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Samsung Chromebook out-selling Android tablets on Amazon.com

Google's "other" operating system off to a fast start

When Google pitched new Android tablets and Chrome OS laptops at its annual Google I/O conference, some attendees predicted Android would gain the lion's share of adoption with Chrome OS being relegated to the dustbin

But Chromebooks have some life. On Amazon.com, the Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook is the best-selling product in computers and accessories, ahead of the brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab, which was released just a week before the Chromebooks.  

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Granted, the Galaxy Tab is in the top four twice, once for the 16GB version and once for the 32GB version. There are multiple Chromebooks from both Samsung and Acer, but only two of them are in Amazon's top 25.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is third behind the Galaxy Tab, and the top 10 includes a Windows laptop, a couple of monitors, the Android-based Motorola Xoom, and a 16GB iPad 2.

In the laptop-only division, Amazon's best seller is the Samsung Chromebook, with the top five including two MacBooks and two Windows 7 computers. The sixth best-selling laptop is another version of the Samsung Chromebook, identical to the best-seller except it comes in silver rather than white. 

While we don't know exact sales figures, the best-selling Chromebook was initially shipping right away, but demand quickly outstripped supply and there is now a 2-to-4 week wait. Even Google I/O attendees who are being given free Chromebooks by Google have to wait in the same line if they didn't use their Amazon.com order vouchers quickly enough.

The long-term impact of Chromebooks won't be known for a while. Even with hot sales, they won't displace Windows computers, and even though the Samsung Chromebook is ranked first on Amazon that doesn't mean Chromebooks are selling better than Android tablets. Since several Android tablets are in the top 10 and top 20, the combined sales may outstrip those of Chromebooks. That's not even including Android phones, which are far more popular than Android tablets. 

And while Apple's MacBook Pro and iPad appear on Amazon's best-seller list, Apple is unique in having its own mammoth distribution chain and set of retail stores. Amazon sales of Apple devices are just one piece of the picture. Certainly, Android tablets aren't coming close to the success of the iPad, and the Chromebook is unlikely to become more popular than Mac OS X. 

Google has said its pleased with Chromebook sales, but until we get some real numbers, we don't know for sure how successful it will become.

UPDATE: A Google spokeswoman responded to my inquiry via email, saying: "Unfortunately, we're not able to provide any specific sales figures, but what I can say is that 'our partners have only just launched their Chromebook devices into the market so it's still early days, but we are very humbled to see it listed as a bestseller. We're excited by the positive responses we've received from consumers, businesses and schools so far.'"

Google did not address the question of whether Android tablet sales are disappointing so far.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter.

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