Intel: Haswell-Based Chromebooks Coming From HP, Acer, Others

Intel officials at IDF say Toshiba also is readying a new Chromebook, and that Asus is preparing a Chromebox mini-PC.

SAN FRANCISCO—Chromebooks from such system makers as Hewlett-Packard, Acer and Toshiba armed with Intel chips based on the new “Haswell” architecture will hit the market later this year, according to the giant chip maker.

In addition, Asus will offer what the company is calling a Chromebox, which is a small system that also runs Google’s Chrome operating system.

Intel officials announced the new systems Sept. 11 during their Intel Developer Forum (IDF) here. With the Haswell-based chips, the new Chromebooks will use less power than current systems, and will offer better performance and battery life, the company said in a statement.

Google officials, not surprisingly, were enthusiastic about the new systems.

“Across the new lineup, the devices offer superb battery life and a variety of new designs—from a light and portable Acer Chromebook, to the large display on the HP Chromebook14, which comes in various colors; from the versatility and portability of the Toshiba Chromebook, to the ASUS Chromebox, suitable anywhere you need a computer,” Caesar Sengupta, product management director for Chromebooks at Google, said in a Sept. 11 post on the company’s blog. “With today’s announcement, now six of the top laptop manufacturers are offering Chromebooks.”

Google created the Chromebooks segment to offer low-cost Chrome-based systems to consumers. Company officials, pointing to numbers from NPD Research, said Chromebooks now make up 20 to 25 percent of the market for computers priced at less than $300. In addition, more than 5,000 schools—more than 20 percent of school districts in the United States—have deployed Chromebooks for students, Sengupta wrote.

Chromebooks also are an important product segment for Intel, which is looking to gain greater traction in the mobile device space that is dominated by systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) designed by ARM and made by such partners as Samsung and Qualcomm. In addition, the systems illustrate the chip maker’s push to have its processor architecture support a wide range of platforms—not only Windows, but also Android, Chrome, Apple’s iOS and Linux.

HP officials on Sept. 11 announced the HP Chromebook 14, which they said will be ready in time for the holiday season starting at $299.99. The new Chromebook is also part of HP’s larger multi-OS strategy that includes Android. Other systems encompassing that strategy include the SlateBook x2, Slate7 and Slate21 all-in-one PC.

“There are customers telling us they are interested in new operating systems and in particular Chromebooks,” Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager of consumer PCs, services and solutions at HP, said in a statement. “We built the HP Chromebook to offer a great experience, choice and affordability, with a design that is truly unique.”

That design includes a 14-inch high-definition screen, a 16GB solid-state drive, High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, and a combination headphone and microphone jack. The system also includes an option of up to 200MB of free data per month over two years of 4G mobile broadband service, enabling users to get Internet access without having to search for WiFi networks.