Tag Archives: CeBIT
The iPad is ushering in a new era of computing device: the tablet. What’s really exciting is that this has all just begun, and we should expect to see a wide array of new tablets coming to market during the rest of this year. So here are the tablets that are expected to be launched with Chrome OS (along with an app store, we hope) as either the only platform or as an option. Without further ado, some of the contenders that will take on Apple tablet-style.
Specs: 7-inch display, 1GHz Cortex ARM processor, WiFi, Optional 3G
Freescale Semiconductor showed off a tablet running Chrome OS at CeBIT that they said would cost only $200. Although the prototype that they displayed needed a keyboard in order to provide input, they were the first to actually show off a tablet. It’s possible they could bring something like this at a very good price to market, but the concern would be that the components at that price would not be cutting edge and therefore could have problems competing in the market.
But at the same time it’s a cheap tablet, right?
Notion Ink Adam
Specs: 10.1-inch PixelQi display with multitouch, nVidia Tegra 2 graphics and dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 16GB solid-state drive, Wi-Fi, 3G
Designed in India, the unknown Notion Ink Adam could be a hit, although many also thought that the Fusion Garage JooJoo tablet would be, so we shall see. Nevertheless, this device looks stunning, and with the innovative PixelQi display which can turn off the backlight this could be a great e-reader and web enabled device all in one. It’s expected to have options in terms of storage and connection options, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this tablet is priced close to the iPad. It also has features that Apple’s tablet doesn’t such as a 3.2 megapixel camera and an HDMI output port.
Specs: Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor, possibly dual-touchscreen?
HTC privately showed an Android tablet at CES a few months ago, and speculation is mounting that they will be working together with the folks at Mountain View to produce tablet which may or may not be branded as a Google tablet. Seeing as how Google and HTC have a cozy relationship with Android (Nexus One and G4 smartphones) the first Chrome OS tablet could very likely come from HTC.
The photo shown here is a prototype dual touchscreen concept that the folks at Phandroid have posted. We don’t have any other pictures, so this is the best one to ponder upon.
Specs: Unknown, likely similar to the Eee T91 (pictured here)
Asus is primarily a netbook manufacturer, but CEO Johnny Shih has been adamant about making a tablet. The company already has a hybrid netbook-tablet device called the Eee PC T91, which pairs a keyboard with a display that can be rotated and folded over to transform it into a slate. It has the same specs as your average netbook, running an Intel AtomZ520 with 1GB RAM standard, but interestingly packs a 32GB solid state drive which is a requirement by Google for Chrome OS devices to ensure speed and user interface quality.
I’ve left out a few manufacturers that I need to give mention. Acer has claimed that they will have the first Chrome OS netbook but that is not a tablet and there hasn’t been any good information even if they are working on one. We know that the Dell Linux team has been openly working on Chrome OS (April 7 build here), and it would fit on their Mini 5 line of tablets (also known as Streak) coming out but that is pure speculation.
If there are any manufacturers that I have forgotten, please let me know. In the end, we’ll see some more developments relatively soon. Computex is coming up which will be closing in on the third quarter, a period of time when Chrome OS devices are expected to surface.
Computerworld is reporting that Computex, held the first week of June in Taipei, will have over fifty different devices on display that run on the ARM architecture. ARM is a company based in Cambridge, U.K. that develops and licenses their processor technology to a wide array of manufacturers. You can find ARM chips in your smartphone, and the soon to be released iPad tablet that has been of keen interest in the tech world has an ARM chip in it customized by Apple.
This wouldn’t be news for a mobile phone expo. But Computex is the second largest computer manufacturer conference. Because the chips require less power and produce a lower amount of heat than x86 processors, this technology will become prevalent in the netbook, tablet and smartbook market over the next few years. Many of these gadgets will be offered by wireless companies offering data services bundled together in the second half of this year.
Of particular interest of course is the fact that Chrome OS machines will most likely run on ARM chips. There already has been a successful prototype shown at the CeBIT conference not too long ago, and I would expect to see a good amount of machines running Chrome OS specifically when Computex rolls around. Right now many of these tablets and smaller computers are being shown running Android, however I am not quite convinced that operating system is the best choice for theses machine but instead simply a placeholder as Chrome OS is put through its paces.
MacWorld is reporting that the Parallels software, which allows Apple users to have Windows or Linux run in a virtualized environment, will support Chrome OS. At CeBIT this week in Germany they have been even showing off a machine that is running their latest version, Parallels 5 with Chrome OS. I haven’t been able to find a video but when I do I will post it here.
This is news but at the same time it isn’t. That’s because its already a known commodity that Parallels works with Chrome OS on a Mac, as instructions but the website Cult of Mac showed in mid-January how to run Chrome OS successfully in Parallels. But with that being said, since this is something that the company can show off at CeBIT, making it known that they officially stand behind supporting Chrome OS, there is a bit of significance here.
Still, one must keep in mind that the portable computer products with which Google is planning to put Chrome OS on doesn’t directly compete with Apple. That’s because devices like the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone do not support Parallels other than the less-powerful Parallels Mobile Remote free application from the App Store. So unless Apple is planning on putting out a netbook or smartbook with Mac OS X on it, this seems like more of a tool for those application developers who use Mac hardware with OS X rather than the typical user.
It hasn’t been surprising that there aren’t too many Chrome OS products on display at Germany’s CeBIT conference, which is the largest computer manufacturer meet in the world. While I had heard rumors of Chrome OS ARM devices popping up there, nothing of interest has shown up yet. The best bet is that the largely Taiwanese manufactures of netbooks such as Acer, Asus and MSI are planning to reveal some interesting things on their home turf at Taipei’s Computex, set for the first week of June.
So while we sit through this lull before the exciting developments come to fruition, there are some really cheap gadgets that are coming out of CeBIT. And both of these prototypes could possibly be loaded with Chrome OS. It’s hard to tell because the Chromium projects site doesn’t offer me too much information on minimum requirements.
The first is a tablet, set at a price point of $100. It’s the 7″ Hivision Speedpad and it comes with a ARM 11 chip by Samsung, 2GB of storage and 256 MB of RAM. Did I mention it’s loaded with Android? Based on these specs, it may be difficult to run Chrome OS on this machine, but with ever falling component prices it may not be a far flung reality:
And then there’s the $85 netbook, or perhaps best described as “mini-netbook”. Made be Coby, its dubbed the NBPC722. It has a Marvell ARM, has a 7″ display and is running Windows CE. I couldn’t get any info as of yet on storage or memory, but I’m betting because it’s running Windows CE, these specs are pretty dimunitive:
Conclusion? Expect to see more devices like this coming in the next few months. While these two are running operating systems befit for a mobile phone or the distant past, I see them simply as placeholders for a time that will soon come where we see a browser-based OS being the standard for these devices. This is because that is the core function these products will provide for users.
What would you do with one of these?