Intel Says Toshiba, Asustek Are Building Chrome Devices

Intel Corp. (INTC), the world’s largest chipmaker, showed off four computers running Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Chrome software, expanding the lineup of devices and manufacturing partners using the operating system.

Toshiba Corp. (6502) and Asustek Computer Inc. (2357) will introduce Chrome-based computers running Intel’s latest Haswell processors, executives of the chipmaker said today at a company event in San Francisco. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) and Acer Inc., both existing Chromebook partners, are also working on devices using the new chips.

Intel is trying to expand in one of the few areas of the personal-computer market that’s growing as tablets and smartphones increasingly win over consumers. Haswell chips may increase the capabilities of the low-cost Chrome computers, which rely more on Internet-based services than traditional PC software.

“This is showing that Intel is serious about Chrome,” said Doug Fisher, who heads the Santa Clara, California-based company’s software division. Intel has no idea how big the market for the devices will be, “but if it’s big I don’t want to get caught out,” he said.

Google plans to continue expanding the range of devices and sees Chrome-based machines becoming more competitive, Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai said at the conference.

“At the price point they’ll come in, I think they’ll be hugely disruptive in the market,” he said.

Bay Trail

Intel also used the event, which is its annual developers’ forum in San Francisco, to tout the chances of another chip redesign called Bay Trail. The product, aimed at helping Intel break into the tablet market, will appear in Microsoft Corp. Windows 8 tablets this year and ones running Google’s Android mobile software from early next year.

Intel is also trying to fire up the PC market with devices it calls two-in-ones, computers that have a detachable keyboard that allows them to function either as laptops or tablets.

Bay Trail-based two-in-ones will retail for as little as $349, according to Intel Senior Vice President Kirk Skaugen. The chip will enable standard laptops to be sold at as little as $199 and touch-screen models at $299.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net; and Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net

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