Asus introduced the first-ever convertible laptop and tablet Chromebook, as well as an innovative computer dongle that plugs into an HDMI-equipped monitor and transforms it into a basic computer.
Google announced both upcoming products in a blog post on March 31, along with two other new Chromebooks, one made by Haier and the other by Hisense, that are available for preorders immediately.
The all-metal Asus Chromebook Flip, which is just a little more than a half-inch thick (19/32 of an inch) and weighs less than 2 pounds, will be available later this spring, starting at $249. The Flip is the first Chromebook that can easily convert from a tablet to a laptop with a simple flip, according to Google.
Asus Chromebook Flip includes a Rockchip 3288 processor, a choice of 2GB or 4GB of memory, a choice of 16GB of eMMC storage or 16GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, a 10.1-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) display, an ARM Mali 760 quad-core graphics chip, battery life of up to 10 hours on a charge, an integrated track-pad, Bluetooth 4.0, and built-in 802.11ac WiFi.
Introducing the Innovative Chromebit
While the Chromebook Flip is the first convertible Chromebook ever introduced, the Chromebit dongle is even more intriguing. Google describes the new device as smaller than a candy bar while including everything needed to provide users with a basic, fully featured computer for $99 when it is plugged into any HDMI-equipped monitor.
The Chromebit includes a Rockchip 3288 processor, 2GB of memory, 16GB of eMMC storage, an ARM Mali 760 quad-core graphics chip, a single USB 2.0 port, 802.11ac WiFi capabilities and Bluetooth 4.0.
The Chromebit will be available for purchase later this summer, according to Google.
Meanwhile, two new $149 Chromebooks are available for preorders immediately—the Haier Chromebook 11 from Amazon and the Hisense Chromebook, which will be sold by Walmart.com.
The Haier Chromebook 11 includes a Rockchip 3288 processor, 2GB of memory, 16GB of eMMC storage, an 11.6-inch display, an ARM Mali 760 quad-core graphics chip, a 720P HD camera, a built-in SD card reader, up to 10 hours of battery life on a charge, built-in 802.11ac WiFi, 2 USB 2.0 ports and Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities.
The Hisense Chromebook includes a Rockchip 3288 processor, 2GB of memory, 16GB of eMMC storage, an 11.6-inch display, up to 8.5 hours of battery life on a charge, an ARM Mali 760 quad-core graphics chip, a 720P HD camera, a built-in SD card reader, built-in 802.11ac WiFi, 2 USB 2.0 ports and Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities.
A ruggedized Haier Chromebook 11E for education is also slated for release later this spring, featuring components that are similar to the Haier Chromebook 11, according to Google.
Chromebooks and their desktop brethren Chromeboxes run Google's Chrome operating system and feature a wide range of preinstalled, cloud-based Google services and products, including Google Docs and Google Calendar. Chromebooks allow users to do their work online or offline.
In January, Acer unveiled two new Chromebooks aimed at schools and students, featuring durable construction to hold up under rough treatment and myriad technology features to help students get their schoolwork completed at home or at school. The Acer Chromebook C910, with a 15.6-inch display, and the Acer Chromebook C740, with an 11.6-inch display start at $299.99 for the C910 or at $259.99 for the C740.
The larger Acer C910 is aimed at school lab and classroom uses, where the larger devices can be shared by multiple students. The smaller Acer C740 is a compact Chromebook that fits well in backpacks so it can be easily transported home by students.