by Anton Shilov
11/02/2010 | 11:05 PM
As even Qualcomm admits that smartbook* category of personal computer is not viable, Acer Group and Hewlett-Packard plan to start selling Google Chrome operating system-based mobile computers already next month. Moreover, according to latest market rumours Google itself still has not dropped plans to introduce a Chrome OS-powered smartbook.
In fact, Google wants to be the first company to introduce a Chrome OS-based system already later this month, reports DigiTimes web-site. According to previously released rumours, Google Chrome machine is to be based on Nvidia Tegra system-on-chip with ARM processing engine and GeForce graphics processing core (it is likely that Google will use second-generation Tegra chip), which will provide it rather rich multimedia capabilities and will be equipped with “HD Ready” 10.1” display with multi-touch support, 2GB of random access memory, 64GB solid-state drive (simplistic flash-based storage seems more likely), Wi-Fi, 3G, Ethernet, USB, web-cam, card reader, etc. Google's Chrome smartbook is expected to be manufactured by Inventec.
According to a report from the Taiwan-based web-site, initial shipments of Google Chrome smartbook are predicted to reach 60 - 70 thousand units. It is interesting to note that the device is not going to be sold in retail, but will likely be available for orders directly from Google.
Acer and HP, the world's largest makers of personal computers, are projected to follow Google with their smartbooks running Chrome OS in December. Meanwhile, Asustek Computer, the "father" of netbooks, is still considering pros and cons of smartbooks, according to market rumours.
The fundamental issue with smartbooks is that they are supposed to be based on Linux operating system (Google Chrome is a version of Linux), which was not too successful with netbooks. Moreover, since people tend to expect more from clamshell form-factor devices, smartbooks are unlikely to deliver to expectations. Finally, smartbooks do not support proper content creation and are not too comfortable for consumption of multimedia content on the go or reading electronic books. The world’s first smartbook from a large manufacturer – Lenovo Skylight – was first delayed and eventually scrapped by its manufacturer.
*While we do understand that the company called Smartbook AG owns the appropriate trademark in certain countries, in this particular article we use the term “smartbook” to refer to mobile computers in clamshell form-factors that are powered by ARM architecture-based microprocessors or system-on-chip devices.