BARCELONA—Qualcomm is interested in Chromebooks, but its machines won’t be cheap.
At Mobile World Congress today, Monte Giles, Qualcomm’s new director of product management for mobile computing, introduced himself as the guy for Windows on Snapdragon, Android tablets, and Chromebooks. Wait, Chromebooks? While we’ve seen rumors of Chromium repository edits, hinting that Qualcomm Chromebooks are coming, we hadn’t heard anything from Qualcomm.
Chromebooks are primarily used as super-cheap laptops for education, but “if the Chromebook market stays at sub-$300 [average selling prices] it’s not that interesting to us,” Giles said. Qualcomm wants to make premium Chromebooks, apparently. “What we’re watching closely is when the [average selling prices] start to go above $500.”
That jibes well with the earlier news that Qualcomm’s premium processor, the new 845, is being tested for Chromebooks, and not its less expensive or midrange processors.
Most Chromebooks run on low-end Intel chips, although there are a few Mediatek and Rockchip Chromebooks out there. Lenovo’s new Chromebook 300e (shown above) runs on a Mediatek processor. Right now, the only Chromebooks over $500 are the $599 Samsung Chromebook Pro and the $899 Google Pixelbook.
Qualcomm Chromebooks would be “thin and light, fanless designs” aimed at small and medium businesses that want long battery lives, Giles said. Presumably, they would also have LTE on board, because that’s included in the 845, and it’s a feature with which Qualcomm loves to differentiate itself. “Stay tuned” for more news about Qualcomm Chromebooks, Giles said.
Chromebooks may be coming up, but Android tablets are fading, Giles said. Prices are declining, and Qualcomm “sees more value in the premium tier, and that’s why we’ve really embraced Windows,” he said.
The first Qualcomm-powered Windows laptops, presumably the ones from HP, Lenovo, and Asus that have already been announced, are coming out in March, Qualcomm announced last week.
Source: PC Magazine | By Sascha Segan | February 26, 2018 2:28PM EST | https://www.pcmag.com/news/359472/qualcomm-wants-to-power-pricier-chromebooks
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