Chrome developer François Beaufort has posted a screenshot that apparently has been taken on Samsung’s upcoming Chrome OS desktop PC. The big news here is that the hardware-accelerated Aura UI that promises a much richer interface for the user while leveraging the horsepower of a graphics chip will be part of Stumpy. The Chromebox will also integrate more hardware horsepower with an Intel Sandy Bridge processor.
By now we know that the first two Chrome OS computers, offered by Samsung and Acer in a netbook form factor, pretty much flopped, while Google decided to shoot down a much more promising device on trademark violation claims. As Chrome is a cornerstone of Google’s product strategy, it is unlikely that Chrome OS PCs will simply fade and CES revealed that some new devices are on the way, even if the enthusiasm for Chrome OS is much more subdued than it was a year ago.
The one device we believe is waiting for is Samsung’s Stumpy, which is the code name for a desktop Chrome computer (that will be offered next to “Lumpy”, possibly a new Chrome OS netbook). Courtesy of François Beaufort, we learned that Stumpy will be much more powerful than the underpowered and overpriced first-generation products. The test platform of Stumpy uses Intel’s Core i5-2520M processor, which was part of the original Sandy Bridge launch in Q1 2011 and may be replaced with a more up-to-date processor in the production version. The dual-core 2520M runs at 2.5 GHz/3.2 GHz at a thermal design power of 35 watts.
Compared to the 1.6 GHz Atom in the first Chrome OS netbooks, there is substantially more horsepower on tap, there is an opportunity for powerful graphics cards (Intel HD Graphics 3000 at 650 MHz/1.3 GHz are integrated by default) and up to 16 GB of supported DDR3 memory suggest that this will be a much more capable cloud computing device. On the downside, the 2520M lists for a tray price of $225 and if Samsung can’t get a good deal from Intel, we should expect Stumpy to retail for more than $500 because of the processor alone.
The Stumpy surprise is the subtle hint that it is already running the Chrome Aura interface, which departs from the current legacy Chrome interface and features a new UI that leverages GPU acceleration capabilities of a computer. Along with the changes under the hood, we expect a few visual updates that moves the Chrome UI much closer to the capability of a local OS such as Windows. There was no information when Stumpy could be released, but it appears as if this is a much better planned product and not the rapid shot the initial Chrome OS devices were. If Google can contain the price of these new boxes, they should be much more appealing than their predecessors.
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