Report: Chrome-based smartbooks coming from Google, Acer, HP

DigiTimes is reporting Google plans to launch a smartbook running its Chrome operating system later this month. This information comes from the site’s sources deep within the bowels of the component industry, and they’re usually on the money. The Google smartbook is said to feature an ARM-based CPU, and it won’t be the only one to hit the market. Acer and HP are expected to have Chrome-powered smartbooks of their own in December, and Asus is reportedly evaluating the market.

Interestingly, DigiTimes suggests this new breed of smartbooks will succeed where others have failed because the iPad has changed consumers’ impression of non-Windows devices. I’m not so sure an overgrown iPod Touch should be credited with altering user perceptions of alternative operating systems, though. OS X had proven itself as a viable alternative to Windows long before the iPad emerged. The rising popularity of Android smartphones and the hype surrounding upcoming tablets could have consumers more interested in Google’s OS offerings, though.

The DigiTimes piece doesn’t mention how much the Google smartbook might cost, but it’ll have to be incredibly cheap to stand a chance against netbooks, whose prices have been pushed downward by budget ultraportable notebooks. One of the main attractions of a netbook is the ability to run standard Windows software—a capability Chrome-based smartbooks won’t be able to match. However, I am intrigued by the potential for smartbook/tablet hybrids. Some notebook makers are already offering convertible designs running Windows, and ARM-based hardware should consume considerably less power, facilitating slimmer devices with longer battery life.

Comments closed
    • stmok
    • 12 years ago

    l[

    • sweatshopking
    • 12 years ago

    CHARMANDER

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    Have you heard of a laptop based on an arm CPU?

    • Voldenuit
    • 12 years ago

    I’ll reserve judgement till the shipping product, but at the moment, I’m actually /[

    • blastdoor
    • 12 years ago

    l[< there isn't anything you can do on an ipad that you can't do in a browser.<]l Uh... what??

    • cheesyking
    • 12 years ago

    well the ipad has been quite successful and there isn’t anything you can do on an ipad that you can’t do in a browser.

    What would you want a standard OS on a tablet for? All the apps written for a standard desktop OS are written for a mouse and keyboard so they wouldn’t be usable.

    Anyway how much work do you think you can really do on a tablet? If you doing much more than banging out a few emails and browsing the net you’re going to need a bigger screen and a proper keyboard along with a faster machine and a full OS… like a PC, and if you are just banging out a few emails and browsing the net why do you want more than just a browser.

    Though I’ve got to agree that these things would have to be VERY cheap before I’d buy something that limited, but perhaps they will be.

    • blastdoor
    • 12 years ago

    have you heard of Android? WebOS? iOS? Linux?

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    Why buy an operating system that costs a lot of money, kills your battery, can’t run hardware that uses less power to begin with, and is just used to run a browser?

    Hell, let’s just put Windows 7 Ultimate and a Core 2 in every phone!

    • blastdoor
    • 12 years ago

    Chrome will fail. Why buy a computer with a browser when you could buy a computer with a browser and an operating system?

    • indeego
    • 12 years ago

    Crediting OSX doesn’t either. A large portion of people wouldn’t use OSX without bootcamp to get back into Windows anywayg{<.<}g

    • bthylafh
    • 12 years ago
    • jcw122
    • 12 years ago

    What the hell is a smartbook?

    • kmieciu
    • 12 years ago

    AT LAST ! Smartbook is on top of my xmas toys list and for now a lonely Toshiba AC100 with poor Android and not-yet-ready linux hack aspired for that place. Now I will have a choice, and as Chrome being modified Debian I think switching distro should be easier.

    • Dissonance
    • 12 years ago

    The point I was making was simply that consumers had already shown a willingness to depart the Windows ecosystem to OS X long before the iPad came along. Crediting the iPad for changing impressions about alternative operating systems doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    Windows probably did help netbooks take off, but the resulting lock-out in hardware and operating system options is also MS’ fault. No ARM support, no netbook-oriented Windows 7 – just the slap in the face that is Starter.

    Meanwhile, on the software side, you can suddenly do a lot of “PC” things directly inside of a browser – including MS Office. In that respect, MS caught on, but the damage is done.

    I doubt we have all these designations and confusion for long. The term “netbook” didn’t really take off with the general public and the concept itself is pretty much just as dead in the water. Bobcat is more of a nail in the coffin than a revival.

    “Smartbook” links them directly to smartphones, though, which even Joe Sixpack is very familiar with, and fits the way they’re built, as well. That has potential.

    It’s also just a bit coincidental, considering that MS and Intel took a great concept and then bastardized it into “dummiebooks.” I have to wonder if that was intentional on the part of whoever coined it. :p

    • Firestarter
    • 12 years ago

    You make a good point. To drive that point home, a graph with the global sales of netbooks with Linux and Windows that illustrates that using Windows has nothing to do with the concept of a netbook would be awesome. I for one do not believe that the average user really considered getting a netbook before they started appearing with XP, even though we’ve been eyeballing them from day one.

    • demani
    • 12 years ago

    Well, iOS is a branch of OSX. I’m not sure of the history on Windows, but I’d assume Windows Embedded is a subset of full-blown Windows. Similar APIs and such make it easier for developers- that was one of the draws for iOS devices once development was opened up.

    But yeah, I’m not sure the market needs another low-end OS that might do some things well: we’ve already got about 5 OSes in that space (by my count Android, iOS, RIM, WebOS and WP7). What can a smartbook do but be even cheaper at this point, and is anyone screaming for something cheaper than a netbook (since the components can’t really get much cheaper, it seems like we are talking barely any discount). Simply, what’s the market?

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    Remember when the first wild netbook appeared? For a good while, they all ran cut down Linux distros. There were none with Windows, at all. The entire point was to keep the prices down, battery life up, and mostly just do internets – hence the “net” in “netbook.”

    Then MS allowed XP for cheap. The prices went up. Now it’s 7 only. The prices went up again, and the battery life went down.

    Netbook reached level $300! What’s this? Netbook is evolving! netbook evolved into Horrible New Age Laptop!

    “Your favourite desktop applications anywhere,” is a laptop, silly goose. We’ve had those since the dawn of time. The trouble is that, despite all that capability, people mostly just use the internets on laptops, which even smartphones can do now.

    So now we have smartbooks, thanks to MS and Intel screwing up a once self-explanatory designation.

    Personally, I think it is necessary, as MS has totally failed to produce an operating system that targets how most people actually use computers. Someone needs to light a fire under their feet, or just sweep the rug out from under them.

    • Firestarter
    • 12 years ago

    What does OS X being a viable OS have to do with the iPhone, iPad and its associated iOS (note the prefix)? That, combined with using Chrome as an OS for something akin to a netbook confuses me on a most basic level. I mean, do we really need some kind of OS sandwiched between Android and a desktop OS, when we’re already confusing a smartphone OS with a desktop OS? And wasn’t the whole netbook spectable about being able to use your favourite desktop applications anywhere, without the added complexity and limitations of yet another OS?

    It had better run Plants vs. Zombies or something..

    • bthylafh
    • 12 years ago
    • ryko
    • 12 years ago

    what in the hell is a smartbook? is it just a netbook with chrome OS?

    • sweatshopking
    • 12 years ago

    cause they’re dumb. it makes sense. I can believe it.

    • dpaus
    • 12 years ago

    Why the hell would /[

    • WaltC
    • 12 years ago

    /[

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