Haswell signs up four new Chromebooks

Chromebook hardware gets a boost from Intel's Haswell chip as Google and Intel debut new, low-cost Chromebooks.

Google and Intel debuted four Chromebook models with Haswell chips, including two from new Chromebook makers Asus and Toshiba. Google

A new line of Chromebooks is coming soon powered by Intel's battery-sipping, high-speed Haswell chips.

Google and Intel announced the models from Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Asus, and Toshiba at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Because of their Haswell-based internals, these new Chromebooks are expected to have a battery life in the range of 9 hours. And following the lead of the popular $250 Samsung Series 3 Chromebook and Acer's $199 C7 Chromebook, they're expected to cost under $300 for the Wi-Fi only models, as opposed to Google's high-end, $1,300 Chromebook Pixel.

Google didn't have much to say about any of the models, leaving the details to the Chromebook makers to announce. An Acer representative confirmed that its new Chromebook will be available "in time for the holidays."

Intel representative Bill Calder said that the new Chromebooks won't bear the Haswell branding because they're not using the full Haswell architecture. "They're a variant that will carry Pentium and Celeron brands. They're flagship Core processors, but not with all the same features," he told CNET. "They have different speeds, different cache levels."

Some highlights from the new Chromebooks include multiple colors and an optional, pricier 4G model for the upcoming HP Chromebook14, and what appears to be a boxier, less rectangular design for Asus' coming Chromebox as compared with the Samsung Series 3 Chromebox from 2012.

The HP Chromebook14 will come with a 14-inch display, a 16 GB solid-state hard drive, an HDMI port, one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port, and a combined headphone and microphone jack. T-Mobile will be providing 200 MB of free monthly mobile broadband service for the 4G model, and Google will include 100 GB of free storage on Google Drive for two years. The base model will start at $299.99.

A view of the as-yet-unnamed Acer Chromebook with Intel's Haswell processor. Acer

Google has scored something of an unexpected hit with the low-cost Chrome OS-powered hardware, which now makes up somewhere between one-fifth and one-quarter of the sub-$300 PC market, according to NPD.

Schools have driven much of this adoption, as more than 5,000 schools in 20 percent of districts in the US have given Chromebooks to their students.

Beyond academic interests, Google hopes the newly announced Chrome Apps will serve to bolster two of Chrome OS' major weaknesses: offline support and app design that can compete with mobile platforms.

Updated at 11:13 a.m. PT with more details on the new Chromebook models. CNET will update this story with specifications on the new Chromebooks when we learn them.

Updated at 1:09 p.m. PT with availability on the new Acer Chromebook.

Updated at 2:58 p.m. PT with a statement from Intel on the Haswell processors that will be powering the new Chromebook models.

 

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