Chrome OS has long been seen as an inexpensive alternative to Mac and Windows, but in 2020 Google’s desktop operating system has established itself as a direct rival. Data from market share analysts Gartner and Canalys suggests more than 30 million Chromebooks were shipped last year, including at least 11 million in the fourth quarter alone.
The two companies differ slightly on some stats, but there is one thing that cannot be argued: 2020 was by far the best year in Chromebook history. However, its estimated market share is still around 1.91% as of January 2021 (StatCounter), a slight increase from 12 months earlier.
Nonetheless, these are impressive numbers for an operating system that seemed doomed when it launched in 2011. Early devices, such as the Acer AC700 and Samsung Series 5, have been widely criticized for their addiction. direct to the Internet connection and their lack of functionality. compared to Windows or macOS devices.
However, Google’s persistence with Chrome OS turned out to be a wise move. Once the company itself joined in the production of hardware by companies such as Lenovo and HP, it was clear that Chrome OS had a bright future. In 2016, less than five years after their launch, Chromebooks outnumbered Macs in the United States.
Previous figures for 2020 would have been barely believable ten years ago, although the pandemic has played a role. The move to telecommuting for many people has skyrocketed demand, and the relative affordability of Chromebooks has made it a popular choice. There’s less desire to spend four figures on a new PC, and Chromebooks have proven to be unnecessary for a lot of people.
Chrome OS is also incredibly popular in the education industry, as Google has dedicated a lot of resources to enabling effective schooling, even before the pandemic. As many young people have to learn from home, it looks like demand will remain high for the foreseeable future.
Windows 10X could complicate matters
However, that might not be a bed of roses for Chrome OS in 2021. Microsoft has unveiled a new version of Windows known as Windows 10X in 2019, and it should finally hit the market this year. The software is designed for dual-screen devices like the upcoming Surface Neo, but it’s coming to regular laptops and 2-in-1s first.