Chromebook hardware gets a boost from Intel's Haswell chip as Google and Intel debut new, low-cost Chromebooks.
Seth RosenblattFormer Senior Writer / News
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
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.
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. PTwith 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. PTwith availability on the new Acer Chromebook.
Updated at 2:58 p.m. PTwith a statement from Intel on the Haswell processors that will be powering the new Chromebook models.