Google Announces Expanded Chromebook Lineup

Acer, Asus, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, LG and Toshiba will soon be releasing new Chromebook machines, with a range of Intel Celeron, Core i3 and other CPUs.


Google's expanding Chromebook computer series is again getting various new Intel-equipped models, this time with Celeron or Core i3 processors from a wide range of manufacturers including Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba.

The latest new machines were announced by Bill Brougher, director of Google's Chrome OS Partner Engineering, in a May 6 post on The Chrome Blog.

"Together with Intel, today we're announcing a new lineup of Chromebooks with Intel inside from leading manufacturers Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG and Toshiba—spanning an entire range of shapes, sizes, colors and configurations," wrote Brougher.

Among the new devices are Lenovo's N20p Chromebook and Thinkpad YOGA 11e Chromebook, which offer various options for touchscreens and hinge designs; the Asus C200 11-inch Chromebook and the Asus 13-inch C300 Chromebook; a new Dell Chromebook 11; a new Acer C720 Chromebook; and a new 13-inch model from Toshiba, wrote Brougher. Also arriving over the next few months is a new Chromebox from HP as well as the LG Chromebase, which is the first all-in-one computer running Chrome OS.

The Chromebook line has been continuing to grow over the past year as Google and its partners focus on providing alternative machines in the consumer, business and education markets.

The inclusion of fourth-generation Intel Core i3 processors in some of the new machines is part of the strategy of adding more options for users who want more performance and multi-tasking capabilities, a Google spokesperson told eWEEK.

Google's Chrome OS team, Intel and their partner hardware companies announced the latest offerings at an event in San Francisco on May 6.

Six of the new Chromebooks will include Intel Celeron processors, Megan Langer, a spokeswoman for Intel, told eWEEK in an reply to an email inquiry. "These are the first devices based with Celeron based on the Bay Trail-M system-on-chip [SoC]. We also announced a Chromebox from HP and a Chromebase from LG—all with Celeron."

The SoC-equipped devices will help the machines deliver up to 11 hours of battery life for users, according to Intel.

"Intel has grown to become the No. 1 microprocessor in Chrome systems," Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of Intel Mobile Client Platforms Group, said in a statement at the event. "We've been working on five generations of Chrome and after Google, Intel is the largest contributor to the Chromium OS. Intel chips are the first and only to support 64-bit Chrome OS."

The new models of Chromebooks will mean that Intel processors will now be found inside 20 Chromebook devices by later this year, up from four models in September 2013, according to Intel.

Lenovo's machines, the N20 Chromebook and N20p Chromebook, will be its first Chromebooks aimed at consumers. The N20 "provides the familiar comfort of a traditional laptop," while the N20p Chromebook features a multimode design including laptop and stand modes, according to Intel.

The upcoming Asus 11.6-inch C200 and 13.3-inch C300 machines will begin shipping this summer. Meanwhile, the next-generation 2014 Chromebook from Acer will feature a Celeron processor based on the Bay Trail-M SoC and has a new thinner, lighter and quieter design, Intel reported.

A new feature for all updated Celeron Chromebooks in the future is Intel wireless 802.11ac connectivity for improved throughput for users.

Chromebooks from Dell and Acer that are built with the 4th generation Intel Core i3 processors will start at $349 for performance-minded users who want that extra power, according to Shenoy.

The HP Chromeboxes will be available for retail sale in the United States in June, including Celeron processors based on the Haswell microarchitecture. The new LG Chromebase all-in-one computer will be priced at $349 and is expected to be available for sale on May 26 through various retailers, including Amazon, Fry's Electronics, Micro Center, Newegg and Tiger Direct. I

Google has been busy with Chromebook announcements in recent months.

In April 2014, Google and its partner VMware offered $200 Chromebook rebates for Windows XP users who wanted to move to Chromebooks from the now unsupported, 12-year old Windows XP operating system.

In February 2014, Google announced its first-ever Chromebox for meetings product, which brings together a desktop Chromebox along with Google Apps and Google+ Hangouts to offer an easy way for far-flung businesspeople to hold meetings with participants around the world.

The new Chromebox for meetings hardware included an Asus Chromebox with an Intel Core i7 processor, a 1080p high-definition Webcam with a Carl Zeiss lens that supports up to 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, a combined microphone and speaker unit, and a remote control unit, according to Google. The device lets users set their meeting rooms up in minutes and manage all meeting rooms from a Web-based management console. Up to 15 people at a time can join in on a Chromebook for meetings.

In January, Toshiba and LG Electronics unveiled new Chromebook devices at the Consumer Electronics Show, including LG's all-in-one desktop machine, called a Chromebase. The new offerings mean that eight manufacturers are now building Chromebooks around the world.

In June 2013, Google expanded its network of dealers for its Chromebooks by beginning to sell them through Walmart and Staples stores, raising the number of outlets for the devices to some 6,600 stores. The move added the Walmart and Staples stores to the existing Chromebook retail outlets through Best Buy and Consumers are also able to purchase the machines via Staples online while business users will be able to buy them through the Staples Advantage B2B program.

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 with less need for on-machine storage for large applications and files.