CAD / PLM on Chromebook?

CAD / PLM on Chromebook?


Our hardware life is much more diversified these days. Smartphones and tablets made a dent in the universe of Windows computers. Mac computers are more visible these days, but still the majority of engineering and manufacturing business systems are running on Windows. However, here is an interesting number I learned from Techcrunch article Google’s Chromebooks Have Hit Their Stride earlier this week.

According to the latest numbers from NPD, Chromebooks accounted for 21 percent of all laptop sales and almost 10 percent of all computer sales to businesses in 2013. That’s up from virtually nothing in the year before. Given that Apple is irrelevant in commercial channel sales (it commanded a whopping 1.8 percent of sales), Chromebook’s increased share is coming at the cost of Windows.

Another article from Forbes – Google Chromebooks Are Now 21% Of Notebooks Sold Through US Commercial Channels brings a specific example of computers.

Of Amazon’s three best selling offerings in the field over the holidays two were Chromebooks. On Thursday, AMZN -0.39% called out a pair of Chromebooks — one from Samsung, the other from Acer — as two of the three best-selling notebooks during the U.S. holiday season. The third: Asus’ Transformer Book, a Windows 8.1 “2-in-1″ device that transforms from a 10.1-in. tablet to a keyboard-equipped laptop.

It made me think about how much of CAD / PLM software is ready to be certified and compliant to Google OS. The straightforward thinking can bring you to the point where everything that runs on Chrome browser should run on Chrome OS. However, looking over few article and materials related to Chromium certification here I don’t think it is very straightforward. At the same time, I didn’t find lots of Google Chrome OS certification guidance.

What is my conclusion? 21% of laptop sales is a significant number. It might be invisible today, but introduce a trend. It is something better to be introduced earlier in the development project to get some pure CAD / PLM projects from full dependency of IE. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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  • Hi Oleg, interesting thought.
    As Chromebook is essentially an intelligent terminal into the Cloud ecosystem I’d suggest that the opportunity for Chromebooks may lie with those that have ‘Cloud-y’ apps?

  • A couple issues here, and it’s really misquoted by TechCrunch and their irrational exuberance… the 10% increase is for commercial channels (not business exclusively). If you read the details of the NPD blog, you’ll read that the explosion in Chromebook sales was anchored by educational industries which makes much more sense. See it at:

    I also find it amusing that they didn’t have the numbers to justify the death of the PC (again). Yet while Apple’s numbers are down significantly they are not declaring the death of Apple. Funny how that works.

  • Christine

    I found it surprising that the number was so high, and yet so few people even know what a Chromebook is. Personally, I love mine. It’s my “go to” device for content authoring. However, there are some limitations. Developers could probably work around these by doing things like avoiding silverlight, etc…

    On the plus side, think of the impact of a $250 lightweight CAD station that boots instantly.

  • beyondplm

    Allan, I agree- cloud apps is an opportunity that can be valued by Chromebook users.

  • beyondplm

    Ed, numbers are funny :). at the end, this is only a discussion to dig into more data… Thanks for your comments and links! Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Christine, thanks for sharing your opinion! yes, $250 Chromebook with cloud CAD system can be cool :). Oleg

  • I’d say the funniness of numbers have increased 14% YOY (normalized for inflation) 🙂