years. Also most of the Ultrabooks are of good quality, but will cost a few hundred more... still cheap, but not Chromebook cheap.

Matthew_Thepc said,
But as for Linux on Chromebooks, it would be interesting to see Google ship a few of them (looking at the Pixel here, these high-end ones) that come dual-booted between Chrome OS and some 'regular' Linux distro
They probably won't since they'd rather funnel people towards their web store, and Linux would provide access to free useful alternatives that are probably more mature. I don't mind that they don't ship with Linux, just happy that it's easy to install it.

While Microsoft is taking Chromebooks (not to mention Android and iOS) quite seriously (and it should), the users of Microsoft's current versions of Windows could mostly care less - especially Windows 7 users. They are motivated by one thing, and one thing only - price. Chromebooks are all about undercutting Windows in terms of price - nothing else. (Look at the configuration of a Chromebook - from anybody - compared to the lowest-end Windows 7 notebook/netbook; how does it compare?)

PGHammer said,
While Microsoft is taking Chromebooks (not to mention Android and iOS) quite seriously (and it should), the users of Microsoft's current versions of Windows could mostly care less - especially Windows 7 users. They are motivated by one thing, and one thing only - price. Chromebooks are all about undercutting Windows in terms of price - nothing else. (Look at the configuration of a Chromebook - from anybody - compared to the lowest-end Windows 7 notebook/netbook; how does it compare?)

Its 'couldn't care less' saying someone could care less is like saying they care some amount and therefore could care a little less about it, if your trying to say someone doesn't care then its they couldn't care less, because if you care nothing about something then its not possible for you to care less (unless you accept negative values, which we don't)

Thanks, England

As I said before I like competition because consumers will get the benefit. but I myself will never buy this ****. you get what you paid for. 8 years old hardware (celeron processor) with a useless OS (if not connected) for almost 300$ ?? I would buy Nokia 2520 Tablet instead.

duddit2 said,

Its 'couldn't care less' saying someone could care less is like saying they care some amount and therefore could care a little less about it, if your trying to say someone doesn't care then its they couldn't care less, because if you care nothing about something then its not possible for you to care less (unless you accept negative values, which we don't)

Thanks, England

Hey man, hold down the fort

With possible 7 OEMs making CBs this year, these things could do well. Especially with Google making changes improvements to the platform. Of course anything can happen and with all the other rumored tech coming, should be an interesting year.

Would be funny comparing CBs to Windows device tho but I am sure MS will do just that.

Kalint said,
They already did on their stupid Scroogle site. http://www.scroogled.com/chromebook

You know a company is desperate when you have to rope in Pawn Stars to peddle your product.

with its 90.5% market share on desktop, Microsoft sure looks desperate! /s

MS is right to try to explain people the shortcomings of chromebooks.

people who might buy a chromebook are probably not aware of limitations such as not being able to print without an internet connection, even in offline mode with a printer on the same network.

A company releasing a marketing campaign with the name calling maturity of a middle schooler definitely makes them look desperate. Not only that, it is so shameful that they have to use such deceitful tactics to try to win customers.

link8506 said,

with its 90.5% market share on desktop, Microsoft sure looks desperate! /s

MS is right to try to explain people the shortcomings of chromebooks.

people who might buy a chromebook are probably not aware of limitations such as not being able to print without an internet connection, even in offline mode with a printer on the same network.

Better start now than later. MS is aware on how people are using their devices now. In the past, you have to purchase a full fledge PC just to do your paper, email, print and surf the web. These days, you don't need a PC just to connect to the internet, and people are printing less because there are alternatives to receive information.

If you are student and you have a paper to submit, chances are, you will have to connect the device anyways, and print while you are connected online. That being said, you can even board a plane with your smartphone these days.

link8506 said,
with its 90.5% market share on desktop, Microsoft sure looks desperate! /s

Ignoring yet another industry shift in its beginnings would not be wise for MS. Its precisely their complacency and self-perception as an infallible monopoly that has them scrambling and desperate now to make inroads in mobile, search, and online services.

MS is right to try to explain people the shortcomings of chromebooks.

Maybe they should focus on explaining the stengths of their own products. Or maybe they did and had lots of time left over.

oh well **** happens! Why should they leave money on the table if people want to buy these things. Even i am tempted to get one.

Low pricing will do that. However, what shortcuts in terms of hardware are taken to get there? (Yes - I am deliberately leaving the OS out of the comparison.)

I was tempted so much by the new crop that I got a c720 (typing on it now). I don't think they sell that good despite what amazon says but this is definitely a better quality than the $250 windows laptops or netbooks out there