Asus could launch a $200 netbook running Google's Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" or Chrome Operating System open-source platforms. The move would be a gamble versus the iPad and other tablets.
The tech world hasn't reached the middle of the year, but
buzz about notebook computers based on Google's Chrome Operating System has
to component makers who said Asustek Computer would launch a cheap
netbook running either Google's Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" operating
system or Chrome OS in June.
The gadget, primarily a Web surfing device, would be
based on an Intel Atom chip and cost between $200 to $250, the
The choice of Honeycomb or Chrome is interesting and
curious, considering Honeycomb has been specially designed for the touchscreen-oriented
tablet form factor.
Chrome OS is Google's Web operating system, a platform on
which Web apps sit and are accessible by the Chrome Web browser. It is intended
to be accessed
via a device with a keyboard, such as a netbook or notebook.
Asus apparently wants to ship 6 million netbooks this
year, which normally would be conservative if it weren't for the fact that
Apple's iPad has bottlenecked the netbook market by offering a Web surfing
alternative in a 9.7-inch slate form factor.
Motorola got into the slate game with its Honeycomb-based,
Feb. 24 only to see Apple one-up it by launching the iPad 2
dual cameras March 11.
While netbooks offer the better typing input advantage of
having a full, physical keyboard over a tablet for more intensive writing, the
iPad has severely dinged the market for these lightweight computing machines.
it now expects worldwide PC shipments this
year to grow 10.5 percent over 2010 instead of the 15.9 percent predicted
earlier, thanks largely to the impediment of media tablets such as the iPad.
"We now believe that consumers are not only likely to
forgo additional mobile PC buys but are also likely to extend the lifetimes of
the mobile PCs they retain as they adopt media tablets and other mobile PC
alternatives as their primary mobile device,"
said Gartner Research Director George Shiffler.
The Asus update comes one week after Google's lead Chrome
OS product manager Sundar Pichai
that Google had stopped giving out Cr-48 test units and that Chrome OS
notebooks remained on track for midyear.
That puts the target date around
June, which is when Asus is rumored to launch its new Honeycomb or Chrome OS
machine. Pichai said at the grand Chrome OS unveiling
last December that Samsung and Acer would be among the first to
deliver Chrome OS machines.
If the Digitimes report is correct, we may now count Asus
in that mix.