Asus looks to Chrome OS/Android for $200 netbook

Acer NetbookComputer manufacturer Asus is betting there’s still a pot of gold to be found in the netbook market, despite decline due to growing competition from tablet computing devices.

The company will team up with Intel on a $200-$250 light-weight netbook featuring either Google’s Chrome operating system or Android Honeycomb 3.0, according to a Digitimes report based on sources from an Asus components maker.

The line of netbooks, the report states, will target people seeking a low-cost device primarily for work or Internet browsing and is said to have a June 2011 launch date. Asus plans to ship six million in 2011.

With iPad 2 launch sales close to 1 million in its first weekend, it’s arguable that Asus’ netbook strategy is too late to make a large enough impact to translate into success.

A low price point is perhaps the biggest advantage netbooks have over tablets to stay competitive. At roughly half the cost of wifi-only versions of the iPad 2 ($499) and Motorola Xoom ($599), an Asus low-cost netbook could reasonably grab a portion of the market.

But while it might be cost-effective to use Chrome OS — which hasn’t been in the news much since Google launched its Chrome OS pilot program — Asus would still be going on the assumption that people will want to use it.