Cheaper Chromebooks in the Offing

Pulkit Chandna

Use of inexpensive ARM SoCs could pave the way for sub-$200 Chromebooks

When Acer recently introduced the C720 Chromebook, a Haswell Core i3-toting device, we couldn’t help but wonder if users would be comfortable shelling out $350 or more for a Chromebook. This is an especially pertinent question because if there’s one thing that has helped these nifty little devices carve a niche for themselves, it is their greater affordability compared to entry-level Windows machines. The good news is that Chromebooks are likely to get even more affordable in the near future .

This is because inexpensive ARM-based SoCs from the likes of MediaTek and Rockchip could end up powering future Chromebook models . Taiwan-based MediaTek, in fact, has already begun its efforts to get in on the Chrome OS action.

“A new experimental ARM Cortex A7 board named Moose has recently been added to the open-source Chromium OS repository by MediaTek,” Google’s François Beaufort revealed in a Google Plus post Saturday .

With A7 chips from the likes of MediaTek being cheaper than even the ARM-based Exynos chips Samsung currently uses in a couple of its Chromebooks (the only company to do so), any device based on such SoCs will no doubt be cheaper than existing ARM- and X86-based Chromebooks, albeit while being considerably slower as well. However, all such dirt cheap devices are still quite far off — that is, if they show up at all.

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