Chromebooks continue to explode in the laptop market, which has certainly caught the attention of chip giant Intel. With many of these dirt-cheap Chrome OS notebooks being powered by ARM-based processors, there's been thought that this new niche could threaten Intel's bottom line. While ultimately we won't know the impact for some time, it hasn't stopped Chromebook makers from embracing the company's CPUs along with ARM processors.
Just yesterday, two major manufacturers dropped new Chromebook configurations featuring Intel inside. Samsung shouted the news far and wide that its Chromebook 2 will include a Celeron processor, though Dell was more discrete about adding a Core i3 version of the Chromebook 11 to its lineup.
The Chromebook 2 is probably most notable for its stitched design, which mimics the faux leather look of Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 devices. Previously available only with the company's own Exynos 5 eight-core processor, the 11.6-inch version now can also come with a Celeron N2840 dual-core Bay Trail CPU. Otherwise, it sports typical specs for a Chromebook: 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage, and a screen resolution of 1,366x768. One other notable new feature is live video chat support from Samsung, more details of which can be found in CNET's preview of the Celeron-powered Chromebook 2.
For its part, Dell is going a little more current with its latest Chromebook 11. It already offered the Haswell Celeron 2955U processor, but has just added a Core i3 option, though it's unclear which specific CPU it will be. Dell's Chromebook offers twice the RAM of Samsung's Chromebook 2, though it also comes with 16GB of solid-state storage and a 1,366x768 11.6-inch display.
Not surprisingly, it's also far pricier than the new Samsung. While the Chromebook 2 with Celeron is available for a typical Chromebook price of $249.99, the Dell Chromebook 11 with the Core i3 costs $379. (In comparison, the Acer C720 Chromebook with a Core i3 is priced from $349.99.) At that price, it's competing with many budget Windows laptops; it's also unclear how much the stripped-down Chrome OS demands higher specs like a faster processor. Nonetheless, it doesn't look like Intel is worried much about said issues, as it plans to stuff its chips into even more Chromebooks by year's end.