Despite earlier rumors that a Snapdragon 845-powered Chromebook may be in the works, the company behind the chipsets still doesn’t appear to be ready to embrace the platform as it stands, according to Monte Giles, Qualcomm’s director of product management for mobile computing. Speaking at this year’s MWC 2018 event in Barcelona, Giles hinted that the company would like to get involved in Google’s increasingly popular laptop-like platform but said that pricing is holding it back. In fact, the company doesn’t plan to put its Snapdragon SoCs into any Chromebooks at all while the average selling price of Chrome OS devices still falls below $500. Chromebooks currently sell at well below $300 on average and Giles says the company simply isn’t interested in entering that segment of the market, presumably due to low profit margins.
Giles indicated that a Qualcomm-driven Chromebook would be light, thin, and fanless, with an exceptional battery life. More specifically, it would be designed to handle anything thrown at it by moderate business users. From that angle, a Chrome OS-driven laptop would need to feature other higher-quality components than something used more generally or for the education sector, which would raise the overall cost. Aside from that, the company has built a veritable empire in the chips industry over the past decade, positioning itself as the go-to manufacturer for high-quality experiences delivered on an SoC. A low-quality, budget Chromebook wouldn’t necessarily be good for that reputation and Giles says Qualcomm sees more value in the premium tier of devices. Looking at it from a sales and profits perspective, it also makes sense that Qualcomm would want to maximize any income generated by its hypothetical Chrome OS venture; low-cost Chromebooks simply aren’t going to meet that requirement.
With that said, Giles didn’t rule out the possibility of Qualcomm eventually pursuing Chromebooks while speaking at the event. Although there are only a handful of top-tier Chromebooks priced above the company’s desired bracket, that doesn’t mean that the cost won’t go up or the premium segment won’t grow any longer. In fact, with tablet sales stagnating and given the rising demand for portable high-end computing, the market could expand by a significant margin in the future. In the meantime, those who want a Qualcomm-powered laptop are going to have to stick with Windows.