November 26, 2012
Google Reported To Have Chromebooks In Production
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Adoption of Google's Chrome browser has gained traction. Yet the search giant also has a Chrome OS version, capable of running on lower powered notebooks, such as netbooks and other devices. Sources suggest Google has versions of the Chromebook in production at factories in Taiwan.
Compal, a Taiwan-based manufacturer, is reported to be handling the production, according to reports from China Times. The report states a small order of 20 million units has been ordered. This suggests the run is enough for Google to test the Chromebooks internally, or test the market.
The article suggests both Google and Microsoft are emulating the Apple model of owning the platform and "hardware-take-all mode" of offerings in the way Apple offers computers and laptops running its own OS, as well as the iPhone, iPad and other devices that run iOS. Microsoft recently released its own Surface tablet, though several other manufacturers offer tablets running the Microsoft Windows 8 platform. Google had some success releasing its own Android phone and the Nexus tablet. The Chromebook may be the next step for the Mountain View-based company.
The Chrome browser has gained in popularity. In October, Chrome held a 44.9 percent market share, according to browser statistics released by W3schools.com. The open sourced Chrome OS from Google has seen much slower adoption. There are currently Chromebooks available from Acer for $199 and Samsung for $249. The laptops are inexpensive because they rely on cloud-based storage and operations, rather than hardware to run software as with most Microsoft operating systems and programs. Instead of running Microsoft Office, which must be installed on a Windows system, Chromebooks access Google's cloud-based office suite.
The margin on Chromebooks is low, and TechCrunch reports Google will produce its own to keep a larger portion of the profits.
Google may use this opportunity to offer new features. The new Chromebook is rumored to have a touchscreen, which will compete directly with Windows 8, as well as tablets with touchscreen functionality. Reports from CNET and DigiTimes offer a few more details on the notebook. The Chromebook will likely come with a 12.85-inch screen. Not much more is known about the Chromebook from Google. The company has not confirmed that it has it in production.
The screen size and the addition of the touchscreen may add to the price, which is intended to be an inexpensive, highly-portable laptop.
The same benefits that make the Chromebook attractive, the inexpensive price tag and ultra-portability, also serve as detractors for the notebook. Users must rely on Google's cloud-based services to run programs and store files. Typically, Windows and Apple OS systems house software applications and have hard drives large enough to store files. The drawback of the Chromebook is users must be online to run most applications and access most files. While adoption has been slow, as more people use cloud-based storage and services, the Chromebook will become a more attractive option.