How I think that the ARM Powered Chromebook is a big deal for the industry

Posted by Charbax – October 21, 2012

I've been talking about ARM Powered Chrome OS for years now here on this blog (2, 3, 4, 5, 6). So you can imagine how happy I was to hear that Google and Samsung are launching the ARM Cortex-A15 Exynos5250 Powered Chromebook now today on Monday for $249!!! Here are some of the points that I think one can consider for how the ARM Powered Chromebook is a very big deal for the industry:

1. Chrome on ARM gets optimized, to use full hardware acceleration. It's important to have a web browsing experience on ARM in a 720p, 768p, 1080p resolution that be satisfactory to most users.

2. Chrome OS on ARM gets open sourced, means here's an OS to run on all ARM SoCs, this means that the $89 13.3" and $75 10.1" ARM Cortex-A9 Powered laptops, even single-core using VIA WM8850 for example, can soon ship with Chromium OS pre-installed.

3. Full Chrome on Android, with all plugins (including Flash, Java, etc), extensions, full tabs support, user interface for mouse and keyboard. This means a merger of Chrome OS and Android. The Chrome experience on Android should be as good as on a pure Chrome OS device. You can even have resume and boot-to-Chrome as a choice on Android, if you are using a device where you just want to use Chrome and that you may not care much about the rest of Android.

4. Gives a new purpose to ARM Powered Laptops, HDMI Sticks, Set-top-boxes and more. You can get a sub-$100 HDMI Stick to use as a Chromebox on your HDTV or PC Monitor. If you'd like to use the HDMI stick in Entertainment mode, it should be able to switch to Google TV mode.

5. Chromebooks are now sub-$250. This makes them very attractive to a majority of new Laptop buyers worldwide. I think that Chrome OS is going to dominate as the main OS for laptops and desktops worldwide. Though for that to easily happen, 13.3" ARM Cortex-A15 Chromebooks need to be sold for well below $200, the 11.6" ones should be sold towards below $150.

6. Combine the ARM Powered Chromebook with an 11.6" or 13.3" Pixel Qi screen, also wait for eventual full hardware optimizations to be automatically added to Chrome OS on ARM to take advantage of the Mali-T604 GPU and much else deep level ARM Cortex-A15 optimizations and you could have a battery life on your super thin ARM Powered Chromebook above 20 hours. This is game-changing for a super thin laptop.

7. Chrome OS forces App Developers to think Web First. That means better quality web apps. Expect high-quality online video-editing, photo-editing, word processing, FTP, programming and even gaming to work awesomely on the Web pretty quickly. That means web apps with full offline support, full cached acceleration for instant web app load times regardless of connection speed, Web GL for full GPU advanced 3D gaming including streaming of game info, remote 3D rendering and streaming of the highest quality 3D games, once all app developers think first about how to use the web to improve their apps, that brings the worlds best apps to everyone.

8. Upgrading the PC/Laptop is redefined. Consumers won't need to think about upgrading their PC/Laptop, unless they find one with a nicer design and style, with a different screen size or screen type which they may prefer. Upgrading a PC/Laptop for faster performance is going to be less and less of a reason for people to upgrade their computer. The most important specification is going to be battery life and screen technology. That is, if one can expect all web apps to load instantly on the ARM Powered Laptop, with unlimited simultaneous tabs opened smoothly at the same time, which is something we can expect on this ARM Cortex-A15 Chromebook.

9. You may think that this ARM Chromebook may not have yet an optimal performance. Consider that the web browser is perhaps one of the most advanced and complicated application on a PC/Laptop. Chrome on x86 is 50x faster than Internet Explorer was on x86 just 3 years ago. ARM Cortex-A15 is all new, so is Chrome on ARM, expect tons of optimizations to be beamed over the next weeks and months to come, as Google, Samsung and open source Chrome project engineers fully optimize the software on ARM.

10. You may think that the quoted 6.5 hours battery life on this initial ARM Chromebook may not sound like a whole lot. Consider that the power consumption governors may be cranked up to the maximum power consumption by Google and Samsung to prevent any slowdowns before Chrome for ARM gets optimized. As ARM optimizations are fully integrated in Chrome OS on ARM, you can perhaps expect this ARM Chromebook to magically suddenly be able to last more than 10 hours on the same thin and light battery.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other informations about how optimized Google and Samsung have made Chrome OS on ARM yet, if Google has announced much more about their plans to open source Chrome OS on ARM, if it's already open source, what you think we can expect for Chrome OS on lower power cheaper ARM SoCs such as RK3066, VIA 8850, Allwinner A10 and other processors that can be used in making much cheaper ARM Powered Chromebooks. Write also in the comments how many ARM Chromebooks you plan to buy, you are welcome to use my amazon link!