updated 08:20 am EDT, Wed July 20, 2011
Intel spurs on faster Core iX Chromebooks
Google Chromebooks will soon get a big speed upgrade in return for a slight discount, insiders claimed Wednesday. The Chrome OS hardware will reportedly go to Core i3 and beyond processors and, to make the price balance work, will get a 10 to 20 percent discount from Intel on the chips. Existing partners Acer and Samsung were reported by Digitimes as onboard and might be joined by ASUS and others as soon as early 2012.
The upgrade would come as a tacit admission that Chromebooks weren't necessarily working in their current price field. Although they cost $50 to $100 more than a netbook, they don't really have better performance, insiders said. The two systems out so far also supposedly have an "unattractive industrial design."
Moving to faster processors would help push the systems above $500 and possibly improve their appeal, supporters argued. Others have dissented, however, noting that Chrome OS is sandwiched between Android tablets that can in many cases still do more and between Windows notebooks, where familiarity, native apps, and higher performance help justify it on the higher end.
Google hasn't commented on the rumors or said how many Chromebooks have actually been sold. The ultraportables have been among the top-selling notebooks on Amazon but only have a small number of outlets to sell from.