Though not generating the fanfare that its new ConceptD computers have, Acer also introduced a pair of new Chromebooks at its press event this week. Unlike its numerous education models, however, these new laptops are designed to appeal to enterprises that want to add Chromebooks to their mobile fleet.
The Chromebook 714 and 715 may include some of the same durability features that schools rely on from education Chromebooks (such as drop resistance up to four feet), but otherwise come with a more polished feature set for business users. The 14-inch 714 and the 15.6-inch 715 come with full HD IPS displays (with optional touch-screen capabilities) as well as Gorilla Glass touchpads. They also integrate fingerprint readers to deliver an extra layer of corporate security, while the 715 is the first Acer Chromebook that comes with a numeric keypad for employees who perform number-crunching tasks
Inside, the new Chromebooks can be powered by up to Intel's eighth-generation Core i3 or i5 processors, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of built-in storage. They also sport a pair of USB 3.1 Type-C ports along with dual-band Wi-Fi and an optional USB Type-C dock to connect to an external display, keyboard, and other input and output devices. Acer claims up to 12 hours of battery life from the Chromebook 714 and 715 between charges.
The new Chromebooks are certified Citrix Ready to be compatible with that company's apps and services, and Acer says they will "work well" with Google's Chrome Enterprise cloud-based work environment platform. Google's service is also designed to ease IT deployment of software updates and to secure a fleet of devices.
Not surprisingly, more full-featured Chromebooks mean higher-priced Chromebooks. The Acer Chromeboook 714 and 715 will each have a starting price of $499 when they become available in July, which puts them squarely in competition with similarly configured laptops running Windows. It remains to be seen if enterprises will find the Chromebook experience to be preferable at a similar price point for their mobile workers to abandon the dominant Windows platform.