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.
On Thursday, British hacker Liam McLoughlin, more popularly known by his nom de plume Hexxeh, announced the release of a Raspberry Pi port of the open-source Chromium browser. The talented hacker, whose highly fruitful association with Chromium OS dates back to its very inception, has been busy playing around with the Raspberry Pi ever since he got hold of one back in April. This release of Chromium for Raspberry Pi Beta is a testament to all his hard work.
The initial response to the first Chromebooks has been rather lukewarm. But that is unlikely to deter Google, which is in it for the long haul. Now all eyes are going to be on the first few installments of changes and new features. Lack of offline functionality is being seen as the Achilles heel’ of Chrome OS. It will become a touch more usable offline when Google Docs offline support returns later this summer after a long hiatus. There are signs of the much awaited return of Docs offline support being just around the corner.
The first Chromebooks from the likes of Acer and Samsung are scheduled to begin shipping on June 15. But a little known Australian company has beaten the two vendors to the Chome/Chromium OS laptop punch. Australia’s Kogan is already taking orders for a 12-inch Chromium OS laptop called Agora, which it expects to begin shipping on June 7. Hit the jump for more on the world’s first Chromium OS notebook.