Let me contend that the leading contenders for this business, which could amount to hundreds of millions of semiconductors on annualized basis, within only a couple of short years, are these: Qualcomm ( QCOM), Nvidia ( NVDA), Intel ( INTC), Samsung and Broadcom ( BRCM). Qualcomm hasn't yet made a CPU for Chrome OS, but it's the leader in basebands. One would not want to bet against Qualcomm being involved in a future Chromephone or Chromepad. Nvidia has made CPUs for Android, but its integrated baseband -- the Tegra 4i -- hasn't yet shipped. However, it may be ready in time for delivering product by the second quarter of 2014. Still, not as likely as Qualcomm or Intel.
I envision that Google will start creating its own reference hardware for Chromepads and Chromephones -- as well as for Android, augmenting its current and much-beloved Nexus program where it works with partners such as Samsung, Asus and LG. How Would Chromephones Be Sold? Google will likely take an all-of-the-above approach to selling the mobile Chrome OS devices. This includes retail such as Wal-Mart ( WMT) and Amazon ( AMZN), as well as Google's own Web site. One can easily envision Google promoting these products more prominently in the Chrome browser, on its main search page.