With notebook shipments falling along with the rest of the PC market, PC manufacturers are not looking to smaller PCs and tablets to shore up business. Chromebooks, which are generally small and inexpensive are one of the only segments of the PC market that are actually seeing growth. With these facts in mind, it's not surprising that PC manufacturer Asus is now rumored to be preparing a Chromebook for release before the end of the year.
DigiTimes this week reported that Asus is preparing to release its first Chromebook during the fourth quarter of 2013. The report's unnamed "sources from the upstream supply chain" are cited as saying Asus is expecting to sell limited volumes of the notebooks in the education sector.
This news comes just as Asus has revised down its estimates for this year's notebook shipments. According to DigiTimes, the manufacturer now expects to only ship 17 to 19 million notebooks, down from estimates as high as 24 million earlier this year. Asus is now reportedly focusing on non-touchscreen notebooks, though it is expected to announce a refreshed lineup of hybrid notebook/tablet devices in September.
Asus already has a close relationship with Google as the manufacturer behind the Nexus 7. The first version of Google's mini-tablet sold well, despite competition from the iPad Mini and Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets. Even with the mini-tablet market now more crowded than ever, Asus is expecting to sell well over 3 million of its refreshed Nexus 7 tablets this year.