New Chromebooks with Intel’s Haswell chips are expected to arrive this week at the Intel Developer Forum. I believe Intel is seeing the writing on the wall for Windows, and they’ve been trying ever since the Moblin days to support another operating system, so they don’t depend on Windows alone either.
Lately they’ve been supporting Android and Chrome OS, too, which isn’t much of a surprise considering Intel’s former CEO, Paul Otellini, is even on the board of directors of Google, and why I believe Google has made a lot of mistakes early on, by forcing Intel’s chips into the original Google TV’s and Chromebooks, making them too expensive.
They did the same with the Chromebook Pixel, which turn out to be very expensive for a Chromebook, but I suppose Google tried to show that they can make “quality premium hardware” more than anything else, and they probably didn’t even expect to sell a lot of them. Besides, what even managed to sell the few units of Chromebook Pixels was actually the “retina” display of the device, and not necessarily the CPU.
Most people didn’t see the value in a $1,300 Chrome OS device, because as some say you’re only going to get the “web” on it, so why pay that much for a device, when you can get a tablet that is much cheaper, and does the same thing, and more?
This is why I think, at least for the time being, the Chromebooks that will continue to succeed are the ARM-based Chromebooks that cost less than $300 (the sweet spot), just like Samsung’s Chromebook from last year. Add a quad core 1.9 Ghz Exynos 5420, a 1920×1280 resolution display (3:2 like the Pixel), and a battery that is twice as large (8,000 mAh, just like normal 10″ tablets), to have over 10h of battery life, and you’ve got another killer product this year.
I believe all of that is doable this year, and for under $300 it would be a much more buzz-worthy product than any $1,000+ Haswell Chromebook would be. Intel will surely promote their Haswell-based Chromebooks as the best thing since slice-bread, but at the end of the day, it’s the low-cost Chromebooks with good enough performance (just as good or better than the upcoming high-end tablets) will be more than enough to satisfy anyone, without paying a huge price for it.