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Apple continues its domination of the tablet market, shipping 11.8 million iPads in first quarter of 2012, according to IDC. The number of units shipped in the quarter declined from 15.4 million units sold in the previous quarter. Apple increased its market share of the tablet market to 68 percent in the first quarter from 57 percent in the previous quarter.
Google partners now have an updated product line with which to work. In late May, Google and Samsung jointly launched a second generation of the Chromebook as well as a Chromebox desktop unit, both of which run on Google’s Chrome OS and are cloud-based.
Google partners in many cases are moving ahead under a pilot program to sell the cloud-based notebooks and say they are seeing modest results.
“With Chromebooks, the biggest requests we’ve had in the last few weeks are [from] call centers and retail, where the value is a much better than a full-fledged desktop computer,” David Hoff, co-founder and senior vice president of operations and technology of Cloud Sherpas, an Atlanta, Ga.-based solution provider and Google partner, said in an email.
Hoff said Chromebooks can be more valuable in an enterprise than tablets.
“We are seeing a high level of interest in pilots for Chromebooks in the enterprise but not as a direct response to tablets,” he said. “Many organizations have started to realize that tablets are ideal for data consumption, but fall short when knowledge workers have significant content generation needs (e-mail for instance).”
In any case, Hoff said, possible high prices for Surface may hurt adoption. “Given the rumored pricing levels, the surface devices will only be successful in a fractional percentage of the use cases,” he said.
While Surface’s impact on the tablet market is unclear, Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westborough, Mass.-based cloud provider that sells Google Apps, said its launch should help Chromebooks sales.
“I think Surface will spur curiosity about the tablet market,” Falcon said. “I definitely think it will cause more people to think about Chromebooks.”
Kevin Lalor, CEO of Google partner and solutions provider Business Intelligence 101, of Livermore, Calif., said it’s too early to perceive how Surface will impact the market; however, he said, Chromebooks have not created a strong demand.
“It doesn’t seem like there is as much interest yet compared to the iPad,” he said.
But he thinks demand will grow, and he plans to enter the Chromebook pilot program in the near future.
“I know we will be able to sell them,” Lalor said.