New Chromebooks and Androidbooks Coming Soon


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Chromebook manufacturers are gearing up for their next round of upgrades. According to DigiTimes , Acer will release a new 11.6-inch model in July. The new machine is expected to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor , the C7, and will be geared toward students.

Acer's new Chromebook is set to ship at a time when the firm's sales have plummeted. Last year, Acer reportedly shipped anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 Chromebooks per month. DigiTimes' sources claimed that shipments plunged in January, with estimates falling between 20,000 and 30,000 units. This prompted Acer to take action and release another upgrade.

These shipment figures seem to contradict a previous DigiTimes report, which claimed that the Chromebook's lifetime sales had yet to reach 500,000 units.

To be clear, there is a significant difference between the number of units that are shipped and the number of units that are sold. However, if Acer had enough orders to ship 150,000 units per month before Christmas, one would imagine that the lifetime sales were higher than previously estimated.

Acer is not the only company set to ship new Chromebooks in the latter half of the year. Asus, which previously had no plans to build a notebook for Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ), will reportedly release its first Chromebook in 2013.

Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) are also expected to release new Chromebooks this year, along with upgrades from Samsung.

At the same time, Google is reportedly "cooperating" with Samsung, Asus, Hewlett-Packard and Acer for a series of new Androidbooks.

DigiTimes' sources believe that by releasing two entirely different kinds of laptops, Google -- together with its many partners -- will force Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) to "take a more cautious approach when making strategies for licensing fees or entering the hardware business."

While Microsoft had historically produced operating systems and other software exclusively for its vendors, the company decided to get into tablet manufacturing last fall when it released the first Surface.

The second Surface is expected to be released this summer, but that may not be all that the Windows maker has planned.

Next month Microsoft will unveil its third-generation Xbox. The console, which is tentatively being referred to as Xbox 720 by the gaming press, is rumored to be released alongside an Xbox-themed tablet. Microsoft is expected to use the unconfirmed device to bolster the Xbox brand while strengthening its position against Sony (NYSE: SNE ) and Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY ), both of which already produce handheld gaming devices.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

(c) 2013 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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