The pieces are falling into place to support the introduction of new Chromebooks. I believe Google will attack the market at the extremes.
The Low End
The Greater Clark County School district will distribute approximately 8,000 Samsung Chromebooks to students in grades 3 through 12 for the upcoming school year which begins August 1st. The Glenbrook High School Board of Education stepped into the digital learning age when trustees agreed to issue Samsung Chromebooks to freshmen, sophomores and juniors starting in the 2013-14 year. According to a blog post by Google, Malaysia has decided to adopt Google Apps for 10 million of its students, teachers and parents. In addition, primary and secondary schools will receive Chromebooks. It is obvious the low end Chromebooks are finding success in the Education market.
It’s no secret Linus Torvalds is a fan of Chrome OS and the recent release of the Linux 3.10 kernel brings much needed support for the ARM big.LITTLE architecture.
Upgrading the Samsung Chromebook to a Exynos 5 Octa SOC is the next logical step now that there is support for it in the kernel. The other added benefit of this SOC and an interest to wireless carriers is its supports for all 20 LTE bands. The only factor which may delay the release is strong demand for this silicon in other products such as the Galaxy S4.
The High End
You would think Google would have to be out of its minds to release another Chromebook Pixel, but I believe they will. Some of this belief is based on Google’s desire to complete with other major players like Apple and Microsoft.
Google hacker Dinsan Francis discover Chrome OS code references to a “Haswell” prototype named “bolt” and the code also suggests support for touch screen and 4GB of RAM.
As the Haswell MacBook Air will ship with the new Samsung XP941 SSD my guess is the next Pixel will as well.
Other Potential High End Design Changes
Depending on how far Google wants to take this there are other potential design changes. As Chrome OS currently supports touch screen its not too far of a stretch to visualize a Pixel with a detachable keyboard or a screen which hinges in a manner to morph the unit into a tablet.
Another “thinking out of the box” design consideration is stylus support for precision drawing or support for other business applications.
As always Google and its partners tend to keep their cards close to their chest but Chrome OS continues to evolve and the market continues to mature in its acceptance of cloud computing. As I think about Apple’s iWorks for iCloud and Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 it appears the other major players may be driving this as much as Google.