During last week's Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Google previewed a batch of upcoming Chrome devices based around Intel's 4th-generation Core i processors. As well as revealing new Chromebook models from existing partners Acer and HP, the Mountain View-based multinational also announced two new sign-ups to its cloud-based operating environment in the shape of Toshiba and Asus.
Apart from the odd exception, if you're the kind of person who spends much of your time surfing the web, watching online videos, listening to Internet Radio stations or working with cloud-based documents, the current brood of notebooks running the Chrome operating system offer an inexpensive way to do so. Thanks to Intel's latest low-power Haswell CPUs, Google says that users of the next Chromebook releases can also look forward to spending almost all of the day away from a wall socket.
Though demo units were on display at the event in San Francisco, only HP has officially expanded on the few details offered by Google ... and even then, the specs are a little thin on the ground. The new 13.6 x 9.4 x 0.8 in (345 x 238 x 20 mm), 4.07 lb (1.8 kg) Chromebook from HP will have a 14-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution BrightView display. It's reported capable of booting from cold in just seven seconds and will run for up to 9.5 hours on a single charge of its battery.
The starter Chromebook14 has 2 GB of DDR3 system memory and comes with only 16 GB of included solid state storage, but it does sport a memory card slot and users will get 100 GB of Google Drive cloud storage for two years free of charge. Configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of SSD storage will also be available.
In addition to integrated Wi-Fi, some models will come with 200 MB of free monthly data allowance on T-Mobile's 4G (HSPA+) mobile broadband network (for a period of two years). The new HP device also features both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, and HDMI connectivity. Prices start at a suggested retail of US$299.99.
Google says that the new Acer Chromebook will have a 11.6-inch display, will run for 8.5 hours on a single charge of its battery, and is thinner and lighter than the already available C7 models at 0.75 in (19 mm) thin and 2.76 lb (1.25 kg) respectively. It benefits from the same nippy boot-up time as HP's Chromebook14, and also comes with the same cloud storage offer.
We've no official word on either the Toshiba Chromebook or the Asus Chromebox desktop computer, but all of the new devices should arrive in time for the holidays.
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