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Exclusive: Chromebooks To Fly In OZ?

By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 20/03/2013

They're run from the cloud but can Google PC's fly in OZ

JB Hi Fi, one of the only OZ retailers selling Google OS notebooks, predicts Chromebooks will be popular, while IDC analysts say its "unlikely" for some time.

Samsung and Acer Chromebooks, costing $349 and $299 respectively went on sale in OZ yesterday, run Google Chrome OS with 100GB cloud storage on Google Drive, and spruiked as "built for the web", emails, and apps even work offline. 

JB Hi-Fi's Marketing Manager Scott Browning predicts Google Chromebook's will be popular and take-up similar to that in US, UK, he told CN.

Chromebook at Harvey Norman
"We anticipate the take-up will be similar in Australia to that of the UK & US where they have proven a popular item."

"They are more a netbook substitute than a tablet alternative but they do present a strong value proposition for basic in home utility such as email, web browsing, cloud storage, web based applications & social media."

JB are selling both Samsung and Acer Chromebooks, as are Harvey Norman - although for $1 more.

Its "early days yet but we know there is already latent interest" says Browning although Chromebooks will be available in select JB stores only.

Chromebooks at JB Hi Fi
There will be a branded Google Chromebooks display unit in most of hte selected stores this week. CN visited JB's store in Sydney's Bondi Junction yesterday and saw the new Chromebooks for ourselves,

The branded Chromebook stand is located at the top of the computer counter alongside a slew of other Acer, Asus, Samsung, Toshiba, branded notebooks, ultrabooks and tabs and is among the first PC's visible when consumers enter the Bondi store.

The Samsung for $50 more is definitely the lighter and skinnier of the two, with the cheaper Acer C7 appearing bulkier by comparison.

The Chromebooks were getting some interest from consumers when we visited the store.

At Harvey Norman store also in Bondi, only one Chromebook was on display so far, and appeared to be getting little attention, although the store was quiet anyway.

However, IDC local analyst Amy Cheah doesn't share JB enthusiasm on the popularity of the new PC propisition from the well known brand Google.
- Page Break -

"It's unlikely Chromebooks will take significant share in the local PC market, at least not in the early years," she told CN.

It will take time for consumers to familiarise themselves with the Chrome OS. she says.

"The fact of the matter is Chrome OS is a new operating system, and not to mention a cloud-based OS.

"With so many different OS platforms and form factors such as tablets and entry level notebooks competing for mind- and wallet- share, the new device will be lost amongst the sea of devices already in the market. "

"Connectivity will also be an issue here in Australia, more so outside of CBD areas where access to 3G or WiFi is limited, as people would want instant access to their data and applications."

However, DigiTimes reports sales of Chromebook, available elsewhere for some time, are anything but stellar with "total sales of less than 500,000 units show that the devices still need a lot improvement," or 1% share of the total notebook market.

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