There’s been a little talk around here lately as to if, or when, we might see a Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Chromebook. The argument is there and I, along with Robby, see a major potential for the mobile chipmaker to throw their hat in the ring. Granted, that is our opinion and we know very little about the ins-and-outs of what that would entail.
But, in our little corner of the Chrome OS world, it just makes sense and we would love to see that speculation become a reality.
Another big name we have yet to see in the Chrome OS arena is graphics-centric AMD. The reasons behind their absence really just boils down to logistics. According to their CTO;
it’s just a business decision, when you need our type of CPU and graphics technology that can make a difference.
AMD CTO Mark Papermaster
In PCWorld’s coverage of the Feb. 2015 press conference, Papermaster goes on to say that AMD may reassess its “Chromebook participation”. But based on what?
There were two major undertones in the press conference that took place almost 2 years ago. The first of which is a completely worthy response as to why AMD chose not to pursue the Chrome OS path.
If that market grows, if it takes off, they’re going to want to cover more segments, and then it’s going to make sense to offer a range of experiences.
AMD CTO Mark Papermaster
In the year prior to the press conference, 2014, IDC reported a mere 4.6 million Chromebooks were sold compared to over 300 million PCs. With less than 2% of the market share it’s understandable why AMD would decline jumping into product line already dominated by Intel.
Fast forward one year. It is estimated that Chromebooks and Chrome OS devices peaked over 7 million sold in 2015. Not quite 100% growth, but a very impressive leap for any product, to say the least. That resulted in 2013-2015 almost doubling sales each year, respectively.
The market has changed and maybe it’s time for AMD to take notice and reconsider their strategy when it comes to Chrome OS. With over 2 million Chromebooks sold in just the first quarter this year, (and that’s just from 3 major vendors) the sharp incline of sales continues to climb.
The next reason has less to do with now and much, much more to do with 2017.
AMD is known for their focus on graphics and has built a very impressive dynasty around GPUs and APUs that devote a vast majority of their computing power to the video and graphics engines.
Chrome OS has never been known to be a graphics-heavy OS. Being “cloud-based” for the most part, more attention was paid to keeping the operating system lightweight while making the most of low and mid-ranged CPUs and minimal amounts of RAM.
That is all about to change.
The elusive Samsung Chromebook Pro, Lenovo Yoga Book, along with other devices like the in-development ‘EVE’ are quickly changing the landscape of Chrome OS. The days are swiftly approaching that we’ll see devices with high-res displays, stylus input and form-factors designed around Android Apps and high performance gaming becoming the rule not the exception.
Until now these types of devices were left to the Pixels and HP 13 G1’s of the Chrome OS world: both monuments to what a Chromebook can be, but not examples of monumental retail success. As we begin to see a market for higher performance Chrome OS devices that are designed with more than just daily computing in mind I believe we will see companies like AMD and others take note and the tables might just turn.
Check back soon for Part 2 of this article as we lay out some evidence as to why an AMD Chromebook may be closer than you think.