Qualcomm confirms that High-end Chromebooks with Snapdragon chips are coming
The majority of Chromebooks on the market are mostly low-end or mid-range devices. Their affordability is a big reason why Chromebooks became as popular as they are now. However, back in December, we learned that Chromebooks using Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 845 were reportedly in the works. That rumor was corroborated this week by Monte Giles, Qualcomm’s new director of product management for mobile computing, who told members of the press that Qualcomm will take an interest in the Chromebook when the average selling price climbs above $500.
Mr. Giles said that if the purchase price stays at the current sub-$300 mark, the market is of no interest to Qualcomm. The company wants to be part of the high-end premium Chromebook market, and it’s watching how things are evolving right now.
As we pointed out, Chromebook devices that sell in volume are relatively cheap. This is in part thanks to Chrome OS’s open source nature — it doesn’t have expensive licensing fees like Microsoft’s Windows. (OEMs factor in those extra fees when they’re deciding how to price devices.) Another reason is that the operating system is lightweight and can run on low-end hardware, which contributes to lower device price tags.
Lately, we’ve seen some high-end Chromebooks hit store shelves, like the Google Pixelbook and Samsung’s Chromebook Pro. They have better specifications (RAM, CPU, iGPU) than many of the Chromebooks on the market, but are also made of higher-quality materials and have better build quality, which is especially evident in components such as the keyboard, trackpad, and hinges. Some people are willing to pay more money for a Chromebook that is higher quality than most of the devices out there, but the market remains niche.
So while Qualcomm’s SoCs will ship in Windows laptop and 2-in-1s, the company says to “stay tuned” for more information about Qualcomm-powered Chromebooks.