Archive for 'Rumors'
Four companies are expected to start selling Chrome OS notebooks in large quantities during the second half of 2011. The devices are expected to have between 10-12″ screen sizes, Intel Atom or NVIDIA Tegra 2 processors and one or more may have dual operating system support, according to the Taiwan-based Digitimes.
The companies include Samsung and Acer, which have already be identified by Google as initial hardware partners, as well as Asustek and Sony. The report also says that while both Dell and HP are testing Chrome OS internally, they have not yet made a decision whether or not they will produce them this year.
What’s promising to hear is that both Acer and Asus models are expected to have a retail price under $300. I wrote a few weeks ago that I thought this would be an ideal range to sell these devices, as many early adopters and regular users of Google services would be willing to give a Chrome OS laptop a try for that price. Digitimes also identifies the Sony device to specifically come with a Tegra 2 ARM processor and an 11.6″ screen.
It’s also entirely possible that one or more devices will be shown at Computex, being held May31-June 2 in Taipei, Taiwan. This is probably highly dependent on what Google announces regarding Chrome during the I/O conference in the first part of May.
I’d say that this is exciting news, but as always it’s best to take Digitimes’ reports with a grain of salt. They aren’t always right with their information, but that might not be because their sources are wrong, just that things can often change, especially since Google is working closely with its hardware partners to make a Chrome OS launch successful.
I came across the information from Sony Insider about the company’s plan to build a Chrome OS device yesterday and decided to pass on writing about it. However, sites like Engadget are covering it, so I have to at least write something.
I don’t find this development particularly inspiring. Sure, Sony might be working on a Chrome OS PC but the reality is that most major manufacturers that want to make money from products not part of the Windows ecosystem are doing the same thing right now. It’s what they do.
Anyways, here are the rumored specs for the device.
- 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display
- 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 16GB solid state disk
- 8 hour battery
While I like these specifications, I want to emphasize that this could all come to naught for a number of reasons. The Sony Insider report is sketchy at best, and it’s a sure bet that the initial Chrome OS devices will come with Intel processors, not ARM. Intel has a vested interest in being prominently involved with Chrome OS despite the fact that their processors are more expensive.
Sony is known in th PC market for selling devices that are usually in a higher price tier than other PCs, so a laptop with Chrome OS from them would be more expensive than most. With ARM it might be cheaper, but only in order to keep in line with Sony’s high margins.
Would you buy a Sony Chrome OS PC?
via Sony Insider
The hit-or-miss Digitimes, which follows the PC manufacturing market in Taiwan, is reporting that Asustek is making plans to develop a cheap netbook that could either come with Android 3.0 or perhaps Chrome OS. The expected price of this unit is estimated to be around the $200-$250 price range.
While the PC market is still strong, sales of netbooks are falling because of the availability of tablets. Asus’ intention is to capture a market for cheap computers that don’t have to pass the Windows licensing premium onto the consumer in terms of price. It’s a valid strategy: sell an Intel Atom-based netbook for a low enough price and you’ll get the interest of wireless carriers, who will help subsidize the cost even more with data plans.
The Asus 1015PED runs Windows 7 and costs $310.
I’m not going to dismiss this rumor, but I would not expect a netbook like this from Asus until at least the fourth quarter of 2011. Google has said that initial Chrome OS devices will be laptops, which are bigger in size than netbooks. Asus’ plan, supposedly, is to offer their cheap netbook with a 10″ screen size. The prototype Chrome OS laptop released by Google, known as the Cr-48, comes with a 12.1″ screen and a full keyboard.
Inconclusive. I hesitated even posting it, and I should probably move it into the blog’s Rumor category. Why did I run it? Because two sites (ConceivablyTech and Heise.de) were already claiming that Acer Germany had said that this was a Chrome OS product, leading me to believe that it would show up at CeBIT in Germany next week.
Of course, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler did the work of actually asking Google, and their response is that they’re focused on releasing Chrome OS laptops. But still Acer is neither confirming nor denying the fact that this form factor could indeed be available for Chrome OS. With the amount of information in the report, along with the fact that Acer already has a similar device on the market, I still don’t think it’s a stretch to say Acer has intentions on selling the DX241H.
Acer, which has long said that it hopes to be the first computer manufacturer to have a product with Chrome OS, is announcing their first device. Surprisingly, it is not a laptop, but a digital display. It’s called the DX241H, and it will run with an ARM processor instead of an Intel chip.
This 24″ 16:9 display unit runs an ARM Cortex A8 and can play back HD video. It has USB ports, a VGA jack and HDMI output. There’s no information available regarding RAM or local storage, although the number of GBs in a product like this is sure to be small. It uses Acer’s clear.fi technology to stream media from other PCs.
The DX241H is expected to cost around $400. But for that amount one would expect it to be something more akin to a television than a computer that you could use back and forth. It doesn’t appear that the device does that and is just a media device. It comes bundled with a remote, however.
I’m taken aback that this is the first commercial Chrome OS device. Google has long said that the first products would have keyboards, which this clearly does not. At the same time, I can see why Acer would want to release something like this because it’s different and could be useful for certain purposes. We’ll probably learn more about the DX241H during CeBIT, which takes place next week.
Would you buy the DX241H?
UPDATE: I’ve moved this to the rumor category. Read my follow up here.
There are a lot of people who want to get involved in the Chrome OS pilot program, and those who are simply unable to right now are those located outside of the United States. So when would folk from other countries be able to start testing a Chrome OS device? Google has been pretty vague about it, citing product certification requirements. The need to partner with local carriers depending on country also is something that would need to be done.
According to the Chromium site, it appears that at least GSM is being added into the software. Last week, support for GSM was added to the modemmgr plugin in Chromium OS. According to the comments, this was done to “introduce complete GSM functionality in stages“.
The modem inside the Cr-48s is a Qualcomm Gobi world modem that has a SIM card slot so it can be used with both CDMA and GSM network. But the fact that this is just now being tested in Chromium may suggest that there may be some time to go before any sort of international launch.
But Google likely still has tens of thousands of Cr-48s still in stock. Could some of them go international? It seems possible considering the slow down in overall shipments. That may suggest Google wants to test these in other parts of the world to get feedback since Chrome OS may find itself very popular in some places outside of the United States.
The New York Times is reporting that several hardware partners working on Google TV devices are being asked to delay any product unveiling that might have happened at CES. This is due to the fact that Google wants to be able to update the software that runs these devices. Google TV currently lacks an application marketplace and has received a lukewarm reaction since its launch.
It seems like the platform is starting to have trouble selling devices; the Sony Blu-Ray player with Google TV has been discounted heavily. But consumers have complained that it is hard to use, likely because it doesn’t replicate the traditional television watching experience.
Does this delay shows that Google has issues partnering with hardware manufacturers?
We have no idea where they got this image, since they didn’t really attribute a source, but here is a look at what is supposedly the Google Chrome OS netbook keyboard. You will notice that there are some things different with this keyboard than your typical setup, like a lack of the top “F” keys, which have been replaced with what appears to be more intuitive functions in this day in age such as regular system functions.
Google is taking some time to email Chrome extension developers about the fact the the Chrome Web Store will be launching very soon. As we’ve said many times before, Chrome OS and the Chrome Web Store very much go hand in hand with one another for a launch. Indeed, even All Things Digital, who will be holding a conference in San Francisco next week where an unveiling may happen, is announcing that the webapp store will be launched December 7.
Remember, this may all just be a preview for what’s to come. But surely Google has been working on this project quite hard all year. Hopefully we’ll see not just a glimpse but an actual product that will be available soon. That, of course, remains to be seen.
Could this be like the launch for the Nexus One where sales of a device started almost immediately? That would very much be ideal. With the holiday season approaching here in the US, getting devices into the mail prior to shipping deadline week would be optimal. It’s all dependant on how comfortable Google feels about their product.
What are you expecting for next week?
Sources are talking like a Google-branded Chrome OS netbook will be unveiled next week, possibly as early as December 7. All Things Digital’s Dive into Mobile conference will be in its second day on the 7, with Google VP of Mobile Platforms’ Andy Rubin slated to speak. There has not been an official release out announcing any type of event, but next week seems like an ideal time to get devices into people’s hands prior to the weeks after that when people are off for the holidays.
The launch of the Chrome OS platform is very dependent on Google having a number of other services available for users. After all, being a cloud operating system will require heavy usage of the web. So when reports started emerging of Google’s Cloud Picker service accidently being sent into the wild, I thought about how storage in Google Docs is not really going to suffice for media files and the like.
Despite my reservations for the name itself, Cloud Picker will find its place among yet-to-be released services like the Chrome Web Store, Chromoting and Cloud Print as an important facet for Chrome OS users. I’m excited to try it out.
Speculation continues that Google will indeed release its own branded Chrome hardware device just like they did with Android’s Nexus One earlier this year. While there surely is going to be some sort of announcement on the Chrome OS platform over the next few weeks, its unknown if that will involve putting this device on the market via the web.
It’s being said that Google wants to release a Chrome OS product to the early adopter community to help foster application development. That sounds like a smart move. Chrome OS will not be able to gain traction without the support of developers creating quality webapps.
As for hardware specs, Engadget is saying the device will run an Intel Atom Pine Trail processor, while Digitimes is saying that the Inventec-produced product will run ARM. At the Web 2.0 Summit, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said about the processor, “initially Intel chips then ARM chips”. So we’ll see.
Ready for the Chromebook, or Speedbook?