The 'digital transformation of learning' is a major focus for tech companies these days, and HP's mission is to "increase the operational efficiency of schools", said Gus Schmedlen — the company's VP, Worldwide Education Solutions Organization — at a pre-BETT event in London on Tuesday. To that end, HP has now added AMD processors to its roster of Chromebooks for education.
First out of the blocks will be the HP Chromebook 11A G6 Education Edition that Schmedlen described as a "bespoke AMD-powered, Google Chrome-powered device" with "all of the rugged features that make an Education Edition, built for schools and designed for learning."
Although it's just 19mm thick and weighs 1.28kg, the Chromebook 11A G6 EE is MIL-STD 810G certified, with a strengthened corner design, co-moulded rubber contact points and a tough 180-degree hinge. All this allows it to survive a 70cm drop onto concrete. Also helping the device cope with classroom abuse is a spill-resistant keyboard.
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The Chromebook 11A G6 EE is powered by AMD's A4-9120C APU, backed up by 4GB of RAM and up to 32GB of eMMC storage. The AMD chipset has two CPU cores with a base clock speed of 1.6GHz (2.4GHz max boost), and there are three GPU cores. The A4-9120C has a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 6W, helping the Chromebook 11A G6 EE to deliver claimed battery life of up to 10 hours. HP Fast Charge support allows the laptop to charge from zero to 90 percent in 90 minutes, according to HP.
Wireless connectivity runs to 802.11ac with 2x2 MIMO, while connections include USB-C (2), USB 3.1 (2) and microSD.
The Chromebook 11A G6 EE comes with HP Classroom Manager, Student Edition, and is expected to be available in EMEA in February, starting at £299.
HP also announced, but didn't show off, a second AMD-powered Chrome OS laptop, the Chromebook 14A G5. This is a "large-format 14-inch Chromebook suitable for enterprise, but also suitable on the desks, in the homes, in the bags — wherever teachers go, all over the world," said HP's Schmedlen. Few specs are available yet, but the 14A G5 is described as 'durable' with USB-C connectivity and optional features including a backlit keyboard and an HD or FHD-resolution IPS screen.
The HP Chromebook 14A G5 is expected to be available in EMEA in April, starting at £329.
In advance of the education buying cycle, HP has also unveiled two new Intel-powered Chrome OS laptops — the HP Chromebook X360 11 G2 Education Edition and the HP Chromebook 11 G7 Education Edition.
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