Google software-based Chromebooks from Samsung and Acer are still vying with Apple MacBook Pros and Windows 7 laptops in an Amazon top-10 popularity contest.
As of Thursday evening, the $349 11.6-inch Acer AC700-1099 Chromebook (Wi-Fi) is ranked No. 4 on Amazon's laptop best-seller list, while the $499 12.1-inch Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook (Titan Silver) is in the No. 10 spot.
Nevertheless, the new entrants to the laptop market--the Samsung Chromebook went on sale last month, the Acer this month--seem to have staying power in the top 10.
"They're what a Netbook should have been," said Richard Shim, an analyst at DisplaySearch. The traditional Netbook Shim is referring to is the Windows variety, which has always been dogged by performance problems. Chromebooks, of course, run Google's Chrome OS.
But Chrome isn't perfect either. As CNET Reviews points out, the freshly minted minimalist Chrome operating environment has problems when dealing with common file formats like ZIP and doing simple tasks like editing photos. And Chrome needs a constant Internet connection.
That said, if Google follows through with substantive refinements, Chrome is potentially better suited for a small, low-cost laptop because it has been designed from the ground up as an OS meant to run on the Web with minimal hardware. Much like tablets. That's not the case for Windows 7.
Another benefit is updates. A Chromebook updates automatically when turned on, unlike Windows, which prompts for updates.
Common features of the Acer and Samsung Chromebooks include a 1.66GHz Intel Atom dual-core N570 processor, 2GB DDR3 Memory, 16GB solid-state drive, Webcam, and USB 2.0 ports. In addition to standard Wi-Fi, both can be equipped with built-in 3G.
Updated at 9:55 p.m. PST to reflect bestselling laptop ranking as of Thursday evening.