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Got $150? Why get a tablet when you may be able to get a Chromebook for that much soon

There’s no denying that Chromebooks have made the computing market more competitive as a whole. Clearly, if it wasn’t for these inexpensive, Web-centric machines, we wouldn’t be seeing Microsoft getting so involved in the pricing race to the bottom.

But while MS and HP have teamed up to make machines that rival $200 Chromebooks, it remains to be seen whether Windows-based competitors that cost even less than that will be made. According to Digitimes, that’s where Chrome OS-based laptops are heading, and at least two manufacturers are rumored to be cooking up Chromebooks that are designed to kill notebooks like the HP Stream.

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The Taiwanese publication published a rumor about the development of $170-ish Chromebooks just days ago, and now it’s updating those whispers with new findings from the “Greater China supply chain.” Anonymous sources are telling Digitimes that Lenovo is developing a $150 11.6 inch Chromebook, not a $170 model, as initially reported.

Asus is allegedly targeting the same price point for its own 11.6 inch Chromebook, with Rockchip believed to be supplying low-cost processors to both OEMs. The Chinese chip maker’s name came up in the previous report as well.

It appears that Asus’ and Lenovo’s Chromebooks will make use of quad-core RK3288 SoCs. These chips are based on ARM’s Cortex-A17 architecture. They’re paired with quad-core ARM Mali-T760 GPUs which supports 4K video output, as well as HDMI 2.0.

It’s worth noting that this official-looking page says the RK3288 can be clocked at up to 1.8GHz.

At $150, such dirt cheap Chromebooks could spawn an all-new market niche. Launch dates haven’t been nailed down yet, though Digitimes at least narrows down the possible time-frame.

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Apparently, Lenovo’s unit will see daylight in the first half of 2015 “at the latest.” Asus’ low-cost contender will launch at an unspecified point sometime next year.

Currently, Lenovo’s most affordable Chromebook is the $225 N20, while Asus has the C200 up for grabs at $200.