By Brian Heater
Few, if any, saw coming the Chromebook’s utter dominance of the K-8 category. In hindsight, it’s easy to see why the systems have been such a success story, of course: low prices, coupled with ease of wide-scale deployment and lockdown make them a perfect fit for the classroom. Fifteen million Chromebooks were sold in 2018 alone, with schools serving as the major catalyst.
But manufacturers are looking beyond the classroom for the future of the category. Google’s facing increased competition from super-cheap PCs supported by Microsoft, and those schools that have purchased systems aren’t due for refreshes. It’s no surprise, then, that average Chromebook prices are expected to rise across the board as more companies target mainstream use.
Selling Chromebooks outside of the classroom, on the other hand, has been a bit of a tougher life. After all, finding a powerful, reasonably priced PC isn’t hard in 2019. That’s part of what made the original Pixelbook such an oddity. The $999 price point qualified the device as a premium laptop. And while ChromeOS has certainly made some major leaps in the last several years, it has never been entirely clear who the product is for.