Toshiba's Latest Chromebook 2 Gets Faster CPUs

In addition to faster processors, the new Chromebooks feature higher-resolution displays and backlit keyboards, and will be available with up to 4GB of RAM.

Toshiba, Chromebooks, Chromebook 2, Google Chrome, laptops, mobile computer

Toshiba ungraded its Chromebook 2 line with faster fifth-generation Intel Core i3 or Celeron processors and several other improvements.

The latest Chromebook 2 versions are getting the faster CPUs to replace fourth-generation Intel processors of previous versions, the company recently announced. Also coming in the new versions are LED backlit keyboards for easier use in dark places as well as displays with high resolution. The new machines will be available with up to 4GB of RAM for increased performance.

"As more people use Chromebooks for productivity and rely more often on the Web for content creation and entertainment, devices need to be better equipped for these higher processing demands and built with hardware features that optimize Chrome OS," Philip Osako, senior director of product marketing for the digital products division of Toshiba America Information Systems, said in a statement. "With the launch of our latest Chromebook 2 models, Toshiba delivers brilliant performance for an outstanding experience on and off the Web with entertainment-inspired hardware features that make the most of Chrome OS and enable customers to get things done faster wherever their Chromebook 2 takes them."

The latest Toshiba Chromebook 2, which will be available in October, will include a 13.3-inch diagonal Full HD (1920 by 1080) In-Plane Switching (IPS) display that can be read at an angle, front-facing stereo speakers from Skullcandy, dual array microphones and an HD Webcam.

The Chromebook 2 will also include an estimated 8.5-hour battery life as well as 802.11ac WiFi, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) output, an SD card slot and a security lock slot. The Chromebook 2 measures 12 inches across and weighs 2.9 pounds.

The devices are priced at $329.99 with an Intel Celeron processor or $429.99 with an Intel Core i3 processor.

Google has been promoting Chromebooks since the first one debuted 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.

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

In April, Asus introduced the first convertible laptop and tablet Chromebook, the all-metal Asus Chromebook Flip, starting at $249. The machine 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 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.

In January, Acer unveiled two new Chromebooks geared for schools and students. The machines are designed to hold up under rough treatment and include features to help students complete their schoolwork at home or at school. The Acer Chromebook C910 with a 15.6-inch display starts at $299.99, and the Acer Chromebook C740 with an 11.6-inch display starts at $259.99. The Acer C910 is aimed at school lab and classroom uses, where the larger devices can be shared by multiple students. The Acer C740 is a compact Chromebook that fits well in backpacks so it can be easily transported home by students.