Google reportedly releasing 12.85-inch touch-enabled Chrome OS notebook at the end of 2012

According to reports out of Asia, Mountain View-based Google will unveil its own-branded 12.85-inch touch laptop powered by its Chrome OS at the end of 2012. Details are scant this morning on what embodies the device; however, a report from Commercial Times said 20 million units are on tap. A Taiwanese-based company, named Compal Electronics, will be responsible for the overall production, while Wintek will supply the touch panels for the laptop.

Traditionally, Google’s approach to Chrome OS —or any of its software—has been to distribute it to various OEMs for production. Google has never manufactured its own product on a large scale, as the Nexus Q was the only one, and it wasn’t even shipped to the mass-market, but that won’t be the case with its latest Chrome OS device.

Samsung and Acer have released past iterations of Chrome OS. While the overall success of the platform is not really known, Chrome OS products are sold in larger stores like Best Buy. Google pitches Chrome OS as the solution “for everyone.” Just maybe a touch-enabled laptop could strike the fancy of some users looking to ditch their traditional devices.

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Asian suppliers up 10.1-inch cover glass output to ten million units a month


10.1-inch form factor has been adopted by Android tablets, but not Apple’s iPad. A major ramp up in 10.1-inch cover glass manufacturing could indicate high demand for Android tablets.

Touch panel makers TPK Holding, G-Tech and Wintek – all major Apple suppliers – are reportedly ramping up 10.1-inch cover glass manufacturing to ten million units per month, reports DigiTimes, a trade publication specialized in Asian supply chain. Such a substantial increase is eyebrow raising knowing that the market-leading iPad sports a 9.7-inch display while the 10.1-inch form factor is mostly an Android play.

9to5Google learned that Samsung’s Tabs are selling very well, measured in millions. We also know Amazon is close to launching its tablet and if market sources are correct, the online retailer is eager to ship millions of units in the run-up to Christmas. However, Amazon’s inaugural tablet PC will be a seven-incher, with both TechCrunch and DigiTimes reporting that a 10.1-inch Amazon tablet won’t be out until early 2012.

In any case, that’s a lot of cover glass units for non-iPad devices. Market watchers say Fuji Crystal and Lens Technology supply Apple with an estimated 70 percent of the cover glass, mainly for iPhones. G-Tech and Wintek supply to iPads and TPK Holding is said to provide cover glass to both iPhone and iPad.

Either touch panel makers have overestimated demand (which we doubt), or Apple is switching to 10.1-inch form factor for iPad 3 (highly unlikely, but possible given the hints of four-inch iPhone) or Android makers have decided to blanket the market this holiday season with millions of 10.1-inch tablets, which is the most reasonable assumption.

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DigiTimes: Amazon becomes the second-largest buyer of tablet parts

In what is another indication of a rumored Amazon tablet, Taiwanese trade publication, DigiTimes, this morning quoted sources from the supply chain who said Amazon has become the second largest buyer of tablet parts as component suppliers are lining up to provide parts for Amazon’s seven- and ten-inch slates. That’s a notable change from previous reports asserting Apple had gobbled up pretty much the entire supply of tablet parts. The Amazon devices are apparently due for a fourth quarter launch and the online retail giant is targeting to ship four million tablet PCs this year.

The publication named suppliers which include an unnamed processor from Nvidia, gravity sensors from Sitronix and touch panels from Wintek (also an Apple supplier) in addition to J Touch and Chunghwa Picture Tubes. Note that the mention of the seven-inch Amazon tablet probably means a new Kindle e-reader while the ten-incher most likely refers to a brand new Android-powered tablet said to be integrated with their cloud stores carrying mobile apps, music, movies, e-books and other digital warez. A Retrevo survey indicated that 79 percent of buyers would consider an Amazon tablet if priced less than $250. Apple is said to be considering cheaper components for next iPad amid the increasing pricing pressure in the market.

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