The typical "unnamed sources" in the upstream supply chain report that both Acer and Asus plan to release new Chromebooks in the second half of 2013. Google is expected to heavily promote the platform during that timeframe as well as Android-based notebooks which Acer and Asus also plan to produce.
Sources claim that Acer has halted shipments of its existing 11.6-inch Chromebook for the second half of 2013 due to the volume dropping to only 20,000 to 30,000 units in January. Up until then, Acer managed to push 150,000 to 200,000 units per month. The company is now expected to release a next-generation 11.6-inch model in July, targeting students.
Meanwhile, Asus reportedly had no plans to enter the Chromebook arena, but has changed its mind and will launch a branded solution in the second half. Sources said Asus and Acer will join HP, Lenovo and Samsung who will also launch Chromebooks in the near future.
Google is seemingly gearing up to directly take on Microsoft in the notebook sector through its cloud-based Chrome OS and its more native solution, Android, as OEMs look for alternatives to Windows 8. Although Microsoft is busily working to rectify issues that revolves around the new Windows debut, Google's two platforms offer a quicker, cheaper way to bring notebooks to the market.
Supply chain sources believe that Google's two-prong attack will put even more pressure on Microsoft and its licensing practices for Windows 8. The Redmond company is reportedly offering a discounted bundle to generate Windows 8 sales, but with OEMs moving to Chrome OS, Android and even Ubuntu, the discounts may not be enough in the immediate future.
Google is also taking a shot at Microsoft in the enterprise sector by extending the new Chrome management console to Chrome OS. This will allow businesses to tweak the features of nearly thousands of Chrome OS devices simultaneously from a single place such as setting default Web sites, default Web apps, customized homepage branding and more. This console extension also includes "kiosk" mode settings for public sessions.
Possibly feeling the heat, Microsoft is supposedly including a similar "kiosk" mode in Windows 8.1 called Assigned Access. This will allow the device user profile to be locked down to a single app.