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Intel, PC Makers Broaden Support for Chromebooks
Intel, PC Makers Broaden Support for Chromebooks

By Michael Liedtke
May 8, 2014 10:09AM

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The latest line of Chromebooks will run on a new generation of faster Intel processors that don't devour as much battery power. The machines will be shipped by major personal computer makers such as Lenovo Group, Acer, Dell, ASUS and Toshiba. The widening selection of Chromebooks reflects the building momentum for the Chrome OS.
 



Another wave of laptop computers running on Google's Chrome operating system will be hitting stores this summer in the latest challenge to Microsoft's dominant Windows franchise.

The latest line of Chromebooks unveiled Tuesday run on a new generation of faster Intel microprocessors that don't devour as much battery power. The machines will be shipped by major personal computer makers such as Lenovo Group, Acer, Dell, ASUS and Toshiba. They will sell for $300 to $400.

The widening selection of Chromebooks reflects the building momentum for Google Inc.'s attempt to create a compelling alternative to Windows-powered machines and Apple Inc.'s Mac computers.

Intel Corp. and all the PC makers embracing Chromebooks also are longtime Microsoft Corp. partners that helped make Windows so influential and lucrative during the past two decades.

But most of Microsoft's longtime allies have been exploring new avenues amid a two-year decline in PC sales that has been driven by the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets. The technological shift has triggered the slump in PC sales, raising questions about Windows' staying power over the next decade.

Microsoft also alienated some PC makers by releasing its own tablet, Surface, that runs on Windows. Although Surface still hasn't become a hot item, Microsoft's move into the tablet market demonstrated the software makers' willingness to compete against its PC partners.

Intel, perhaps Microsoft's most important partner, has been aggressively expanding beyond Windows. Besides branching into smartphones and wearable technology, Intel also now makes chips for 20 different Chromebook designs, up from just four designs last September.

"We will embrace multiple operating systems," Navin Shenoy, an Intel vice president, said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Google has been gradually trying to overcome early perceptions that Chromebooks are an inferior breed of PCs because they aren't equipped with a hard drive to store data. In most instances, the Chromebooks require an Internet connection to get to information and applications stored in large data centers run by Google or other technology providers.

Since the first Chromebook came out in 2010, the machines have been upgraded with progressively faster chips, longer-lasting batteries and more online services to accommodate for the lack of a hard drive.

Google also has developed ways for Chromebook users to get work done and entertain themselves even when they are without Internet access. As part of Tuesday's announcement, Google said that the ability to watch movies and TV shows while offline will be included in a free update to the Chrome operating system that will available within the next few weeks.

Despite the broadening support for the product, Chromebooks still account for only a small fraction of PC shipments. About 2.5 million Chromebooks were sold last year, or less than 1 percent of the worldwide PC market, according to the research firm International Data Corp. More than 80 percent of the PCs sold last year ran on Windows.

Chromebooks so far have gained the most traction in classrooms, where the machines' low cost and free software support has won over teachers and school administrators. Google says Chromebooks are now used at about 10,000 schools, doubling from 5,000 last September.
 


© 2014 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

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David Yuhas:

Posted: 2014-05-15 @ 6:35pm PT
Google is missing its biggest Market for Chromebooks.

Adam:

Posted: 2014-05-13 @ 5:35am PT
It's nice to see that there will soon be an even wider range of Chromebook offerings. Chromebooks are a great choice for education, as a second home laptop, or for users that spend most of their time in a browser and want a device that starts up fast and is easy to use.

If you're considering Chromebooks but also need access to Windows applications you can look at solutions like Ericom AccessNow, an HTML5 RDP client that enables Chromebook users to securely connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server and VDI virtual desktops, and run their applications and desktops in a browser.

AccessNow does not require any client to be installed on the Chromebook, as you only need the HTML5-compatible browser.

For an online, interactive demo, open your Chrome browser and visit:
http://www.ericom.com/Demo-AccessNow-4-Chromebooks.asp?URL_ID=708

Please note that I work for Ericom

Jon:

Posted: 2014-05-12 @ 7:46am PT
I am on my second Chromebook and have never looked back. My HP 14" Chromebook with 4GB RAM lets me do everything I need for work and play, online and offline. It's the best computer I've ever had - and my last PC was a $2500 high end Dell Precision laptop. Take THAT, you Windoze fanboys.

TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly:

Posted: 2014-05-11 @ 6:38am PT
In general chromebooks are cripplebooks but if you have a tech savvy friend, some of them can be upgraded to a linux O/S and more local storage, making them feature-competitive with a fully fledged windows or mac notebook.



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