Expected out in mid-2015, “at the earliest”, the Bay Trail-T-powered consumer machine should be joined to market by a slightly pricier education-centric 11.6-inch model.
HP’s 11 and 13-inch Stream Windows 8.1 laptops are living proof Microsoft fears Google and its rising Chrome OS platform, despite Chromebook sales numbers that look like a blip on Redmond’s radar. Of course, what MS finds disconcerting is Big G’s continuous albeit slow progress in a PC landscape that’s been struggling for years.
Besides, it’s probably too late now to annihilate the cloud-reliant “experiment”, with everyone from Lenovo to Asus, Acer, Toshiba, Dell and Samsung involved in Chromebook production to a greater or lesser extent.
If they can’t kill them, they might as well suppress their mainstream surge, and beating Google at its own game is vital. The name of the game is race to the bottom, with $149 the latest speculated target for low Chromebook pricing, and Microsoft reportedly after the same figure.
Rumor is Asus has Chinese CPU maker Rockchip in its corner for the frugal, long-lasting Chromebook C201, whereas Satya Nadella & co. may actually afford to go with an Intel processing solution and still keep costs under the $150 mark.
Obviously, we’re talking Intel’s humblest chips yet, part of the Bay Trail-T family, and to further help cut expenses, Microsoft should recruit little known China-based 3 Nod for the PC’s manufacturing. Meanwhile, a $30 costlier notebook will go out to schools via the education channel set up by Intel and ECS for Classmate products, and Elitegroup Computer Systems, aka ECS, shall handle assembly.
Both ultra-affordable Chromebook slayers are to run full Windows 10 out the box, sport tiny (by laptop standards) 11.6-inch displays and offer barely enough power for casual web browsing or multimedia playing. Basically, they’re glorified keyboard-boasting entry-level tablets, from the sound of it. Which is likely exactly what the doctor prescribed for emerging market Windows.