Chromebook is a laptop computer that uses Google’s ChromeOS operating system, mainly for the education market and low-cost consumers. The advantages of Chromebooks are free software, rich applications, and fast system updates. According to Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, Google recently changed its strategy and began to charge licensing fees for Chromebook software, which has a certain impact on the cost and price of laptops.
According to reports, Google has notified HP, Lenovo and other Chromebook brands to start charging for the software on July 1. The amount charged depends on the price point and specifications of the laptop, ranging from tens to tens of dollars for high-end models and single-digit dollars for low-end models, which equates to 1% to 2% of the total cost.
In order to avoid paying additional fees, the brand side accelerated the speed of procurement and shipment before July 1, resulting in higher-than-expected market demand in the second quarter. According to statistics, global shipments of notebook computers in the second quarter increased by 20.9% compared with the first quarter. Among them, Chromebooks accounted for a large part.
But in the third quarter, with the implementation of the new fee system and the easing of the epidemic, the demand for Chromebooks will return to flat. According to statistics from research institutions, global Chromebook shipments will reach 37.5 million units in 2021, a record high. However, in 2022 and 2023, shipments will drop to 19.5 million and 20 million units, respectively.
How much influence does Google have on Chromebook charges? Industry insiders believe that although the cost has risen a bit, Chromebooks still have strong competitiveness in the global education market. North America is the largest market for Chromebooks, and the U.S. government offers huge subsidies and procurement programs to support online education. In addition, there are not many alternatives to Chromebooks, and brands can reduce costs by finding cheaper hardware solutions.
However, Chromebooks also face some challenges and problems. For example, software support has a short lifespan, making it impossible to update or access certain websites after a few years. Repairs are also expensive, and sometimes a new one is more cost-effective than repairing an old one.