SAN FRANCISCO -- Google and Intel dabbled with a dalliance last year, but now they're all in as the two tech titans revealed a new lineup on Tuesday of more than 20 Intel-driven devices across several major hardware manufacturers that all run Chrome OS.
The partnership sees Intel-powered Chromebooks jump from four Haswell devices announced in September to a vast range of Bay Trail, Haswell, and 4th generation Core i3 laptops and desktop boxes. Intel has a long partnership with Google's Chrome OS, stretching back to the original Chrombook prototype, the Cr-48, and part of today's announcements was that all the Chrome OS devices shown off at the event had their Intel chips made using conflict-free metals. The news marks the strongest commitment yet between the two companies
Chromebooks are laptops for Google's Chrome-based operating system. They first debuted as a public prototype in late 2010, with the first Chromebook laptop reaching consumers six months later. They currently make up a quarter of the sub-$300 market, and are used in more than 10,000 schools across the US -- up from 5,000 half a year ago.
Chromebooks, as well as their desktop cousins, called the Chromebox, give Google a toehold in parts of the wider computer business where Android isn't available.
Rumors of a Chrome OS tablet have proven to be wrong again, but the new Celeron Bay Trail Chromebooks tout 11 hours of battery life on devices made by most of the major PC makers: Acer, Asus, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, LG, and Toshiba. Notably missing from the lineup is Google's first commercial Chrome OS partner, Samsung.
The news follows the announcement of Lenovo's first consumer Chromebooks last night, including the N20p touchscreen model. Today, Lenovo announced that the Yoga Chromebook will be available in a 64-bit model powered by the energy-sipping, high-speed Bay Trail chip.
Other new Bay Trail-driven devices include the 2014 model of Acer's Chromebook and Asus' 11.6-inch C200 Chromebook and 13.3-inch C300 Chromebook, shipping later this summer.
All the new Bay Trail Chromebooks will come with 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips.
Not all of the new Chrome OS-devices are Bay Trail-based Chromebooks. Acer and Dell debuted new 4th generation Core i3-powered laptops, Dell with an i3-driven update to the Chromebook 11, and Acer with an update to its C720 Chromebook for $349.99 available later this year.
New details emerged for two previously announced Chrome OS devices. HP's colorful Haswell-powered Chromebox will arrive in US stores in June, while LG's Chromebase, the 21-inch all-in-one on display at CES 2013, will hit Amazon, Fry's Electronics, Micro Center, Newegg, and Tiger Direct on May 26 for $349.
As Google and Intel develop a deeper backbench for low-cost Chrome OS devices, one big question looms large for their future: What about the high-end market?
Microsoft's not saying much right now, but it's hard to imagine Redmond will sit idly by as Intel diversifies its operating-system partnerships.
Update at 12:15 p.m. with additional details.