Archive for 'Rumors'
Got yet another rumor concerning the possibility of an Asus Chromebook. It’s through Digitimes, though, so…take it with a grain of salt.
Turns out the Taiwan-based computer giant Asus has its eye on Nvidia’s newest ARM-based System On Chip; code-named Kal-el. This little piece of hardware packs a rather hefty punch, running a quad-core 1.5 GHz CPU, a 12-core GPU, 3D stereo and support for a display resolution of up to 1900×1200. Now, a lot of you are probably wondering just what that’s supposed to mean- and why I’m telling you all about it. After all, this blog is supposed to be about Google’s Chrome OS and browser, isn’t it? What does Asus have to do with Chrome?
At the moment, not much. But that could very well change. See, there’s quite a lot they could do with this new Tegra 3 system. First, we’re going to go over what we know they’ll do with it. Then, we’ll extrapolate.
Currently, Asus is prepping to release the Eee Pad Transformer 2, which will run a quad-core Tegra 3 along with Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich (still can’t get used to that name) Android OS. This pretty package is going to arrive in October, at the earliest. Again, you’re probably still trying to decipher what any of this has to do with Chrome, aside from the company that owns the OS. We’ll get to that.
See, in yet another blow to Acer’s pride (not that they haven’t taken enough already lately, given the rather abysmal train wreck that was the Acer Chromia’s not-launch), Asus is going to be taking over Acer’s position as Nvidia’s largest client for ARM-based CPUs. Asus is estimating that they’re going to be ordering somewhere around 2.5 million Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 CPUs in 2011. What’s more-and here, we get to the good stuff- word is that Asus is planning to launch a notebook that runs Nvidia Tegra 3, and-you guessed it- Google Chrome, by the end of 2011.
And now you see why I’m excited, right? Asus has a good reputation, and a generally good standing, to my knowledge. Looking at what they’ve got on the market right now (Eee Pad Transformer, anyone?) and at some of their history…Yeah, I think letting them design and manufacture a Chromebook is a rather excellent idea. It’s a pretty safe bet they’re not going to botch the attempt, in any case.
Anyway, as for how this theoretical Chromebook might look…Cristian of Techconnect estimates that the theoretical Asus Chromebook will have a display around twelve inches in size. I’m inclined to agree with him, and willing to extrapolate a bit further- it’s likely going to have specs that are very, very remniscient of the Chromia/Series 5. Maybe it’ll pack a bit more RAM, but other than that, it’ll likely be pretty much what you’d expect of a Chromebook- other than the shiny new Tegra 3 microarchitecture, anyway.
The best part about this news, if it turns out to be true? This Chromebook might actually launch on time.
The Chromebook hasn’t even come out yet, and people are speculating what other devices Chrome OS is going to show up on next. People are thinking phones. People are thinking tablets — even Google. Yeah, I’ve thought about it too: I for one would love to see some kind of device like the Motorola Atrix or Asus Transformer have Chrome running on it.
But let’s get back to the harsh reality: the majority of us still use the traditional PC or laptop — you know those things with a screen and actual keyboard — for the majority of our computing work. I know most of my time is still spent in front of your traditional Windows XP operated PC. And you know what? To paraphrase, Sundar Pichai, they aren’t going away. No matter how tablets you buy, no matter how many quadruple-core cellphones you own, you will have to use a PC.
Yet our experience with Windows has perhaps turned us off from them and sent us racing to focus our love for technology to other devices. Collectively speaking, we need a break.
Good thing that Google hasn’t forgotten, because it is this that Chromebooks seek to change the fundamental experience of the laptop. Microsoft has dominated that form factor for too long. Google co-founder Sergey Brin was on to something when he said that Microsoft was “really torturing users.” My theory why netbooks came and went was the fact that it being a convenient form factor aside, people still had to use Windows on them.
The rumor mill’s a turnin’. The subject of this particular rotation? A new phone developed by Google – a Chrome OS smartphone. Anton Wahlman, a reporter for The Street, provided an in-depth analysis of the reasons he believed that a Google Chrome Phone was likely to be in development- and just as likely to arrive in the first half of 2012. So what’s Mr. Wahlman saying about what he feels will be Google’s next product? Do his arguments hold water? Let’s take a closer look at the article that spurred this latest wave of rumors.
Wahlman gives the readers three primary reasons why he believes Google’s working on a Chrome OS phone- and if they’re not, why they should be. Now, while he does make some compelling arguments…he also does a little bit of ‘spinning.’
Point One: Security of the Cloudphone
The first-and probably weakest- of his arguments is security. The smartphone platform, he reasons, isn’t exactly the most secure in the world- particularly in the case of Android and Windows 7, both of which are “open ecosystems.” That pretty much means precisely what you’d think it would- applications are able to enter the ecosystem through a number of different paths- including questionable ones. That’s the problem with an open ecosystem, you see- it’s too easily influenced by elements outside itself. Wahlman also reasons that “the very nature of an operating system which allows applications to be installed is a security risk in and of itself, particularly if the device is not actively managed by a heavy-handed central police such as the famous Blackberry Enterprise Server.”
Ignoring the slight dig at Research in Motion, the Android platform isn’t exactly as ‘open’ as he seems to think it is. Google doesn’t really do ‘open source’ when it comes to this piece of software. In order to make the ecosystem truly open, you’d need to root it. And Google’s already made it pretty clear that it doesn’t like when people do that. Still, I suppose there are some security holes in the smartphone environment- the fact that smartphones don’t really have any way of staving off viruses- there’s not exactly a great deal of antivirus software for smartphones. Basically, by making a cloud-based phone, Google could effectively eliminate the fear of smartphone viruses while at the same time consolidating their software into a ‘secure’ system- one that cannot be rooted.
Still waiting for your free Chrome OS Pilot laptop? You might want to continue to hold out hope.
Although the Cr-48 shipment tracker has likely seen its last days, people are reporting that they are getting gifted by Google with Chrome OS laptops. This comes contrary to what Chrome VP Sundar Pichai tweeted some time ago that the Cr-48s would cease shipping.
Perhaps an effort to send out what might have been a hidden cache of Chrome OS Pilot notebooks is why people are still getting them. It would be nice if some of our international readers would be the beneficiaries of these notebooks, but I’ve yet to find a substantial report that this is the case.
Nevertheless, this suggests that major production of both the Acer and Samsung Chromebooks is ramping up, and that Google is preparing their supply chain to send out subscription-based notebooks to eager customers. What’s still unknown is what kind of numbers Google and its Chrome OS hardware partners are expecting for the initial wave of launch devices, but as always we’ll update you with the latest when that information becomes known.
Have you been the proud recipient of a Cr-48 recently?
Google has been steadfast in their position that Chrome OS won’t be on tablets anytime soon. That doesn’t mean that the company isn’t preparing for that scenario to happen in the future. It appears that two extension APIs are being developed to allow users to write characters in Chrome OS using touch or a mouse. Extension APIs allow developers to modify the experience and is the primary reason we are able to enjoy a customized experience in Chrome.
This development makes one wonder where Chrome OS is heading towards in the future. It seemed clear at Google I/O that Android and Chrome were indeed separate projects. Android is focused on tablets and smartphones while Chrome is geared towards the web. Over time, however, those two concepts are likely to merge closer to one another. Or will it be the other way around?
There are probably some convincing use cases for Chrome OS on tablets, and perhaps even for nonexistent devices that don’t even have specific use cases yet. Tablets on shelves today require touch capability, but they don’t need to have handwriting recognition. Is there another product segment that isn’t around today which Chrome OS might eventually fill? Technology does move very quickly. I used to think of the concept of the tablet computer as a joke. Now I wish I had seen that one coming.
Sure, we can sit here and say today that Chrome OS is only for laptops. But even while Google has been saying that for almost a year now they slyly showed the Samsung Chromebox last week, and has put that project back into hiding until it’s ready.
You might recall a few months back a rumor went around that Acer was going to sell a “surf station” display device with Chrome OS. That ended up being nothing more than talk, but that talk continues to make me think that the consumer electronics space has some serious potential to include Chrome OS on more than just PC-like products.
So the question is – what other purpose might there be out there lurking for Chrome OS?
A Google executive has leaked that Google will announce a student package that will allow users to get their hands on a Chrome OS notebook for a very reasonable $20 subscription per month. This will be announced during the Day 2 keynote at Google I/O, which is expected to focus on Chrome.
Chrome OS decidedly needs to enter into the market with a very particular price point that Google has closely studied. It’s clear that by this news the company seeks to fill a need with students who don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars for a computer yet with a cheaper offering that can offer almost everything that on a traditional PC – but all on the web.
There’s also potential in the market for small and medium-sized businesses to possibly adopt Chrome OS subscriptions as well. “Small and medium-sized businesses are banging on our doors to get something like this,” the executive told Forbes.
No details are available, however, on how Google is going to actually classify a student that is eligible to get the subscription pricing. We’ll be getting the full scoop on all of that during the presentation tomorrow, but it sounds like Google might be able to get a ton of Chromebooks into people’s hands very quickly with this method.
Do you think that this type of plan should be restricted to students, or be allowed for everyone who wants to try out Chrome OS?
The following is a video by VUPEN Security that shows the Chrome browser on Windows 7 SP1 being exploited by going to a web page and then loading an executable, in this case the calculator. This shows that any sort of malicious program could conceivably be run just by going to a web page if this is true.
What’s curious is why VUPEN will not disclose what this vulnerability is to Google. If you know an exploit, Google will be pay you a reward for this if it is submitted by a person. Does VUPEN have more to perhaps gain by keeping this exploit a secret and selling it to its government customers as it says it is going to?
Let us know in the comments.
Google has said that Chrome OS will be commercially launched “mid-year” 2011. That seems to be right around the corner, and now is a great time for the company to update where Chrome is going with Google I/O. Over the past few weeks we have been hearing some things that might be coming at the keynotes and here is a list of them.
It’s possible that Google will provide Chrome OS notebooks without an upfront payment in order to get the hardware into people’s hands. This may reduce the anxiety that may come with buying a new operating system. The concept of simplicity may lend well to this idea of only requiring monthly payments for people who already use one of Google’s services such as Gmail. It’s unknown how the wireless carriers would be involved with this one so stay tuned to see what the details might be regarding this.
A Samsung Device
After the I/O keynotes, Samsung will be holding its own press conference with folks from its PC division. That means we’ll probably be getting a first glimpse at their first Chrome OS device. Acer is said to also be launching with Chrome OS hardware, but we haven’t heard any details more details other than the ZGB codename reports in Chromium. What we do know is that the Samsung machine will have a1280X800 screen and an Intel Atom processor.
Samsung is inviting journalists to an event that is occurring next week on May 11 directly after Google’s I/O conference sessions, fueling speculation that Chrome OS hardware from the company will be unveiled next week. During a December Chrome and Chrome OS event, Google identified both Acer and Samsung as the initial Chrome OS hardware partners.
In the last few weeks we have seen two devices that have been appearing in Chromium’s bug reports: a “ZGB” device that has been linked to Acer and an “Alex” machine supposedly from Samsung. Both of the devices run on Intel’s Atom processors yet reportedly have form factors that are slightly larger than that of netbooks. It’s unknown whether the two devices will be targeted towards the consumer or business market, even though Chrome OS is expected to be available for sale in both of those spaces.
The Samsung event next week foretells some kind of hardware announcement, but it also may mean that the company is finally ready to get into the Google TV market. They’ve long been rumored to be working on Google TV products and now that the “2.0″ version is expected to be announced, this is also a distinct possibility.
What do you expect Samsung to announce around the Google I/O conference that is being held next week?
UPDATE: According to the website of journalist Joanna Stern, the invite from Samsung in San Francisco during Google I/O was sent via the company’s laptop division.
A shout out is in order to our friends at Chrome Story, who were able to dig up some detailed information about a possible tablet being tested in the Chromium bug reports. But judging by this information, the device codenamed “Seaboard” seems to sport interesting specs. It is indeed tantalizing to see that there is a tablet being tested with Chrome OS.
NVIDIA Tegra 2
Atmel MXT Touch Screen
2MB of SPI storage (??)
1 GB DRAM
Two USB Ports
You can see all of the reports on Seaboard located here. It doesn’t look like this is a new device by any means, since I see some reports filed back as early as January. Also, it appears in some of these that testing is being done using a traditional keyboard plugged in to the device, which makes me suspect that the touch UI for Chrome OS is not complete.
Yet a Chrome OS touch device is an interesting proposition. It may be something that could fare better with users as opposed to a laptop with a keyboard because that sort of device comes with a set of expectations already that is going to come unfulfilled. This can already be seen.
Take a look at the bug reports yourself? Do you think that Seaboard has potential?
via ChromeStory, TechCrunch
Rumors are circulating that Google is making plans to sell Chrome OS devices using a pay-by-the month plan at a range of $10-20 per month as a subscription service. The plan will then provide users with hardware refreshes over a set lifecycle for each device. It’s unknown if this will be bundled with some sort of software service as well such as the long-awaited Google Music.
The company still plans on selling Chrome OS hardware using the traditional model of paying upfront, but the idea of potential customers being able to get their own Chrome OS hardware for cheap upfront is a great strategy for attracting users. Many have speculated that pricing will be the most important factor for Chrome OS adoption. Pairing Chrome OS with a paid service and perhaps offering vouchers for some paid Chrome Web Store applications would also be an ideal solution since the platform is entirely web-based and will rely on web applications.
There are both positives and negatives to this approach. With customers paying for a subscription that could possibly come with wireless service included, Google would be able to easily ramp up in terms of Chrome OS users and would be able to obtain a ton of data about how to improve the operating system. On the flip side, they will have to incur initial hardware expenses and coordinate billing and contracts that would be associated with a model like this.
Chrome OS is still slated to be released mid-year according to Google. That means we could see commercial devices coming in June or perhaps July, with a release date likely set during the Google I/O keynotes in May. Manufactures have been said to be planning to ship over one million devices this year.
How do you feel about subscription-based Chrome OS hardware?
I heard a few rumblings over the weekend from some gaming sites of the possibility that the browser on the PS3 might get replaced with Chrome. One site even reportedly contact Google PR and got this respose; “we have nothing to announce at this time”. That’s not really much of a denial.
Putting Chrome on the PS3 actually makes a lot of sense. While Sony has a browser on their console already, it could use some work. Here’s a video overview of the browser I found among a lot of “Sony should really fix their browser” videos on YouTube.
Google has experience putting a browser on televisions, since they have been using a version of Chrome on Google TV since that product was first introduced to the public last year. Judging by the above clip, it seems that the browser on the PS3 is a functional afterthought to the system. It just seems difficult to use, but it was something that had to be included. That’s nothing against Sony, but their expertise isn’t really in web technologies.
Plus, for Sony to get Google’s browser and the technical capabilities that come with it would surely be a bonus against their main rival console, which is Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
The PS3 is a perfect example where Google can provide a WebKit HTML5-compliant browser. Think of other gadgets out there that have browsers which could use some sprucing up. Do you have a device that you wish would come with Chrome?