Many of the most popular Chromebooks on the market are super-cheap laptops, with many models priced at between $150 and $250. So you might be forgiven for thinking that part of what makes a Chromebook special is its low price tag… but really the only thing separating a Chromebook from other laptops is the operating system: Chromebooks come with Chrome OS, while most other notebooks ship with Windows, OS X, or occasionally Linux.

Google charges $999 or more for the Chromebook Pixel, which makes sense because it’s a laptop with high-end specs and Chrome OS software. And Dell’s new Chromebook 13 is aimed at  business customers willing to pay $399 to $899 for a Chromebook with strong specs and sturdy build quality.

Now it looks like Asus may also be planning to launch a Chromebook for business users.

asus lineup

Asus released a document to investors recently outlining the company’s current strategy and product lineup. But if you look at the “commercial” section of the image above, you’ll see an unannounced product: a commercial Chromebook.

Right now Asus offers several Chrome OS laptops aimed at consumers, including the Asus C200 and C300 Chromebooks with Intel chips and the Asus C201 and Asuc Chromebook Flip with Rockchip processors. Most models are priced at $300 or lower.

The unannounced commercial Chromebook seems to have a more professional looking case design, a decent range of ports (including HDMI, USB 3.0, and Ethernet jacks), and… well, that’s about all I can make out from the image.

asus chromebook business

While the investor overview document touches on many of the company’s current product categories, it’s interesting to note that almost a third of the pages are related to the Zenfone family of smartphones. Clearly Asus is emphasizing it smartphone business, which makes sense at a time when smartphone shipments continue to grow, while traditional PC shipments seem to have plateaued.

The Asus Zenfone 2 has also received largely positive reviews. I, for one, was pretty impressed with the $299 model, although I still prefer phones with 5 inch screens to 5.5 inch models.

One thing many reviewers have noticed though, is that the Asus Zenfone 2 comes with an awful lot of Asus and third-party apps pre-loaded. Just in case you had any doubt about why Asus loaded so much bloatware on the Zenfone 2, the investor document makes it clear: the Asus ZenUI user interface and app suite is designed to make money for Asus through deals to preload apps, recommend apps, and offer themes, templates, stickers, and more.

zenui monetization

via Notebook Italia

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6 replies on “Asus may be developing a business Chromebook”

  1. I wish ASUS would do this but with a model targeted towards Linux users. Easily sourced driver components in a top-tier business laptop would be awesome.

    And by Linux I mean not-Ubuntu-branded.

    1. Yeah, but there isn’t a big enough market for that, not even potentially. There isn’t much of a market for business Chromebooks yet, the potential is huge. If they can convince enough corporations to replace their workforce’s laptops with Chromebooks, they could sell millions. With companies like Asus, it’s all about scale. Businesses who want to move their IT to the cloud can provide the scale they need. Linux enthusiasts can’t.

      1. Potential? That word means nothing without assurances, in writing. And the current terms and EULA aren’t in line with many big businesses. You’d also want to see a dedicated “Chrome for Business” team at Google with service contracts available before considering. A vendor slapping “Business” on the side of a notebook doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a marketing gimmick.

        Linux has far more potential here. Mostly because it has potential in Enterprise and Gov’t. “Everything flows downhill”. As Enterprise/Gov’t adopts, small business adopts, then consumers. See Microsoft as an example and see the lengths MS is willing to go to in retaining Enterprise and Gov’t (legal or otherwise). This is how the real world works.

      2. There is more business potential for Linux laptops than there are for Chromebooks. Why? Well because about half of all North American IT infrastructure runs on the back of Red Hat Linux, and lesser servers on Debian/CentOS/more.

        Many companies sell IT infrastructure software to manage vertically, which performs better if there is homogony among the top to bottom (enterprise manager servers to single agent PCs). Most companies use such infrastructure software.

        A few companies I’ve been contracted to do IT infrastructure and enterprise deployments for run Linux and are shifting from Windows to Linux on the agent level (the US Navy being one). Generally people buy Dell business class laptops and just waste that money on the license, then use a centrally managed Linux image to flash the company/government image onto a wiped Windows partition.

        If these hardware vendors could get that through their thick skulls they’d make a fortune. If they offered even Windows/Chromebook laptops that said “verified to work on Linux Kernel X for all hardware inside” they’d drive up business for these scenarios, to a degree chromebook or OSX could never hope to achieve.

        1. ^^If they offered even Windows/Chromebook laptops that said “verified to work on Linux Kernel X for all hardware inside”

          All my Wintel powered hardware from the last 5 years works just fine with Linux. It’s peripherals and add-on cards that I have to shop carefully for. Even my ‘cheap as dirt’ Haswell Toshiba laptop works fine (ACPI drivers weren’t complete until 4.0 but it still works.) Most developers and those in IT know this, the rest don’t care.

          ^^they’d drive up business for these scenarios, to a degree chromebook or OSX could never hope to achieve.

          They’re more likely to lose sales by confusing consumers. ASUS is a consumer brand first and foremost.

        2. On the server yes, but not on the client desktop.

          You can get Linux on your Chromebook (or Windows on your Chromebook) by Chrome Remoting to a Linux desktop, or connecting to a Linux server via SSH or https (Broadway display server or VMWare/Cisco https display protocols).

          That is the way to go for Linux since Linux is dominant on the server and that is how Chromebooks run applications – by running them on a server.

          Putting Linux on a Chromebook keeping the nice things like zero maintenance (actually Google maintenance) provided by ChromeOS without going into developer mode is problematic because Google maintains the ChromeOS. If you want a maintained laptop then Google would have to also maintain Linux and all the Linux apps you can install which makes Chromebooks expensive to maintain. Hence Google won’t do it.

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