In a bid to ensure that its Windows operating system can address all segments of the personal computer market, Microsoft Corp. in the recent quarters has worked hard with various hardware manufacturers to drive down prices of PCs to $200 and even $150 per unit. While hardware makers are hardly happy with the return of netbooks, Google seems to be glad about availability of such systems.
Microsoft is working with PC makers on ultra-low-cost personal computers in order to not let Google and its Chrome OS into its stronghold, the PC market, where Microsoft Windows has been dominating for decades. To lower the cost of notebooks with Windows, Microsoft reconsidered its pricing policies and redesigned Windows so that it could work on low-performance hardware. This year some of Microsoft’s partners are expected to release laptops that cost around $150.
“We cannot be happier that Microsoft is helping drive down the prices of PCs,” said Caesar Sengupta, Google's vice president of product management for Chromebooks, in an interview with NewsFactor. “If Microsoft is reacting to (Chromebook's low prices), that's fantastic. We love it.”
Recently Google and its partners Haier and HiSense introduced Chromebooks, which retail for $150 in the U.S. The notebooks feature 11.6” display and are based on quad-core Rockchip RK3288 system-on-chip (four ARM Cortex-A17 cores, ARM Mali T7 graphics engine that supports OpenGL ES3.0, OpenCL 1.1 and DirectX 11 APIs, DDR3 memory controller, etc.). The systems are also equipped with 2GB DDR3 memory, 16GB eMMC NAND flash storage, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, USB port, speakers, etc.
Availability of cheap computing devices mean that more users will be able to utilize Google’s Internet services, such as search, email or YouTube. From this point of view, Google does not care whether PCs run Chrome OS or Windows.
Only around six million laptops based on Chrome OS were sold in 2014, according to IDC. By contrast, hundreds of millions of PCs running Windows were shipped last year.
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KitGuru Says: While it is great from the end user point of view to have cheap PCs available widely, such computers are hardly good for the market in general. PC makers have to use outdated hardware to build such systems, software vendors have to keep such low-end laptops in mind when they design applications. In general, the progress of both hardware and software slows down because of such PCs. The only company who wins here is Google, who gets new clients. Still user experience of such customers is hardly good…