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Here Come the Chromebooks, As Google and Intel Cozy-Up On Haswell 139

Posted by timothy
from the tradeoffs-and-favorites dept.
MojoKid writes "News from Intel (and Google) today includes an announcement that more Chromebooks are on their way to market packing Intel's Haswell processors. The new chips are designed to consume less power, thus preserving battery life for an all-day charge, while still offering better overall performance. Google notes that there are schools in over 20% of school districts across the country that now use Chromebooks, and with prices for some of the machines dipping as low as $199, deploying fleets of these machines in academia is an attractive option. What's interesting is the alignment between Intel and Google now, which should cause folks in Redmond to smart a bit, as yet another major competitor to the Windows operating system seems to clearly be coming into focus. Intel-Google partners including Acer, ASUS, HP, and Toshiba will be rolling out Chromebooks based on Haswell soon, and they'll collectively be sporting more variety of form factors."
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Here Come the Chromebooks, As Google and Intel Cozy-Up On Haswell

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  • Interesting (Score:1, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235)

    11" display, SSD, running a cut-down Linux, intended primarily for use when connected to the Internet.

    Hang on. Didn't we used to call these netbooks?

    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @01:46PM (#44832377)

      I had a netbook and I mostly liked it, but it was also cheap. It was under $200, but it was a real computer, I didn't have to run a cut down OS on it to get it to run properly. Sure, some things didn't work well because it was running a 900mhz celeron, but it did an admirable job, even when I wasn't connected to the internet.

      It's a shame that MS had to kill the devices. They were rather nice.

    • 11" display

      After 87 clicks, it appears that both the Acer 11.6" and the HP 14" have a 1,366 x 768 resolution. Better than the netbooks at n x 600, which was functionally useless for many software packages, but it looks like Intel still has the vendors by the balls on offering what they insist are "Ultrabook" resolutions, which cost an extra grand.

      A 12"-ish fooBook with all-day battery life is "shut up and take my money" territory for me, and has been for the past decade, but so far nobody is biting (and I

      • by AvitarX (172628)

        Like a chromebook Pixel?

        • It looks like a great form-factor, but "up to 5 hours" is the same as my laptop, with a similar i5. Almost there, though; I'm personally willing to lug a double-thick battery in something like that.

          • I assumed more battery life without checking because chromebook, I guess the macbook air or high end ultra book are close, but 13 inch breaks downsize barrier?

      • A 12"-ish fooBook with all-day battery life is "shut up and take my money" territory for me, and has been for the past decade, but so far nobody is biting

        Macbook Air 13" 1440x900 with all day battery life. Tie to break out the cash

    • It doesn't matter what we call them. Students who bring laptops to class and actually use them for their purported "educational purpose" perform significantly worse than students who take notes by hand. Even slashdot knows [slashdot.org].
    • No need to stick with the cut-down Linux, reinstall with a full Linux distro. I picked up an Acer C7 with this in mind. It seems to work quite nicely, its the first laptop I've installed Linux on with a complete set of functioning drivers. :-)

      Admittedly the screen is mediocre and the touchpad crappy, but its a $200 box and such shortcoming should be expected. However for light to moderate Linux use it would seem a decent solution.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I used my 7 inch EeePC for years with a full Linux install and these things are a helluvalot better.

      • How's the battery life on the c7? It's got an x86 processor in it, which is the main reason I haven't replaced my existing 13" ultraportable with something like that.

        • by perpenso (1613749)

          How's the battery life on the c7? It's got an x86 processor in it, which is the main reason I haven't replaced my existing 13" ultraportable with something like that.

          Don't know. I'm just tinkering around with it at home and I'm usually plugged in.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      Didn't we used to call these netbooks?

      Locked down (in functionality) netbook with data (? some?) stored online.

      YAY! THAT SOUND SO FREAKING AWESOME!

      Or pay a little more for a A10 laptop and keep your data yours and be able to play games and run more software on it. Or possibly an Intel machine if you care more about Linux than the game performance.

      That's if you want a laptop in the first place. A stationary machine will of course kick it and be easier to maintain if it breaks down and possibly break down less and for some things on the move a ta

    • by davide marney (231845) <davide,marney&netmedia,org> on Thursday September 12, 2013 @02:38PM (#44832949) Journal

      I've got an Acer Chromebook running Crouton [github.com] and XFCE4. Best little devbox I ever had, especially for $199 bucks. It used to be that you had to give up verified boot (and the automatic patching that implies), but no longer.

    • by Squash (2258)

      I know your comment is trying to be negative, but you've simply got it wrong.

      Netbooks tried to bridge the gap between tablets and PCs - that is, more functionality than a tablet, more portable than a PC. I owned 2 of the Asus Eeepc series and they were great little boxes to run Linux on, that got twice the battery life of a "real" laptop, Durable little buggers, too, they're both still running as laptops for kids.

      Chromebooks take that idea even farther. I'll specifically refer to the Samsung, as I feel that

  • The Cloud Book (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    NSA's best friend.

  • That is the question from my perspective. Might even be a go with a cut down Ubuntu Studio for real time audio recording. If the will run Mint LET ME AT EM!

    What might be even more interesting is if Microsoft starts to deliberately issue a cheep starter version of Win8 to try to weasel users back to the one true Windows God. The worm has turned and it is running the Linux kernel this time around...LOL

  • by steveha (103154) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @02:07PM (#44832625) Homepage

    which should cause folks in Redmond to smart a bit

    For those of you who are new here, "Redmond" is a reference to the Microsoft (headquarters in Redmond, Washington). "Microsoft" is a company that used to be terribly important to most users of computers, but is becoming less so over time.

    I wonder how long people will care enough about Microsoft to know what "Redmond" means. It's been years since I read an article that used "Armonk" to refer to IBM.

    I suspect that this usage is just to avoid saying the same company name over and over. When the day comes that Microsoft isn't mentioned in the news that much, nobody will bother to call them anything but "Microsoft".

  • Shareholders should be throwing chairs at you.
  • is that it's relatively lot easier to install proper Linux on the things. It's impossible with Surface devices however.

    However, I feel a company the size and stature of Google should've pushed ARM based devices into the market - now Microsoft, Apple and now Google are all pushing Intel gear.

    • by spire3661 (1038968) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @02:21PM (#44832775) Journal
      Why in god's name would you push ARM over Intel? You only use ARM when the power envelope calls for it. Intel spanks the ever loving shit out of ARM in everything but power consumption and Intel is working hard at that too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Because it's "Good Enough" performance for most people, and it gives you the ability to go over a full day in battery life with a fanless device.

        My wife & mother in law both have Asus Transformer tablets and love them. They are fast, thin, and have great battery life. They love being able to use their android apps across devices.
        My wife hates her work laptop as it's a boat anchor and she only gets about 3 hours of unplugged use out of it. ARMs performance is getting better, while Intel's power use is

        • 1 GHZ on the desktop was good enough, but it wasnt until the Core line that we reached a good desktop plateau of power/cost. ARM has yet to hit the 'so much power leftover after running the UI' stage yet.
    • by Yaztromo (655250)

      However, I feel a company the size and stature of Google should've pushed ARM based devices into the market - now Microsoft, Apple and now Google are all pushing Intel gear.

      It isn't really Google that is determining what processor is going into the Chromebooks. That's up to the manufacturers. Samsung's Series 3 Chromebook is running the Samsung Exynos 5 Dual SoC, which uses the ARMv7 instruction set. It's been the best selling Laptop on Amazon [amazon.com] for the entirety of 2013.

      As such, there are a lot of ARM-based Chromebooks out there. My wife has one; she loves it.

      Yaz

    • Linux on the Surface Pro is dead easy (disable secure boot - a simple and well-documented procedure - and then install as normal). What are you smoking (reading)? All Win8 devices with Secure Boot are required (by Microsoft, of all people) to allow the user to disable Secure Boot and/or add their own signing keys.

  • Increased School Use (Score:3, Interesting)

    by deadend44 (1728576) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @02:30PM (#44832867)
    I've already started seeing the increase in Chromebook usage in schools. I work for an educational supplements company as lead on a digital textbook platform. This time last year we had a lot of questions about iPads but nothing about chromebooks. Now, this week alone, I've talked to two teachers who said they were getting full sets of chromebooks for their students and wanted to make sure our software would work with them. Faster processors and cheaper prices is just going to keep increasing their hold on the market. Schools are going to take the cheaper route given two similar options, so I'm not surprised to see them going with these instead of iPads.
    • My oldest has a class where the teacher provides Chromebooks. The school district already provides Google email for the kids, so it is a good fit. She claims it works just fine for what she does, and wants one at home to replace here old Dell laptop. I'm just hoping the new Haswell models to come out in time for X-Mas.

  • by PCM2 (4486)

    What I don't understand about this shocking new "alignment between Intel and Google" is that all of the Chrombooks up until the second-generation Samsung have used Intel chips. The first few used Atoms, and I think Acer is using something called a Celeron (though what goes by that brand these days, I'm not sure). Samsung's newest one uses its own Exynos chip, but it's unique in that. All of the rest of them use Intel chips. So what has changed, exactly?

  • ... roll out that Linux version of Microsoft Office. I suspect its development has been secretly undertaken for quite some time now among those who have access to the source codes, whether Microsoft's executives know it or not.

  • The PC industry has been selling to the customers far more than what they need for a long time. It is true for most gadgets. How many million VCRs blinked 00:00 as the time for their entire service lives? How many people say even now, "I don't use even 1 % of the features of my camcorder"?

    No, not everybody hacks C/java, they don't need a video editor, or sound editor or image editor. 90% of the people consume content, and the only content they create are simple letters and emails. Even the other 10% who c

  • by Ancil (622971) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:25PM (#44833431)

    The Chromebooks look nice for certain situations, and I've been tempted to pick one up.

    But why haven't there been any good ChromeBoxes?? I have unused monitors and keyboards sitting around, and there's plenty of cases which need a larger screen and a real keyboard.

    If you can sell a full notebook with LCD, keyboard, and battery for $199, where is the $49 Chromebox?

    Samsung's efforts have been a complete joke. Over $300? Really? Dell sells "real" computers for less. With Windows, even.

    Supposedly the new Chromebox from ASUS is based on Intel's "Next Unit of Computing". That thing starts at about $200 with no RAM.

    If Roku can sell an ARM box capable of decompressing Full HD streams for $49, why can't Google get one to run ChromeOS?

    • by robmv (855035)

      Yes, I want ChromeBoxes too, not for home use but enterprise. Secure machines that can't be hacked by simple malware because everything is cryptographically signed. You have problems, you restore it, no local state. All your business applications running on web servers or via remote desktop VMs for the legacy ones

    • by bazorg (911295)

      If Roku can sell an ARM box capable of decompressing Full HD streams for $49, why can't Google get one to run ChromeOS?

      Maybe there is more that on reason for that:

      a) even Google can't develop 1000000 products and variants at a time:
      b) Such a cheap box would compete with android tv box/console offerings, and maybe the DRM isn't ready yet.

  • Paying more than $200 for one is nuts. They need to figure out how to make them cheaper.

    These days, you can get a Windows 8 notebook for $350, sometimes less. With MUCH better specs than most ChromeBooks, and, obviously, much more software.

    But Chromebooks are nice. ChromeOS is nice. Just too expensive.

    • Yeah, but who is gonna support it? One of the nice part about these devices is that they are pretty much immune to malware, and from a software standpoint are nearly unbreakable. You give one to your mom and never do tech support again. Windows is find if you have the time, urge, and know-how to maintain it (or the cash to pay someone you trust to do it for you), but is completely inappropriate for the vast clueless masses. Surely you aren't arguing that Windows 8 is the future of computing on the low e

    • The Acer C7 is $199, the Samsung ARM is $250. These are both less than $350. Your logic:

      1. Windows 8 notebook is $350.

      2. Chromebook is $200.

      3. Chromebook is too expensive

      This is the same Windowscentric thinking that never recognized that there is a large market of people who don't have any use for the many capabilities of Windows. Their computer is a device for surfing the web and communication. I wonder how many people could get by with just a smartphone. In fact, I wonder how many people now do.

  • by LifesABeach (234436) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @03:49PM (#44833703)
    Is there an IDE that a ChromeBook can work with that would allow me to develope in PHP/Python? With Debug and Breakpoints? That would be useful.
    • by mrmaster (535266)
      Yes, there is an app that was just released a few days ago but I didn't save the link.
  • So if it's an x86 platform what's to stop people from putting Windows on these things?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd give a chromebook a serious look if they could use my network printer. I recognize that printer drivers are the big issue, and that its possible to use a PC (via an internet loopback *ugh*). But I got the network printer so I *didn't* need to have a PC host it.

    • by Squash (2258)

      My printer (HP) supports Cloud Print, which works just peachy with chromebooks (and linux running chrome browser)...

  • Several folks have commented about these being a great option for the 'rents. Another option is for the kids. I've got three, all under 10 years of age. Information technology is pushed way big in school today, compared to when I was a kid. Outfitting my 3 boys with Chromebooks at $200 a pop is much more appetizing then buying them all $500 laptops, or buying one real computer for them to share. That and the Samsung Chromebook manages to be a MacBook that's been cost-reduced by 75%, without looking like it

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