High-profile software developers and service providers have started to court the hardware market recently, and Google is doing so in more ways than one, unlike Microsoft.
Granted, Microsoft will probably release something besides the Surface tablet, but Google already has a few slates (under the Nexus brand) and even promoted Chrome OS laptops, chromebooks as it were.
And here is today's topic of discussion: Google will no longer be just a backer of Chromebooks. Instead, it will release some own-brand models.
Chromebooks are laptops that almost completely lack on-board storage, since they store all files in the cloud. In fact, the cloud (servers) is also where all the programs exist and run.
It turns out that Google doesn't just want to be an endorser or accessory anymore. Instead, it will ship its own chromebooks starting next year.
The first model will make its debut in the first quarter of 2013, possible as early as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2013).
Compal Electronics and Wintek are the ones that will actually perform the manufacturing bit, since Google does not have facilities of its own to carry out that phase.
All chromebooks should benefit from optical lamination, the merger of the touch sensor and cover glass in one, reducing the thickness of the display and, by extension, that of the entire notebook. Initial supply shipments have supposedly been sent already.
All this information comes from China Times and shows that Google has changed its opinion of the chromebook. Once it used to be a small experiment of little import, but now it is becoming more relevant. If the company manages to keep the price low ($199 / 199 Euro), there should not be problems achieving success.