Taiwanese chip designer MediaTek confirmed on Monday it is developing a mobile chip for use in low-cost laptops running on Google’s Chrome operating system. The new chip is expected to hit the market by the end of this year or early next year, MediaTek president CJ Hsieh said at the company’s media and analyst cocktail party at Computex Taipei, the world’s second-largest computer trade show. MediaTek will count multiple major manufacturers of Chromebooks as its clients when their new laptops are released, said Hsieh, who cautioned that the company’s customer base in the Chromebook market would be limited initially.
Google’s Chromebook team has come to Taiwan to talk with Acer and Asustek Computer as well as Quanta Computer in a bid to seek cooperation to extend marketing of Chromebooks from the education segment in North America to emerging markets, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. The team is also negotiating plans to ship Chromebooks in the second half of 2015 and 2016, the sources said.
Acer has been one of the major contributors to Chrome OS for a while now. The second 15.6-inch Chromebook is preparing to roll out with new internals and an even cheaper price point at $199. The three month time window has not left a great amount of time to update internals. Acer has dropped a few of the specs to meet with the new price point — which is $50 cheaper than the Chromebook 15 CB5-571 launched at CES 2015.
Computer suppliers Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) and Acer Inc (宏碁) are deepening their collaboration with Google Inc, with plans to start shipping new Chrome-based computers and devices this quarter. The two Taiwanese firms are some of the global PC brands that have been working with the US search engine giant to design lightweight laptops running on the Chrome operating system since 2011, as Google steps up its challenge to Microsoft Corp in the market for low-priced computers.
Google is planning to push 2-in-1 devices in 2015, according Digitimes Research’s inquiries within the upstream supply chain. Google’s 2-in-1 Chromebook designed by Quanta Computer is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter. The device features a detachable form factor and runs Android in the tablet form and Chrome when attached to a keyboard.
Acer is supersizing chromebooks, offering the world’s first Chrome OS laptop with a 15.6-inch screen. The Chromebook 15 is also the first device in the category with a processor based on Intel’s latest Broadwell circuit design. Starting at US$249.99, the laptop will offer eight hours of battery life and be among the fastest chromebooks available.
In addition to Acer, which is set to launch a Broadwell-U-based 15.6-inch Chromebook in March 2015, Dell is planning to launch a 15.6-inch Chromebook with similar specifications in the first half of 2015 and both devices may be priced under US$300, according to Digitimes Research’s latest findings from the upstream supply chain. Digitimes Research believes if the two vendors have adopted the Broadwell-U processor that has performance comparable to Intel’s Core i3 CPU, the two Chromebooks will be very competitive in terms of price/performance ratio.
Following China-based chip maker Rockchip entering the supply chain for Chromebooks, additional China-based makers including Bitland and BYD are expected to further their presence in Chromebook supply chain in 2015 in order to meet upcoming demand from vendors as they expand their lineups, according to Digitimes Research.
Acer is set to invest heavily in Chromebook development in 2015 with related shipments to grow over 50% on year to reach 4.8 million units. Meanwhile, Asustek Computer is also planning to increase its shipments of inexpensive 11.6-inch Windows-based EeeBook notebooks, and the devices are expected to account for over 30% of the vendor’s overall notebook shipments in 2015, surpassing six million units, according to sources in the upstream supply chain.
Following China-based application processor (AP) supplier Rockchip’s entry into the Chromebook industry, China-based end device makers are also expected to join the Chromebook supply chain, according to information Digitimes Research has collected from the Greater China supply chain. China-based Bitland and BYD will start producing Chromebooks for brand vendors in 2015 and they will be among only a handful of makers capable of making the device.
Lenovo and Asustek are expected to release Chromebooks using Google-certified solutions from China-based Rockchip in the first half of 2015 at the latest, and their devices are expected to be priced at US$149, a new low for notebook products, according to Digitimes Research’s latest finding from the Greater China supply chain. Rockchip is a first-tier tablet application processor (AP) designer in China and has recently cooperated with Intel over chip design and the distribution of Intel’s SoFIA chips.
Lenovo reportedly will launch Chromebook models targeting the sub-US$170 segment in early 2015, a move which will further drag down profits for notebook vendors, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Lenovo’s Chromebooks will be powered by CPUs from China-based Rockchip Electronics and produced by China-based ODM Bitland Information Technology. Additionally, Rockchip will also be responsible for the integration of the supply chain for Lenovo.
TAIPEI–Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. (宏碁) on Friday said it plans to begin selling its laptops and desktop computers running Google’s Web-based Chrome OS in Taiwan next week to strengthen product offering for education and business markets. The company’s 11.6-inch Chromebook will start from NT$8,690 (US$286) and the larger 13.3-inch model will cost NT$11,900, according to Acer. Its Chromebox desktop PC will start from NT$7,990 — higher than Asustek Computer Inc.’s (華碩) similar product that also launched Friday priced at NT$5,999.
Seeing that Chromebooks are enjoying demand from the education sector, brand vendors such as Dell, Asustek Computer and Lenovo have started becoming aggressive about the market, while Acer, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Samsung Electronics will also launch new products to defend their market shares, according to sources from the upstream supply chain. Currently, Acer, Samsung and HP together account for over 70% of the Chromebook market, and 80% of the shipments are supplied to the education market, the sources said.
In addition to gradually integrating Android’s ecosystem into the Chrome OS, Google is looking to support more processors. Chromebook-supported processors will include solutions from MediaTek and Rockchip in 2015, helping vendors to develop LTE-based inexpensive Chromebooks, according to information obtained by Digitimes Research from the upstream supply chain. By boosting device values and cutting prices, the plan is expected to increase shipments of the Chromebook by another 100%.
Following in the path of Sony and its Vaio PCs, Samsung has decided to exit the laptop market stopping sales of Ativ Windows and Chromebook devices in Europe, PC Advisor can confirm. It’s common knowledge that the PC market is in decline with Sony pulling out and selling its Vaio business back in February of this year. Despite being a giant of the tech world, Samsung has now followed suit.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) won’t be left behind Acer and Toshiba as it announced new pair of competitive Chromebooks today. The HP Chromebooks come in two screen sizes; 11-inch and 14-inch. The 11-inch model seems like a big leap from its predecessor. Previously, HP used the ARM-based Exynos processor but now uses Intel’s Bay Trail Celeron processor. It also features 4 GB of RAM from 2 GB. It’s expected to have a 1366 x 768 screen resolution; 16 GB file storage with additional 100GB of Google Drive space and an improved battery that lasts for more than eight hours.
Japanese electronics and engineering conglomerate Toshiba has announced a number of new Chromebook models, as well as a new 7-inch Windows tablet set to hit retailers in the fall. The gadgets Toshiba will push out its doors include the Toshiba Chromebook 2, a second-generation laptop computer running on Google’s Chrome operating system designed mainly to surf the web. The laptop will retail for US$250.
TAIPEI — Taiwan’s Acer Inc. (宏碁) on Thursday unveiled its Chromebox CXI, its first desktop computer powered by Google Inc.’s Web centric Chrome operating system, with a view to meeting demand in schools and businesses. The computer boots up in about eight seconds and resumes instantly from sleep mode thanks to its 16GB solid-state drive, Acer said in a statement. The device’s compact form also helps save space in libraries, classrooms and offices, the company said.
Acer Inc president and chief executive officer Jason Chen told the media during his first visit to Thailand since becoming the company’s head seven months ago that the new focus would also include two-in-one notebooks and Chromebooks. He said worldwide Chromebook sales were expected to grow by 76 per cent this year. In the first six months, Acer sales grew 114 per cent. The key reasons for ChromesBook’s success are its affordability and low maintenance costs. “We think Windows [PCs and notebooks] will still continue, but Chromebook is an alternative option – they will co-exist,” he said.