Technical specifications for a Google own-brand netbook have surfaced online, and it looks promising. But with a 10-inch multitouch screen and rumored netbook-scale price, is this gizmo designed as a competitor for the iSlate?
It's the IBTimes that's the source of all this latest interest in a Google-branded machine, coming hard on the heels of speculation and leaked data on Google's own-brand phone, the Nexus One.
According to the blog, the Google netbook will run Chrome OS (what else?!) and be powered by an ARM chip and Nvidia Tegra technology, making it both more power-efficient and more powerful than many netbooks that currently are on sale. It'll come pre-loaded with Google goodness in the form of Google Maps, Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Voice Search, and it'll have all the usual bells and whistles like Wi-fi, 3G, USB ports, webcam, card reader, and 2GB of RAM alongside a neat 64GB SSD. The two most interesting parts of the rumor are surprising though—they say the Google netbook will sell for a subsidized price of under $300 via Google itself, and it'll be getting a 10.1-inch multi-touch display.
First up, the fact Google plans to sell this thing itself is, if true, pretty amazing. With other rumors the Nexus One will go on sale from Google too, this is beginning to look like Google's really making a push into the physical goods markets—a radical move for a company that's nearly entirely based on virtual products.
And then there's that price and the 10-inch touchscreen. One would easily be forgiven for assuming that these moves have only one target in sight: Apple's iSlate. No-one knows how much the slate will cost, but the cynics are hyping the Apple tax when talking about it: Hence a $300 netbook-sized price for a Google machine, with a touchscreen and much of the same technical capability as the iSlate would make for a very competitive device indeed.
There's just one flaw: It's supposed to launch in the holiday season of next year, 2010. By then the netbook phenomenon will be well over two years old, getting boring, and Google's machine might not stand out. And if Apple outs the iSlate sooner rather than later, for the right kind of price, then it could easily sew up the entire touch-computing market.