“As 2013 closes, we are left with a bit of a puzzle in technology,” Mark Rogowsky reports for Forbes. “The Chromebook, a browser-based, almost computer, designed by Google is definitely more popular than ever. But is it really catching on? And if so with who?”

“The Chromebook starts at just $199, with models from Acer and Samsung. An appealing model from HP that Google still oddly features on its website is $279, but was recalled due to faulty power adapters. Google also sells a much more expensive device, the Chromebook Pixel, for $1299, though it’s safe to assume that sales of that model are too low to measure.,” Rogowsky reports. “What you get for your money is not a computer in the traditional sense. But for the intended market, that’s mostly a plus. Instead of a device that requires lots of updating, is exposed to viruses and malware, etc. you get a fairly closed system that’s inexpensive, always up to date and, well, a bit disposable. As Rakesh Agrawal put it: ‘At $250, if I happen to forget it at a security checkpoint I’m not going to worry about it.'”

“What’s less clear is who exactly is buying them and in what quantities. Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies and a deservedly respected analyst, believes they are going to education. ‘There are no governments or IT departments running out to buy these products — they would be underwhelmed,’ he told Mashable. ‘Instead, this growth is being driven by education.’ But just how much growth are we talking about?” Rogowsky reports. “It will be interesting to follow Chromebook usage in the coming months to see how it changes from here. Do the new Chromebooks remain popular with their users or don’t they? Does the retail sales data continue to suggest sales are surging? Perhaps we’ll be able to solve 2013′s final mystery in 2014. Until then, Happy New Year everyone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The fear from Microsoft is palpable. With Apple owning the high-end, premium personal computing market and all the high-value customers, Google is attacking Redmond on their home turf: low-end consumer-grade PCs. Have a nice 2014, beleaguered Microsoft!

Related article:
Surging Chromebook sales this Christmas spell doom for Microsoft – December 29, 2013
Microsoft continues blasting Google, hires ‘Pawn Stars’ to deride Chromebook as worthless brick (with video) – November 26, 2013
Google announces Chromebook Pixel web-based laptop starting at $1299 (with video) – February 22, 2013