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Why Did The CR-48 Chrome OS Notebook Come With An Intel CPU?

We were surprised and disappointed to see that Google chose to equip its Chrome Notebook, the CR-48, with an Intel Atom processor rather than a more fitting partner like an ARM-based Samsung Hummingbird Application processor.

Going for an Intel processor makes it easier to develop, faster to roll out and mass produce; more importantly, it shows that Google wants to position the Chrome OS as a different proposition to Android OS, which is tied to ARM.

That said, Sundar Pichai, Google's VP, confirmed that the operating system is designed to work on different hardware platforms and it was actually the partners (Samsung and Acer) that opted for Intel, possibly because of the common platform (take a netbook, remove Windows, install Chrome).

Still, given that we previewed an ARM-based netbook back in August 2009, one that was manufactured by Pegatron, an Asustek offshoot, there's no practical reason why Google (or its partners) couldn't get Chrome OS to run on one.

What's more, going for ARM would certainly have cost less than adopting Intel; a system-on-chip like the Hummingbird or the Orion will always be cheaper than an CPU+Chipset combo and deliver better peformance per cycle.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.