Intel unloads bevy of new Chromebooks; previews 'Education' reference design

Intel unloads bevy of new Chromebooks; previews 'Education' reference design

Summary: All in all, Intel is gearing up to release at least 20 Chromebooks by the end of the year.

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SAN FRANCISCO--Intel is putting further stock into its Chromebook investment with a slew of new budget-friendly laptops alongside a few other Chrome OS-based computing devices.

Unveiled during a press conference on Tuesday morning, the processor giant has tapped nearly every major PC vendor on the map for a contribution to the portfolio.

All in all, Intel is gearing up to release at least 20 Chromebooks by the end of the year -- up from just four in September 2013. Intel further boasted that it will be involved in releasing the first to feature 64-bit Chrome OS.

Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile client platforms group, asserted during the presentation that Intel is "aggressively pursuing" new form factors from tablets to wearables and all that comes with the Internet of Things movement.

Starting with what might already be considered the traditional Chromebook model for consumers, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and Toshiba are focusing on the consumer demographic with the first Chromebooks running on Intel Celeron processors based on the Bay Trail-M system-on-chip platform.

Business customers on the road frequently might want to take a second look at these fanless machines being that the Bay Trail-M SoC promises up to 11 hours of battery life while supporting touch-enabled screens and 802.11ac wireless internet.

See also: CNET's live blog from Google's and Intel's Chrome OS event

Acer along with Dell are also going slightly higher-end with their versions by embedding the fourth-generation Intel Core i3 processor.

Intel suggested the more powerful platform should smooth out some bugs when loading rich web apps up to four times faster faster as well as boost performance for Google Hangouts with multiple parties, making it more acceptable for video conferencing while on-the-go.

Intel didn't provide exact ship dates for every model introduced on Tuesday, but the Asus 11.6-inch C200 and 13.3-inch C300 will be ready for back-to-school season when they ship this summer. The i3-based Acer C720 Chromebook will also become available "early" in the back-to-school shopping season with a sticker price of $349.99.

While also touting many of these lightweight PCs as ideal for students, Intel is further honing its education strategy.

Caesar Sengupta, vice president of Chrome OS product management at Google, cited that Chromebooks have already been deployed at more than 10,000 schools to date.

Highlighting "great momentum in the commercial segment," Sengupta stressed that "we're just at the beginning of the back-to-school buying season."

Sengupta also boasted success for Chrome OS in the business market, pointing toward Chromebox for Meetings, the all-in-one video conferencing setup unveiled last year. Current Chromebox for Business customers mentioned included Kaplan, Appirio, and Logitech, among others.

Looking forward, the chip maker offered a glimpse at its "Education Chromebook" reference design.

Shenoy held up the white clamshell prototype, noting that the technology inside was previously available on Windows, continuing that Intel is "now bringing that innovation and investment to Chrome."

Intel is still keeping most of the details on this project under wraps, hinting at most of education slant held up by software. Shenoy did offer that CTL will be the first OEM to bring the Education Chromebook reference design to market later this year.

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Stepping away from Chromebooks, Google is setting its sights larger again -- at least in terms of form factor -- with another stab at the Chromebox.

Following previous collaborations with Asus and Android ecosystem giant Samsung, Google is working with Hewlett-Packard this time on a new Chromebox that will launch in the United States in June with three shades to choose from: black, white and sky blue.

Based on Intel Celeron and Haswell architectures, the tech giant affirmed that the HP Chromebox will essentially be able to turn any screen into a Google Chrome-based PC.

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Intel is also lowering the bar, financially speaking, for desktops with the launch of LG's 21-inch Chromebase all-in-one PC, scheduled to ship later this month for $349.99.

Images: James Martin, CNET

Topics: PCs, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Processors

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39 comments
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  • I Smell Desperation!

    Now that the PC market has imploded and Windows 8 tabs never took off, Intel is desperately trying to ignite a new product category.

    Problem is... the Chrome OS is a sideshow.

    Who in the world would shell out laptop money just to be restricted to using a web browser only as their sole OS?

    Their market is folks who were born yesterday, are mentally retarded, or just landed on planet earth.
    orandy
    • Of course only your opinion matters

      I'm sure when Intel reads your comment they'll kill off all Chrome based devices
      FrankInKy
      • Either that or

        ... market would force Intel to kill off all these CB joker devices. Pick your poison.
        LBiege
    • Simplicity, Security, Speed

      Those are the 3 S of Chrome OS, everyone needs it. This is why Chrome OS outsells everything else anywhere it's available for sale. Intel is just afraid for x86 being irrelevant for the Chrome OS market, which it already is even as thus far only two Exynos5250 Chromebooks have been launched. All this further push just proves further than x86 is irrelevant. Consumers don't care if it's ARM or x86 inside, they just care to get the best value for their money. ARM pushes all prices down and creates the most value.
      charbax@...
      • Re: Simplicity, Security, Speed

        I am curious what is the market share of Chromebooks in the general laptop market (including ultrabooks). Anybody knows this? I don't know a single person that owns it and thought that it was marginal product, but maybe I am wrong or just coincidence not to know anybody that owns one (I know, not a likely one...).
        JustWorldB
        • stats for 2013

          for consumers laptop they had a 20% market share (was less than 2% the year before).
          Jean-Pierre-
    • or only want a browser and a few offline apps

      Or want devices ideally suited to be shared.

      No, ChromeOS doesn't do as much as Windows, but that makes Chromebooks and Chromeboxes much easier to administer.

      ChromeOS may have no value for you, but you are not representative of ALL users. Only a moron would fail to understand that.
      hrlngrv 
    • One of my users purchased a Chromebook

      She asked if she could put MS Office on it since she could purchase it for $10 through our Campus Agreement. I just laughed and told her well no, you just paid ~$200.00 for a glorified browser, I would send it back as fast as you can.

      And that is WHY chrome books are a waste of time, nothing but a browser. I wonder if you could put Windows 7 or 8 on it and actually make it useful, for an Intel version at least.
      hoppmang
      • You didn't tell her she could use Office365?

        You are not much of a support person, are you?
        anothercanuck
        • People aren't always connected to the internet.

          ForeverCookie
        • Office365 still needs a desktop OS

          One of you two is definitely not qualified to be a support person, and it's NOT HIM.
          LBiege
          • I don't use MS products myself.

            I am just going by what the Office365 website says. Not my fault if the Office365 website is mis-leading users. It says it's a cloud service.

            The common definition of a cloud service means the local OS is irrelevant, which applies to Google Docs, Mail, etc.

            Guess I should have known MS would make up their own definition for 'cloud service'.
            My mistake, sorry.
            anothercanuck
          • You don't need a desktop OS for Officer 365

            Office 365 works just fine on a Chromebook. I have it running on mine. You can use Officer 365 without an internet connection but it won't sync with your OneDrive until you do.
            im_red
          • ....Office365 still needs a desktop OS......

            Online version of Word is available at the Chrome store. On my Asus Chromebox I am using Word online and Microsoft One Drive to collaborate with my co-workers. No Windows desktop needed. And while lots of work CAN be done when not connected to the internet, this really has not been an issue. On the rare occasions that wi-fi is not available I just tether to my phone. (You would do this on any OS when not connected).

            It should not be so hard for all of the "power users" out there to realize that there are literally Millions of us that can function just fine without a full office suite on a Windows desktop. You may not be one of them. I fully appreciate that. Everyone is not like you.

            And don't tell me that I can buy a Windows system for the same price as a Chrome OS system. Any sub $300 Windows systems are really too under powered for a good Windows experience. My $179 Asus Chromebox performs well for MY needs, as does my $199 Acer Chromebook. Again, they meet MY needs. And they apparently are right for lots of others too. Inexpensive, secure, and easy to administer they just work for many users.

            Microsoft understands the power of working in the cloud. Why don't you?
            tietchen
      • You're not much of a support person

        You're not a very good problem solver if the best solution you could come up wtih is "send your computer back."

        Glad you don't work for me.

        It never fails to amaze me how locked in some of you guys are to MS products. If it doesn't involve windows, you're totally lost.
        spackle
        • Well, the average desktop support person......

          ....has an IQ you can count on one hand.
          Mah
        • I sure agree with you, spackle.

          That support guy is a slacker if ever there was one. If he worked for me his last pay-check would be delivered today.
          BoxOfParts
    • Chromebook a bliss

      I am more than happy to move completely to Chomebooks & Chromeboxes.

      I started with Dos, to Windos 3.1 all the way up to Windows 8.1 pro. The headaches keep growing. Updating is a pain in the ass. From Lotus 1-2-3 to Office 365 and OpenOffice.

      I stayed away from all the I-stuff. It looks good usually it works well ...bloody expensive and though rarely, if it fails you're really in the doohdooh.

      Yes, Google is probably watching every keystroke I make. But my user experience is very good, no worries about anything. Just concentrating on my work and I can do with a bit of scripting in Google Docs way more than with all the VBA in MS Office.

      The limited functionality, well, this was for a long time that what kept me from even trying a Chromebook ...but frankely, it has been a wonderful experience. Back to basics ...and yes, from time to time I do miss some features. Nothing that blocks my work.

      For instance, MS Spreadsheet can do a lot of things. What it can't do is have the same file open in multiple instances for different sheets. Especially with mulitple monitors you never ever want to go back.

      Quite a bit of work can be off-line as well with a Chromebook. However, when there is no internet, very few people can do a lot of work nowadays anyway.

      I use a C720 4Gb. As soon as there is a good replacement with HD (that I miss) with some more kick (I use quite a few tabs) I will get it.
      steve70nl
  • ARM Chromebook is king

    Samsung Chromebook 2 coming out next week is going to be the best selling laptop of the year. And all other ARM Powered Chromebooks and Chromeboxes and even Chromesticks on RK3288, A80, K1, S805, Exynos5422, and upcoming 64bit ARM Chromebooks/boxes/sticks, those will dominate the future of the Chrome OS market just as they have since 2012.

    Intel's best bet is to release an ARM Processor as soon as possible.
    charbax@...
    • 64-bit Chromebooks?

      A bit of overkill, no? Or do Chromebooks need more than 4GB RAM?
      hrlngrv