Taipei, June 1 (CNA) Taiwanese chip designer MediaTek Inc. (聯發科) confirmed on Monday it is developing a mobile chip for use in low-cost laptops running on Google Inc.'s Chrome operating system.
The new chip is expected to hit the market by the end of this year or early next year, MediaTek President C.J. Hsieh (謝清江) said at the company's media and analyst cocktail party at Computex Taipei, the world's second-largest computer trade show.
MediaTek will count multiple major manufacturers of Chromebooks as its clients when their new laptops are released, said Hsieh, who cautioned that the company's customer base in the Chromebook market would be limited initially.
The Hsinchu-based company has been collaborating with Google on several other projects, including a home audio streaming technology that enables users to access music quickly and easily.
It is also developing a SoC for use in the world's first ultra-HD television running on Google's Android TV platform and a new chip designed specifically for wearable devices running Google's Android Wear operating system.
Hsieh's comments came after foreign media reported earlier this year that MediaTek wanted to expand its market from Android-powered tablets and smartphones to Chromebooks, which run mostly on Intel Corp.'s processors.
In late March, Chinese chip maker Rockchip Electronics Co. (瑞芯微) teamed up with such powerful partners such as Asustek (華碩), Haier (海爾) and Hisense (海信) to power their Chromebooks, which start at prices as low as US$100.
Chromebooks are mobile computing devices made by a range of manufacturers that run Google's Chrome OS. They are designed primarily to access cloud services, cloud storage -- typically Google offerings -- and Web-based applications.
Worldwide Chromebook sales to end users are expected to reach 7.3 million units in 2015, a 27 percent increase from 2014, according to a May 21 report by research firm Gartner Inc.
The education market accounted for 72 percent of global Chromebook sales last year, Gartner said.
After Samsung Electronics decided to exit the European Chromebook market and focus on tablets, Taiwan-based Acer Inc. (宏碁) became the No. 1 worldwide Chromebook vendor in 2014, according to Gartner data.
Acer sold more than 2 million Chromebooks in 2014, while Samsung held the No. 2 position with 1.7 million units and Hewlett-Packard Co., a late entrant to the market, was ranked No. 3 with 1 million units shipped last year, Gartner said.
(By Jeffrey Wu) ENDITEM/ls