Dell Launches Premium Chromebook for Business Users

The new Dell Chromebook 13 is a well-equipped machine aimed at business users who want all-day battery life and high performance.  

Dell Chromebook

Dell has unveiled the Chromebook 13, the company's first premium-level business Chromebook that incorporates features and security required by enterprise users.

The new device was announced by the company on Aug. 13, featuring a 13.3-inch display, a choice of processors up to 5th generation Intel Core i5 CPUs, up to 12 hours of battery life and more. The Chromebook 13 runs on the Google Chrome operating system and provides users with manageability and security software and applications that are built for business users.

"Our latest Chromebook offering is designed for the mobile professional, and provides customers with an unrivaled Chrome experience which mixes the cost and simplicity benefits of Google's Chrome portfolio with Dell's commitment to design," Kirk Schell, vice president and general manager of commercial client solutions at Dell, said in a statement. "Not only does the [product] offer customers a superior mobile working experience, but with the availability of Dell's leading security, management and ProSupport Plus service, it is also easy to integrate into wider device ecosystems."

The Chromebook 13, which starts at $399, can be configured with a wide range of performance, speed and mobility options, including Intel Celeron, Core i3 or Core i5 processors with up to 8GB of RAM, according to Dell. The quick boot times of Chromebook devices is a big benefit for business users, while collaboration tools such as a built-in 720p HD video Webcam, a full HD IPS display and dual array microphones can be used for online meetings through Google Hangouts.

The Chromebook 13 chassis is built from premium materials, including a carbon fiber weave cover, a magnesium alloy palm rest and an aluminum base. The bright display is covered with a Corning Gorilla Glass NBT surface while a backlit keyboard and precision touchpad provide improved usability and accuracy for users.

Also included with the Dell Chromebook 13 are Dell's manageability, security and desktop virtualization products to make deployment and security easier for business IT departments.

Inventory management and service desk support for users is provided through Dell KACE, while the Dell SonicWALL Mobile Connect (VPN) app, in combination with a Dell Secure Mobile Access appliance or next-generation firewall, provide secure access to authorized company resources, access reporting and tracking, according to Dell. Optional Content Filter subscription services are available with Dell firewalls to provide URL filtering and browser protection. Dell Wyse vWorkspace desktop virtualization software allows business users to securely access Windows applications on the new Chromebook 13 via the vWorkspace Connector for Chrome OS. Also offered is Google's cloud-based management console to simplify deployment, and centrally manage, update and track systems.

"Working in a high paced environment like The Weather Channel, it's essential we have the right technologies in place so we can stay up to date with the latest information and power our continuous coverage," Nicholas Gardner, the senior director of corporate technology for The Weather Co., said in a statement. "The Dell Chromebook 13 we've been testing has provided us with a secure, powerful and easy to manage device that we can use both in the office and on location. We're excited by its potential and look forward to seeing it come to market."

Dell's ProSupport Plus program for PCs and tablets is also available to Dell Chromebook 13 customers. ProSupport Plus combines priority access to expert support 24x7, repair for drops, spills and other mishaps, and a Technical Account Manager (TAM) for customers with more than 1,000 devices.

The devices will be available starting Sept. 17 in the U.S. and Canada.

Google has been promoting Chromebooks since the first one was unveiled in June 2011, two years after the company introduced the Chrome OS, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Now, four years later, Google's effort is paying off with steady growth of Chromebook production and sales.