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Chromebook sales have shot upward this year, research firm says

Chromebooks are becoming more and more popular all the time, if data published by market research firm NPD Group is any indication.

From January to May of this year, U.S. commercial Chromebook sales rose 250 percent year over year. On top of that, the sales of Chromebooks during this period accounted for 35 percent of all notebook sales in the commercial space.

“Building on last year’s surprising strength, Chrome’s unit strength ahead of this year’s education buying season shows how it has become a legitimate third platform alongside Windows and Mac OS X and iOS,” NPD Group exec Stephen Baker says.

Despite the success of the Chromebook so far, Baker notes that the sledding will get even tougher for Chrome OS-based devices as 2014 rolls on.

“The next test for Chrome will clearly be the most difficult, as both Apple and Microsoft get more aggressive in pricing and deal making over the next few months,” Baker says.” By the end of the third quarter we will have a much clearer picture of the long-term impact Chromebooks will have in the commercial channel.”

Baker may be referring to reports which indicate that Windows-based laptops priced as low as $199 will start hitting the market sometime this fall.

There are more positive numbers to report on the traditional computer side of things, and not just when it comes to Chrome OS-powered gear. For instance, NPD says that total “commercial channel” U.S. sales of laptops jumped 36 percent, desktop sales spiked 24 percent, and MacBook sales rose over 20 percent. However, NPD describes sales of Windows-based notebooks as “flat.”

So what about all of that “the PC is dead” talk you’ve no doubt heard of the last few years?

“The bottom line is that despite reports to the contrary the market for desktops and notebooks sold through the channel in the U.S. has never been better,” Baker says.

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