Brace yourselves: $149 Chromebooks are coming

Now that multiple Windows-powered neo-netbooks are selling for $199, Chromebooks have sort of lost their pricing advantage. Google and its partners may be about to venture into new waters with even more affordable systems, though.

According to DigiTimes Research, a pair of upcoming Chromebooks from Asus and Lenovo are "expected" to retail for just $149. The systems are due out in the "first half of 2015 at the latest," and they'll apparently both feature processors from Chinese firm Rockchip.

DigiTimes reckons the Lenovo offering will be an 11.6" machine powered by Rockchip's RK3188 system-on-a-chip, which packs four ARM Cortex-A9 cores and Mali-400 MP4 graphics. The Asus system will also have an 11.6" display, the site predicts, but there's no word on its internal specs.

If Rockchip's name sounds familiar, that may be because you saw the headlines about the company's partnership with Intel earlier this year. The two companies are working together to produce an x86 SoC aimed at low-cost tablets. That SoC, oddly enough, is also expected in the first half of 2015. Hmm.

Comments closed
    • sweatshopking
    • 5 years ago

    The microsoft store has had the new eeepc on for 179$ CAD. Given the choice between the two systems, I’d go with the eeepc. I can’t imagine a world where i’d pick an arm driven online only pc vs a full windows computer with 12 hours of battery.

    • Hattig
    • 5 years ago

    The article says 3288, not 3188. The 3188 was used on an existing 10″ design, the 11.6″ designs will use the 3288.

    And the 3288 is a lot better. A 2GHz 4x ARM Cortex A17 design with Mali T764 graphics. [url<]http://www.rk3288.com/[/url<]

      • MadManOriginal
      • 5 years ago

      Now that is a significant piece of information. Still ARM though, but I guess if cheap x86 Chromebooks are $50 more, it fills a place in the market.

    • sschaem
    • 5 years ago

    Google does give manufacturers a cut of the “walled garden” profits.
    It might not be huge, but its something that can offset the price to the point that they might be ‘allowed’ to sell something below cost.
    The Chinese government might also provide many form of subsides for a business to “succeed” in the global market place.

    Microsoft at this stage doesn’t have much to offer to OEM building x86 windows machines.
    So, much of the price cut has to come from special pricing from Intel, because of their special interest in gaining market share at all cost.

    This make us look at the bigger picture.
    How Apple and Google took advantage of Microsoft. And turning Microsoft offering its users a free software market, against all of us.
    Since Microsoft doesn’t force developer to give them 30% of their revenue to make windows software, Microsoft cant use consumer money to pay manufacturer to lower device prices.

    Buy a windows laptop to run photoshop. Microsoft doesn’t see a dime from your application purchase. Now by a chromebook and buy any Adobe product, 30% goes to Google and it is redistributed to the manufacturer.

    The only way Microsoft can fight all this is to move to the same model.
    “Free OS” with a build in app store that people must use to get all their software.(Window RT model for all versions)
    Might not work for professionals, since they can ultimately move to Linux…
    But I have little hope for consumers, unless some force is strong enough to take on both Apple and Google (and Microsoft) , and have them open up their app purchase system.
    So someone can buy an app from a developer directly, and have the product work on any and all the platform that the app is allowed to run on.
    (This is already supported for some enterprise model)

    In short Steam for mobile, but is an Open purchase model, controlled by the software industry as a whole, not a single private entity.

    • tfp
    • 5 years ago

    I don’t need to spend 150 dollars to be disappointed in a laptop; I have an 8 year old laptop I can boot up if I want.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      Heck you were disappointed with it 8 years ago.

        • tfp
        • 5 years ago

        Can’t argue with that.

    • NeelyCam
    • 5 years ago

    Acer C720 w/ (Haswell) Celeron seems like a much better deal.

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      I got our Office Manager a haswell chromebook so that she could have a simple way to communicate with us when she’s not in the office. She loves the thing and the administrative overhead for that chromebook compared to a full-blown Windows PC is trivial.

    • gmskking
    • 5 years ago

    People still buy Chromebooks???

      • windwalker
      • 5 years ago

      Not sure how many people buy them but it seems they are pretty popular with institutions.

        • Neutronbeam
        • 5 years ago

        I would agree:

        “What’s the best-selling device in K-12 markets this year? Google Chromebooks”
        [url<]https://gigaom.com/2014/11/10/whats-the-best-selling-device-in-k-12-markets-this-year-google-says-chromebooks/[/url<] FWIW, you can get refurbed Chromebooks with better specs than the new Rockchips for less than $140.

    • DarkMikaru
    • 5 years ago

    Hmm, as much as I’d like to jump on this Cloud Book bandwagon I just can’t find the attractiveness in it. Everything we do is in the cloud, I get that. But I think I just want more versatility in my next laptop purchase.

    Still, will be interesting to see how they perform once launched.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 5 years ago

    Meh…this won’t be better than Samsung’s ARM Chromebook from 2 years ago. I guess some markets could use the cheapest possible screen+keyboard in a clamshell though.

    I could swear the 3188 has been out for a long time.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      Won’t be *as good as* the Samsung ARM chromebook (which I have for testing purposes at work), and it’s actually kind of slow on heavy websites.

        • NeelyCam
        • 5 years ago

        I’ve noticed that pretty much every ARM-based device I have struggles with websites, while even the lowly Clovertrail+ runs them well. Is this because the Web is generally x86 friendly…?

        I’m on the verge of upgrading my phone, and I’m hesitating going with yet another Snapdragon if browsing is going to suck

          • derFunkenstein
          • 5 years ago

          I don’t do a lot of full desktop site browsing from my phone. The particular test case is a school management software and we build a lot of dynamic grids with multiple levels. Stuff that Chrome/Firefox, even IE11 doesn’t have a problem with, even using Core 2-era notebooks running WIn7. But this Samsung Chromebook will sometimes give me the dead-face icon saying it’s taking a long time to run. Using a stopwatch to time the difference it’s upwards 3x as long to do certain large operations on the Chromebook

          • tfp
          • 5 years ago

          Intel did accelerate the internet with the Pentium 4; it hasn’t slowed down since.

          • mesyn191
          • 5 years ago

          Its less that the web is x86 friendly and more that current cheap/low power CPU’s are just that slow. Something had to give to reach those low power usage and price numbers and it was performance.

    • tipoo
    • 5 years ago

    Microsoft wasn’t charging the manufacturers for windows licencing for those 200 dollar netbooks, right? So you kinda have to wonder how much there was left to trim for that extra 50 dollars off in this race to the bottom, since they’re not just removing OS licencing costs since ChromeOS was already free.

    Four Cortex A9s? Weird, why not A7s?

      • Eversor
      • 5 years ago

      Two things: I think the RK3188 was one of the lowest power SoCs from Rockchip, despite being Cortex A9, it was power optimized and had lower clocks than typical A9s to help with that. Cortex A9 is also considerably faster than the A7, so even the lower clocks would be better than higher clocked A7s. One has to wonder if low clocked A9s are still enough though for Chrome OS, given that I have a dual A15 HP 11 and it is not very adept at multitasking. From that point of view, one can also imagine that ~2GHz A7s would be way too slow for Chrome OS.

        • tipoo
        • 5 years ago

        I guess so, though A7 at the same clock speed is never too far behind the A9, and for a smaller die size and power draw. The A9 could clock a bit lower to get the same performance, but I’m not sure that would nullify the other power draw benefits of the A7, ie shorter pipeline that needs less aggressive branch prediction, etc.

        [url<]https://usd99allwinner.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/image29.png[/url<]

      • brucethemoose
      • 5 years ago

      9 is a bigger number.

      You laugh, but marketing/specs are HUGE deal in China. Octocore SOCs, for example, are far less effective than similar dual/quad setups, yet consumers eat them up because they bench well, and because 8 is a luckier number than 4.

      • moog
      • 5 years ago

      Fair to say, you get what you pay for.

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