It’s not unusual to see an occasional “off-brand” Chromebook pop up here and there. As the Chrome OS ecosystem continues to expand, we are seeing more and more white-label devices being produced in overseas markets. Many of these Chromebooks look just like other devices from companies like ASUS or CTL but carry a different brand name and possibly some minor tweaks in design or port selection. Why is that, you ask? Let me explain.
White Label Chromebooks
White label devices are produced by an ODM manufacturer with a certain set of design elements, features, and specs. These devices can then be tweaked for an OEM which then brands the device with their own company name. Perfect example? The Acer Chromebook Tab 10. this was the first Chrome OS tablet powered by RockChips OP1 SoC. It was then duplicated by ASUS and CTL but the devices, apart from the brand label, are identical. They all came from the same factory and are essentially the same device.
These white-label manufacturers make it easy for smaller OEMs to break into a new market without the expense of designing a product from the ground up. Brands like Viglen, Lava, EduGear, and many more have been producing these rebranded Chromebooks for years but now, it looks like Verizon is putting a horse in the race with an LTE-enabled device that’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c compute SoC.
Before you get too excited, this isn’t going to be a premium device like the ones you’ll find down at Best Buy. The new Chromebook appears to be produced by the company Orbic which specializes in budget-model smartphones and devices designed specifically for carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and others. This new Chromebook, as Kevin Tofel describes it, has minimally viable specs with 4GB of RAM and a scant 32GB of eMMC storage. Here’s a closer look at the unannounced Orbic Chromebook that could be coming to a Verizon store near you in the future.
This Chromebook is a basic 11.6″ fold-flat laptop with a 1366×768 display and very little else to talk about. It is plausible that it could feature some sort of MIL-Spec rating if Verizon is looking to sell it to businesses. My guess is that this Chromebook will end up being a loss-leader for the mobile carrier. Verizon already offers three Chromebooks with LTE connectivity from CTL and Samsung but this would give them a budget-friendly device that they can maintain in-house and use to peddle data plans for connected devices. It wouldn’t surprise me if Verizon offers this Chromebook for free when you add a new data plan to your existing account.
Anyway, there isn’t much to get too excited about here except for the fact that this reinforces the idea that Chrome OS is finally hitting the mainstream. If Verizon is willing to release a device under its own brand, we’ll likely see more OEMs and even mobile carriers launching Chromebooks of their own in the near future. We’ll keep an eye out for this one and let you know when you may be able to get your hands on it.