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New Chromebooks from Asus and Acer reportedly coming later this year

Chromebooks (Acer Cromia Samsung Series 5)Even though consumers don’t seem to be snatching up laptops running Chrome OS in large numbers, it looks like a new slew of Chromebooks are on the way. According to DigiTimes, both Acer and Asus are working on new models to be released in the second half of this year.

Acer has been somewhat successful with its $200 C7 Chromebook, which boosts an 11.6-inch screen, powered by a 1.1GHz Celeron chip and a 320GB hard drive. DigiTimes’ sources told the Taiwanese outlet that Acer used to ship 150,000 to 200,000 units of its budget Chromebook, but demand has petered off to just 20,000 to 30,000 units this past January. So, it’s not surprising that Acer will be coming out with new Chromebooks to try to keep consumers interested in its Chrome OS laptops.

Asus, on the other hand, has been more gun-shy about making Chromebooks from the get go. After all, the Taiwanese company practically invented the netbook (the sub-$500 mini-laptops with the under-powered Atom processor that basically paved the way for Chromebooks). After seeing other manufacturers like Acer, Samsung, and HP embrace the Chrome OS laptop category, it seems Asus is finally ready to make its own Chromebooks.

As we reported last month, Asus quietly launched a $300 netbook with all the markings of a Chromebook (except for its Windows 8 operating system). Like the Acer C7, this 10-inch Asus 1015E has a Celeron 847 processor, 2GB RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. Asus can easily load Chrome OS onto this baby and call it a Chromebook, which makes DigiTimes’ claim more than possible.

With Intel expected to announce the next-gen Atom “Bay Trail” chip and $200 Android laptops at the company’s Santa Clara campus on Monday, according to PCWorld, it seems Android laptops are not only going to go head-to-head with $200 Android tablets, but also against other similarly priced Chromebooks. Will consumers be happy to extend their Google experience across more platforms, or will they just be confused by all the various flavors of Android and Chrome OS?