New Chromebooks

More new Chromebooks are trickling out. This week, HP announced their new ARM-based Chromebook (uses the same processor as the Samsung XE303, introduced a year ago), but more interesting, I believe, is the first formal announcement of an Intel Haswell-based system (a modified version, with less cache and lower speed, so it doesn’t carry the Haswell branding), the Acer C720. This system should have performance equivalent to standard Celeron-based Chromebooks (i.e. a bit better than the HP) and phenomenal battery life (in the 8-9 hour range). It also has 4GB of RAM, which makes a significant difference in Chrome OS performance. Rumors are that new Chromebox announcements are right around the corner as well.

As always, you need to understand what a Chrome OS device is and is not in determining if it’s right for you. It does not run Windows. You cannot install Windows programs on it. It does not run Mac OS X. It runs a variant of Linux, but you do not have administrative rights and can only install software from the Chrome Web Store, or run web-enabled applications from a hosted site. However, if you live your technology life in the cloud, and in particular if you have embraced the Google ecosystem, it’s an amazing device. Cheap, simple, foolproof.

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