Asus Chromebooks to hit stores later this year


It looks like DigiTimes got it right: Asus will finally be jumping onto the Chromebook bandwagon by launching a Chrome OS-running laptop in the second half of 2013, as we reported last week.

In addition to discussing the Taiwanese company’s plans to launch mini-Windows 8 tablet later this year, Asus CEO Jerry Shen also revealed that Asus is working on a Chromebook to be released in the last half of the year during his earnings call this morning, according to PCWorld.

Although many of its manufacturing rivals like Acer and Samsung seem to be making some headway in the Chromebook category by offering budget-friendly laptops that start as low as $200, Asus has been taking a wait-and-see approach to the platform.

During the call, Shen mentioned he feels the operating system is still in its infancy, which may explain his company’s hesitation in making Chromebooks from the get-go. Now that the platform has been around for a couple of years, he believes Chrome OS is finally getting some “market momentum” so he expects demand for the OS (and devices that uses the software) to pickup by 2014. That’s why Asus will be introducing its own Chromebook in the next few months.

As we mentioned, we can see Asus’ $300, 10-inch netbook, the 1015E, turn into a Chromebook by replacing its Windows 8 operating system with Chrome OS. After all, the 1015E has all the same components as the $200 Acer C7 Chromebook – including the same 1.1GHz Celeron processor from Intel and a 320GB hard drive.

So far, Chromebooks are actually more popular with schools and governments than with consumers, according to the Asus CEO. “Chromebook is good, not on the consumer side, but it’s good in the education and government side, and some for the commercial side,” Shen said. Would an Asus-made Chromebook help the platform go mainstream, the same way it was able to invent the netbook category?