Acer is set to launch its latest Chromebook 14 machine in North America this month in a variety of configurations of included memory, storage space and display types.
The Chromebook 14 by Acer includes the first 14-inch display used by the company in one of its Chromebook devices as well as a tough all-aluminum chassis that's wrapped in an aluminum outer case.
The 14-inch display is the largest used by Acer in a Chromebook so far, with a screen size that's about 20 percent larger than the displays on its 11-inch models. The new machine is available in versions with HD or full HD displays, as well as with 2GB or 4GB of dual channel LPDDR3 SDRAM memory and 16GB or 32GB of eMMC flash storage.
The Chromebook 14 can be configured with a choice of Intel Celeron quad-core or dual-core N3060 processors for productivity tasks, Web browsing, video streaming and other activities, and either an HD (1,366-by-768) display or a full HD (1,920-by-1,080) display. Each Chromebook 14 includes a fanless design for quiet performance.
The new all-aluminum chassis and exterior case on the latest Chromebook 14, which was added to provide extra strength in everyday use, are Acer's first attempts at using the materials in a Chromebook. The aluminum case features a hairline-brush finish and rounded corners. The machine is 13.4 inches wide, 9.3 inches deep and 0.7 inches thick and weighs about 3.4 pounds.
Configured with an HD display, the Acer Chromebook 14 provides up to about 14 hours of claimed battery life, while the full HD display offers up to a claimed 12 hours of use, according to Acer. A 3,950mAh Li-Polymer battery powers the machine.
Users will have access to two USB 3.1 ports—the first ever in an Acer Chromebook—as well as an HDMI port. Also included are Bluetooth 4.2 and MIMO 802.11ac/a/b/g/n WiFi connectivity.
Another feature of the Chromebook 14 is an HD Webcam with an 88-degree wide-angle lens that provides a wide field of view for Web conferencing and other tasks. Also included is HD audio with dual stereo speakers and an integrated digital microphone.
Pricing starts at $299.99 for a full HD model with 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage.
The system, which is aimed at consumers, students and businesses, can easily be configured for easy sharing among multiple users, with each user having a separate user account for his or her work. Users can then log into their secure, separate accounts to access Gmail, Google Docs, Website bookmarks and more. They can do their work online or offline.
"With its industry-leading battery life of up to 14 hours, the Acer Chromebook 14 is an important new product in Acer's award-winning Chromebook line," Jerry Kao, president of Acer Notebook Business Group, said in a statement. "Customers have a wide range of needs for battery life, size, performance and features, and our line of Acer Chromebooks is expanding to make sure customers get exactly what they want. The Chromebook 14 is an excellent choice for customers who want a stylish, large-screen Chromebook with long battery life at an attractive price."
Earlier in March, a new research report by ABI Research found that global Chromebook sales were up 27.1 percent in 2015 compared with 2014, and are expected to grow by 21.2 percent in 2016 compared with 2015. Chromebook shipments in 2015 hit 6.2 million in 2015 and are projected by ABI to hit 7.6 million in 2016 and 11.6 million in 2021.
In comparison, laptop shipments hit 129.7 million in 2015 and are expected to drop to 126.1 million in 2016 and to 116.3 million in 2021. Ultraportable shipments will increase, based on ABI estimates, from 27.1 million in 2015 to 30 million in 2016 and 41.2 million in 2021. All three segments combined included shipments of 163 million machines in 2015. ABI estimates that the combined shipments will hit 163.7 million in 2016 and 169.1 million in 2021.
Chromebooks will to continue to dominate the education market in 2016, according to the ABI research, as school initiatives drive toward 1:1 student deployments with a technology device. "And though the majority of Chromebooks historically shipped in the U.S., the education trend is beginning to see growth in other regions, notably Western Europe. ABI Research predicts that Chromebooks will represent nearly 7% of all notebook PC shipments in 2021."