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Google-branded touch-enabled Chromebook coming Q1 2013

by Mark Tyson on 27 November 2012, 11:30

Tags: Chrome OS, Acer (TPE:2353), Samsung (005935.KS)

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Google continues to push its Chrome OS; Chromebook making partners Samsung and Acer have both recently released new machines. Now, from the Far East, it emerges that Google is planning an own branded Chromebook to join the line-up. The USP of the new machine, which will be manufactured by Taiwan’s Compal Electronics, is that it sports a touch panel display, manufactured by Wintek.

The new Google branded Chromebook will sport a 12.85-inch touch screen says the China Commercial Times. Though some websites report Google are asking for an optimistic 20 million units to be produced, the China Commercial Times Report actually says a “provisional 200,000 units” will be produced. The erroneous 20 million figure comes from a Google Translate mistranslation. Obviously the magnitude of Google’s order puts quite a different slant on the story.

The new Google branded Chromebook is expected to be made available for purchase by Q1 2013. Industry watchers think that Google is attempting to boost the popularity of its Chromebooks in the same way it did its tablets. Its own brand hardware will be better optimised than partner hardware for using its software. Microsoft is also making similar movements with the Surface tablet and may even attempt a Surface phone several rumours have said.

Poor Acer, with its nose out of joint after the Microsoft Surface announcement, produced the newest Chromebook as a Google hardware partner. The Acer C7 was only launched a couple of weeks ago and even then it didn’t look so good against its Samsung competitor, mainly due to having half the battery life while being significantly heftier. If previous Google hardware is anything to go by the Google branded Chromebook will be keenly priced and a 12-inch touch-panel isn’t very much more expensive than a regular panel.

I’ve never tried Chrome OS so do not know what touch screen capability will bring to the product in terms of it being more usable or “fun”. However in the current market anything with a touch-screen seems more sellable. Q1 2013 isn’t so far away so we will be seeing more soon of the Google branded touch-screen Chromebook shortly, I hope.

HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

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Hope this comes with a high DPI display and Samsung's 28nm quad-core Exynos 5450.
Have to say (since I'm currently trialling the open-source Chromium OS on a VM) I don't really see the benefit of a touch-screen. Chrome OS simply isn't built for it. It'd have the same issue as running a Win 7 laptop with a touch screen - you have to reach over the keyboard, and the touch target areas are too small.

Now, if this was actually a touchscreen laptop running a modded version of Android, and Google had decided to push Android as an entry-level laptop OS, that would be less surprising - I'm also running an ICS x86 VM and it works surprisingly well with a keyboard & mouse (although certainly not perfectly). But then I'd expect this to be a convertible device to get the proper benefit from having a bridging OS, and it doesn't sound like that's the case.

One for the :O_o1: face, I think… :confused:
Well now I'm curious. I was gonna buy an ARM Samsung Chromebook in January anyway to replace my 5 year old thinkpad for mobile usage, and I was probably gonna make Android the main OS on that Chromebook with Ubuntu as a secondary. Considering that usage the touchscreen version would make perfect sense, assuming it also uses an ARM processor and maybe has a longer battery life, more like 9-12 hours as the Samsung Chromebook is capable of with modifications to use the spare space.

I'll be interested to see what happens here.
Hope this comes with a high DPI display and Samsung's 28nm quad-core Exynos 5450.

High DPI agreed but after reading Anandtech's review of the recent XE303 Exynos based Chromebook I think they really need to occupy a level above tablets in the performance stakes. No point in pitching Chromebooks to compete with tablets like the Nexus 10 as they won't compare favourably, same performance but heavier and without Android apps doesn't sound like a marketing winner to me.

Cheaper Intel/AMD CPUs in the ~10-20W range (i.e. not Atom) seem about right for this class of device to me, the niche seems to be “Mobile Internet Terminal” and so a Chromebook has to be unlimited web, its no good if things are slow or badly supported (which Anandtech did say some things were - see bottom of Needs to be like an Ultrabook but made slimmer/thinner/cheaper by using a small SSD, no Windows install etc

Caveat, I've not used a Chromebook for daily driving but I know a tablet often frustrates me with it's limitations whilst a Ultrabook sized laptop gets things done but is a bit too heavy and expensive for what I need on the move - there is a middle ground and a Chromebook could be it.