HP, Samsung, Acer Chromebooks Offer Speed, Affordability
Hewlett-Packard is the latest company to offer a notebook based on search giant Google's Chrome operating system, designed for lightweight, highly portable devices. The Pavilion 14 boasts a 14-inch display that's about 2 inches wider than other Chromebook notebooks on the market. The notebook carries a starting price of $329.99, which puts it smack in the middle of the small Chromebook market lineup. In addition to HP, Acer, Samsung and, more recently, Lenovo also offer their own Chromebooks, with an emphasis on slim design, wireless connectivity and security features, and of course, an affordable price. The Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel and the Chrome Web browser with an integrated media player. Support for many USB devices, such as cameras, mice, external keyboards and flash drives, is included, using a feature similar to plug-and-play on other operating systems. Chromebooks were first announced at the Google I/O conference in May 2011, and by 2012, schools had become a top consumer of the devices. In addition to their IT benefits for educational organizations, Chromebooks cost less than most high-end tablets—and, according to a report from research firm IDC, require 69 percent less labor to deploy and 92 percent less labor to support. Here's a look at the lineup of Chromebooks now available.