2013: A Linux Christmas

2013: A Linux Christmas

Summary: Amazon's preliminary Christmas sales information is in and Linux-powered gear was a holiday-season winner.


Sales information for the 2013 holidays shows another successful season for Amazon. That's no surprise. What may surprise some is how often Linux-powered electronics appeared at the top of Amazon buyers' list.

Amazon Logo

Of course, Amazon's top tablet sellers were its own house-brand, the Android Linux-powered Kindle Fire HD; the Kindle Fire HDX 7"; and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9". Amazon states that “Cyber Monday holiday shopping weekend was the best ever for Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers.”

A closer look at Amazon tablet sales shows Android powered all of the top ten selling tablets. Other than Amazon's own tablets, the top ten sellers were low-end, sub-$100 7” tablets from Chromo and Tablet Express/Dragon Touch, along with Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3.

Apple? Microsoft? They came in at 11 and 12, respectively, with Apple's low-end 16GB iPad mini and Microsoft's 32GB Surface RT.

For laptops, Chromebooks were big winners. That's also no shocker. Even before the holiday buying season really kicked in, the NPD Group found that Chromebooks "accounted for 21 percent of all [preconfigured] notebook sales, up from negligible share in the prior year, and 8 percent of all computer and tablet sales through November. It's up from one tenth of a percent in 2012."

The Samsung Chromebook; ASUS Transformer Book T100; and Acer Chromebook led the Amazon buyers' list. The Chromebooks are low-end, affordable systems. The ranking of the Windows 8.1-powered Transformer Book is interesting because as far as I can tell, it's the first bestselling “laptop” that is a hybrid laptop/tablet.

Overall, Amazon's top 10 laptop list included four Chromebooks and six Windows systems. Apple? You have to drop all the way to number 15 to find a MacBook.

Then there are the TVs. TVs you ask? Yes. Smart TVs often are powered by Linux.

On Amazon's top-selling TV list we find the Samsung 32” Smart LED HTD, Samsung 40” LED HDTV; 22”, and Samsung Slim LED HDTV. The first two of these are Linux-powered Smart TVs. In fact, almost all Samsung Smart TVs have Linux in their circuits.

Looking more broadly at Amazon's best selling electronics gear we see a lot of Linux. The number-one-selling electronic device is the Google Chromecast, which runs a mix of Android and Chrome OS. It's followed by the Roku 3 streaming media player. This, like the rest of the Roku line, has Linux under the hood.

Without a doubt 2013 is Linux's most successful showing yet in a holiday sales season. Next year, as Linux moves more deeply into low-end laptops, tablets, and consumer electronics, it should do even better.

Related Stories

Topics: Hardware, Amazon, Linux, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • The year of Linux

    • The year of Linux already came and went

      back in 2009. However this year is noteworthy in that what one would define a "PC" is finally catching on in popularity.
      Michael Kelly
    • If android and chrome OS are linux

      Then how come none of my linux desktop applications like Gimp a Libre Office run on Android or Chrome OS?

      The linux desktop a la Stallman never came to be and saying Android is Linux is disingenuous. Heck, the way Android is progressing, it soon won't even be "open" as Google is doing its best to lock down the best parts.
      • Did you bother to look before writing?

        @otaddy "If android and chrome OS are linux then how come none of my linux desktop applications like Gimp a Libre Office run on Android or Chrome OS?"

        You should be very VERY embarrassed.

        I checked the Chrome Web Store, and both the Gimp and Libre Office are *right there*. Took me one quick, trivial, virtually instantaneous search to find them. You didn't bother to even check, did you?

        I installed the Gimp on my Acer C720P (which took about a second, as always), launched it (which took about 15 seconds), and created a custom logo using the Chrome script just for grins (which took about a second).

        Works great.

        I'm usually very nice, but you just deserve this: Liar, liar, pants on fire.
        • It's hard for some people to admit the victory of Linux

          because after all, just like 2012 this year has been enormous triumph of Linux and open source software.

          Here's the market share of new devices:

          1. Android Linux 61%
          2. Apple's systems 16%
          3. Windows 15%
          4. Others, including ChromeOS 8%

          And let's not forget that Linux dominates supercomputers (95%), servers (85%), cloud computing, stock market platforms, NASA tech and cities like Munich and countries like Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Uruguay are fastly adopting Linux and FLOSS.

          I checked the latest results in my home country and found that nearly 10% of elementary school children are using just one Linux-based system called Opinsys (Ubuntu). And there were other Linux-systems in our schools and universities.

          There is no doubt that Linux/FLOSS is winning because it's cheap, free, fast, flexible, secure and easily customized by folks.
          Napoleon XIV
          • Three letters - FUN

            It's just one heck of a lot of fun, isn't it?

            My son bought me a Raspberry Pi for Christmas. Can't wait to bring up Linux on this little jewel, and start hacking some interesting hardware for it to control (though I mostly deal with computer systems now, my original degree from 1984 was in digital hardware).

            Windows can't even BEGIN to run on such a cool device. Poor Windows - fun Linux! :-D
          • Bull

            Windows CE is already running on Pi: https://ceonpi.codeplex.com/documentation, and improvements are being made as we type ;)

            The current Pi Model-B rev2 has 512MB RAM, so COULD run Windows Phone8 kernel and OS if Microsoft was to spend a little time. They're probably a little busy right now though
          • Thanks for the info!

            Sorry this post is so long. I found this fascinating. Did I get all of this right?

            "Windows CE is already running on Pi"

            I greatly appreciate the link - thanks!

            I read up a little. According to Wikipedia, "Windows CE 5.0 is the most open Microsoft Operating System to date, though not all of the system is available under shared source agreements" and "Windows CE licensing starts at $3 ... per device for the Core SKU" with a "proprietary license".

            It sounds doable, but not as much fun. :-/

            Onward. From your link, "download the Windows Embedded Compact 7 evaluation... provide some basic information... download Platform Builder 7 and get a registration key... Platform Builder 7 installs into Visual Studio 2008... download an evaluation copy... no keyboards and mice yet... because writing the Windows Compact USB Host controller driver is a total PITA and I’ve not yet completed this task. Sorry, I’m working on it…"

            So help me here - it sounds like for the long term I would have to buy a copy of Windows and Visual Studio once my evaluation license keys expired, and add a WinCE device license to be legal. Checking the Microsoft website, that's $120 + $499 + $3 = $622. For a $35 computer? And then no keyboard or mouse? Ouch.

            Not much fun. :-(

            Am I missing something?

            My primary workstation includes a quad-core AMD processor with 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB disk, running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. So it could probably run Windows in a VM, but I wouldn't want to install it natively since that would require wiping the disk (since Windows installer isn't compatible with a standard ext4 / grub2 bootloader AFAIK).

            "COULD run Windows Phone8 kernel and OS if Microsoft was to spend a little time"

            Well, there's your problem. You're depending on a commercial company to deliver a proprietary product that won't make them much if any money. Meanwhile, literally *anyone* can put Linux on the Pi, and a bazillion people have - with a full range of peripherals, too. And with full source code. Using a free and open source tool chain that runs on pretty much any OS. I suspect THAT's why I consider Linux is so much fun!

            IOW, the excellent technology in Linux is only part of why people use it for everything under the sun. The open license is the key IMHO.

            But again, I appreciate the link and info, and would appreciate any gentle correction if I've missed something. Woot - I learned something new today!
          • Try Visual Studio Express

            Visual Studio Express is free and doesn't expire so that eliminates one big licence fee. It's great for playing around at home but can't be used to create commercial applications.
          • I enjoyed the part....

            “A safer way to create the bootable image is to follow the directions on the Raspberry Pi website to create one of the many Linux images for the Pi. I suggest you try to boot that version of Linux on your system to confirm that the SD card is formatted correctly.”

            “Once you have a bootable SD card, simply copy the kernel.img file from the release directory to the SD card. This replaces the Linux image with the Windows Embedded Compact boot image. Leave the other files intact.”


            Happy New Year.....
          • Why?

            But all that does is give me a stock Win CE with no keyboard or mouse. I'm missing the point of that. Pi is about creating new things! So... still doesn't sound like fun to me.
          • With Windows USS Zumwalt would become U-Boat soon

            "The Navy’s newest warship is powered by Linux
            The USS Zumwalt will be a floating data center—armed with missiles and robot guns. "

            Napoleon XIV
          • right

            so using Microsoft products now changes the laws of physics too !!!!
    • Gees I think he forgot about Routers and such

      Think of all the specialized appliances that use some derivation of a Linux kernel. somebody needs to revise the official count until Linux is revealed as the true dominate OS it really isn't.
      • Point.......

        You have a point some where in all that or might you be trolling?

        Tell the truth...
  • Alright Linux Heads

    I have a question for you. I have an old Windows machine (6-7 years) that I'd like to install Linux on and use as a station for the kids.

    I have no idea where to begin... what installation to choose.. etc.

    As my daughter hacked her Chromebook and installed Linux on it. I have no idea on what's the benefit to running Linux on her Chromebooks
    • The answer is obvious

      Ask your daughter.

      Not only does your daughter know you far better than us, she's also obviously quite tech-savvy - and loading the Linux product she recommends onto your ancient hardware is certainly no more difficult than adding (say) Crouton Linux on her already Linux-powered Chromebook. And be sure to thank her; a Starbucks or Frys gift card might be nice.

      And have a happy new year with your newly-imaged Linux machine!
      • perhaps the daughter

        can also help choose a nice retirement home too.
        • LMAOOOOO

          Well she loaded it and said "now what"? Most of what I know about Linux I know from these forums and Loverock Davidson (lmao). I've done my Google research.. but I'd just rather hear from people who actually use Linux as to what distributions they recommend and why?

          To me, choosing one over another is the hardest part.
          • Mint

            Go with Linux Mint 16. Mint requires nearly zero maintenance. Use Cinnamon edition, if you machine has ok specs, or lightweight Xfce edition otherwise.