HTC plans Chromebook with hybrid Android/Chrome OS

HTC is planning to launch a Chromebook laptop featuring a hybrid of Android and Chrome OS in 2012, despite a disappointing start for Google's cloud-based operating system.

In spite of existing Chromebook vendors Samsung and Acer being expected to notch up combined sales of just 25,000-30,000 by the end of 2011, Far Eastern IT news site DigiTimes reports that HTC is pondering its own Chromebook device featuring a blend of the best of Chrome and Android.

Just what the Taiwanese smartphone and tablet maker has in mind isn't clear, with speculation ranging from a tablet/laptop hybrid like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer to an over-sized tablet-with-sliding-keyboard in the vein of 2008's widely derided HTC Shift.

There's no indication either as to whether HTC plans a dual-boot system like the Shift, which offered users the option of Windows and Windows Mobile, or whether it's planning a custom version of Android with cloud-based functionality via the Chrome browser.

The news comes as Samsung has announced a price cut to the WiFi-only version of its Series 5 Chromebook, bringing it down from its $429 launch price to a more affordable $299.

While that's still not quite the $199 sweet spot that analysts predict is necessary before devices based on Google's cloud-based OS really take off, UK retailer Dixons is still confident about the future of Chrome.

The high-street electronics group predicts that one in every ten computers it sells next year will be a Chromebook, but told the Telegraph newspaper this would rely on "the right mix of hardware partners and a much greater consumer push with regards to the benefits."

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