IDF is wrapping up today but the conference has yielded plenty of juicy announcements in the two days it was running. Among those was Google's unveiling of new Chromebook laptops running on Intel's fourth generation Core i-series of CPUs, also known as Haswell. We had heard rumors of Chromebooks running on Haswell ahead of IDF and the show didn't disappoint.
The company said that new Chromebooks from Acer, HP, Toshiba, and Asus would hit the market over the next few months but offered little in the way of real information regarding any of the upcoming models. However, Mountain View already has a splash page for a new model from Acer that boasts an 11.6-inch display, 100 GB of Google Drive storage space, and up to 8.5 hours of battery, but nothing on pricing or availability.
There's also a page for an HP offering dubbed the HP Chromebook 14 (pictured above). It, predictably, has a 14-inch display, 100 GB of Google Drive storage, 9.5 hours of battery, and weighs just over 4 lbs. According to HP, it also has 16 GB of onboard storage, HDMI, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, a 1366 x 768 resolution, optional 4G (with 200MB of free data every month from T-Mobile), and weighs just over 4 lbs. It will be available this holiday shopping season with a $300 price tag.
Google's Chromebook Pixel was the first Chromebook to pack a Core i-series CPU. All other models have been ARM- or Atom-powered solutions. The hope is that Haswell will boost battery life without affecting performance.
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The Samsung series 3 Chromebook is currently the #1 selling notebook on Amazon. I picked mine up open item from best buy for $200 and it's the best money I've ever spent. It's thin, lightweight, and fast. I use most of Google's services anyway so the Chromebook comes naturally to me. In fact, aside from Gaming the occasional photo editing it nearly replaces my Lenovo Y400 (a great laptop and I feel bad for letting it go days at a time without use).
Mine has the dual core Samsung ARM SOC with 2GB of RAM and it performs just fine. I can stream Netflix and it can play any web game I've tried so far. It's not unusual for me to have 6-8 browser tabs open at once. Knowing this, a Haswell chip seems way overkill in this purpose. I would think that Bay Trail would be a lot more suited for the tasks a Chromebook would ask of it.
The only performance issue I've noticed is the inability to stream a Netflix browser tab to my Chromecast without some lag. The Chromecast plug-in even tells me my system is holding back performance. That's my only complaint as this thing would be great for that purpose.
You can't. Chromebooks are locked down to specifically prevent that. Why would anyone want to though?
Windows software maybe? Personally, I would rather use mint or ubuntu to easily interface with my home server, as well as access a plethora of high quality applications. If I could install Windows, it would be great fun to program on this using Visual Studio, then remotely compile them on my Desktop using the server ability.
There are cheap Windows laptops in a similar price range. Additionally, Windows would require more than the 16GB included storage, not to mention what an abomination it would be.
It's not Google's hardware, these are OEM devices. In fact, Google is known for releasing it's hardware with unlocked bootloaders just in the sense of freedom of choice. Just look at the Nexus line.
That's what Ballmer says every morning when he wakes up surrounded by piles of unsold Surfaces.