Fancy a new Chromebook?

Subject: Mobile | February 4, 2014 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: dell, Chromebook, Chromebook 11

Chromebooks seem to have slipped under the news radar as they are still being sold but you do not see many reviews of them.  The Inquirer bucked that trend and published a review of Dell's new Chromebook 11 which sells for a mere £159 overseas and while Dell is a bit cagey about the cost her, it should be around the $250 mark.  The 11.6" notebook is tiny, about an inch thick at most and weighing a mere 1.3kg and the PR claims a battery life of 10 hours.  The 1366 x 768 screen is nothing new but the Haswell based Celeron 2955U is, along with a 16GB SSD for local storage and your choice of 2 or 4GB of RAM should help make this new Chromebook stand out from the previous generation.

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"As you'd expect at such a low price point, Dell's Chromebook 11 isn't the most powerful device, but the firm claims that it is powerful enough to perform all tasks required by the Chrome OS with ease."

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Source: The Inquirer

IDF 2013: Intel and Google Announce New Haswell-Powered Chromebooks

Subject: Mobile | September 13, 2013 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: Intel, haswell, google, Chromebook

At IDF this week Intel and Google announced new Chromebooks running Google's cloud friendly operating system. The new machines will be built by a number of PC laptop manufacturers and will be available later this year.

Notably, the new Chromebooks will feature Intel Haswell processors, which Google claims will result in increased performance along with up to 2-times the battery life of previous generation Chromebooks. In fact, several manufacturers are rating the battery life between 8 and 9.5 hours, which would be quite the feat if the number hold up to actual usage!

New Haswell-Powered Google Chromebooks.png

Acer, HP, and Toshiba will be releasing updated Chromebooks with Haswell CPUs and new laptop designs "over the coming months" for as-yet-unannounced prices. ASUS is also joining the Chromebook fray with a mini desktop PC running Chrome OS and requiring a monitor or TV for video output. Specifically, Acer will be putting out an 11.6" laptop that is 0.75" thick and weighs 2.76 pounds. HP is offering a larger display and more battery lfie with its 14" Chromebook measuing 0.81" thick and 4.08 pounds. You trade a bit of portability, but you get a larger display, keyboard, and battery. Toshiba will be unveiling a laptop form factor Chromebook as well, but specs on that particular system have not been revealed yet. As mentioned above, pricing has not been released, but expect the systems to be under $300.

Interestingly, Google claims that six of the leading PC laptop manufacturers are now offering their own spin on Google's Chromebook. Further, the Chromebooks account for around 20-percent of the sub-$300 PC market, according to Google. It seems that Chromebooks are slowly gaining traction though it remains to be seen if they will continue to be successful as Windows and Android budget ultraportable competition heats up and consumers become wary of "the cloud" and Internet applications in light of the various leaks concerning the NSA spying programs. (As Darren Kitchen of Hak5 would say, "encrypt all the things!")

Will you be picking up a Haswell-powered Chromebook?

Source: Google

AMD pays a visit to Chromebook manufacturers

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2013 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: amd, Chromebook

Don't hold your breath but AMD might be looking to expand their mobile market share by supplying Chromebook OEMs with AMD processors.  This would be a big win for AMD who have seen Intel taking their mobile customers but will also be a big win for the consumer as the mobile devices would have better graphics and be available at a lower price.  DigiTimes also mentions discussions with Baidu, Tencent and China Mobile about server chips but as of yet there are no firm plans to move into the handset market.

chrmbk.jpg

"As the IT market is gradually stepping into a generation filled with mixed platforms, AMD is reportedly planning to join Google's Chromebook supply chain, hoping to penetrate Intel's dominance in the notebook market with better price/performance ratio products, according to market watchers."

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Source: DigiTimes

Chromebook Pixel Not a Joke, Just Its Price.

Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 25, 2013 - 02:18 AM |
Tagged: Chromebook Pixel, Chromebook

We have covered many Chrome OS-based devices, even a pair of reviews, but we have never seen the platform attempt to target the higher-end of the price spectrum. As you could guess by my ominous writing tone, that has changed.

The Chromebook Pixel.

The development commentary video could have been an Apple advertisement. We will embed it below, but it definitely had that whimsical tone we all know and groan. The Pixel was heavily focused on design and screen quality.

The display is quite small, just under 13”, but it has a higher resolution than professional-grade 30” monitors. It leapfrogs Catleap. When trying to visualize the use case, the first thought which comes to mind is a second PC for someone to take with them. If you can get a really high resolution experience with that, then bonus. Right?

The specifications, according to their Best Buy product page, are actually quite decent for a web browser-focused device.

  • Ivy Bridge Core i5
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 32GB SSD
  • Intel HD 4000 Graphics
  • With the low cost of RAM

The downside? The price starts at $1299 USD and goes up from there. You can get a larger SSD and LTE for just 150$ more, at the $1449 price point if you can wait until April.

Once you factor in the price, and a mighty big factor that is too, it makes it really difficult to figure out who Google is targeting. The only explanation which makes sense to me is a high-end laptop which is easy for IT departments to manage for executives and students.

Lastly, 4GB of RAM is ridiculously cheap nowadays. Could it have killed them to add in a little extra RAM to get more headroom? Also, what about the lack of connectivity to external displays? (Update: Sorry, just found mini displayport on the product tech specs.)

Source: Google Blogs

HP Announces New 14" Chromebook

Subject: General Tech | February 5, 2013 - 07:08 AM |
Tagged: pavilion 14, hp, google, Chromebook

HP recently launched the Pavilion 14 Chromebok, which is a notebook running Google’s Chrome OS operating system and suite of web applications. The Pavilion 14 Chromebook is a 14” laptop measuring 0.83-inches thick and weighing 3.96 pounds.

HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook.jpg

The new Chromebook is based on one of HP’s existing Windows laptops–the Sleekbook 14-b010us. It features a 14” screen with a resolution of 1366x768, full qwerty keyboard and track pad,  and a webcam.
External IO includes:

  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x Ethernet (10/100)
  • 1 x Card reader
  • 1 x Headphone jack

The system is powered by a dual core Intel Celeron 847 clocked at 1.1 GHz, 2GB of RAM, and a 16GB solid state drive (SSD). Dual-band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 radios are included, but unlike other Chromebooks there is no cellular connectivity out of the box. Further, Google is providing 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for free (for two years). HP estimates system battery life at 4.25 hours.

HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook_angle.jpg

The Pavilion 14 Chromebook is available now on HP’s website for $329.99. That makes it one of the most expensive Chromebooks on the market. Chrome OS has come a long way, and even includes a minimal desktop. The hardware looks nice, but I would have liked to see a higher resolution display along with cellular modem for the price, however. It will be interesting to see how well the larger 14" form factor sells.

Source: Google

A $250 Dual Core Cortex A15 powered Chromebook from Samsung

Subject: Mobile | November 23, 2012 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: ubuntu, Chromebook, cortex a15, Samsung, linux, exynos 5

At $250 this Samsung Chromebook costs less than most tablets or phones but can outperform previous A9 powered models and the Atom D525 as well.  The processor is Samsung's Exynos 5, a dual core A15 chip running at 1.7GHz with ARM's Mali-T604 graphics  and is accompanied by 2GB of DDR3 and a 16GB SSD.  It can be loaded with Ubuntu 13.04 and offers a compelling and inexpensive alternative to Sleekbooks and Ultrabooks as it weighs 2.5lbs and is 11.4" x 8.09" x 0.69" and promises over 6 hours of battery life.  Check out how it performs at Phoronix.

samsung-chromebook-12.jpg

"Google recently launched the Samsung Chromebook that for $249 USD features an 11-inch display, a 16GB SSD, a promise of 6.5-hour battery life, and is backed by a Samsung Exynos 5 SoC. The Samsung Exynos 5 packs a 1.7GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor with ARM Mali-T604 graphics. With using this new ARM Cortex-A15 chip plus the Samsung Chromebook not being locked down so it can be loaded up with a Linux distribution like Ubuntu or openSUSE, it was a must-buy for carrying out some interesting Cortex-A15 Linux benchmarks. The Exynos 5 Dual in this affordable laptop packs an impressive performance punch."

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Source: Phoronix

Samsung Launches New ARM-Powered XE303C12 Chromebook

Subject: General Tech | October 20, 2012 - 09:40 PM |
Tagged: xe303c12, Samsung, laptop, google, Exynos 5250, Chromebook, chrome os, arm

While Android gets most of the attention, it is not the only operating system from Google. Chrome OS was released two years ago, and despite the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets, it is still very much alive and kicking on the cloud-connected “Chromebooks.”

In fact, earlier this week Samsung announced a brand new Chromebook powered by its own Exynos 5250 ARM System of a Chip (SoC). The new system is lighter than the company’s previous Chromebook offerings at 2.43 pounds and is less than an inch thick. The specifications are not impressive for a laptop, but in the context of a Chromebook where much of the processing is done on Internet-connected servers the internals should ensure that you get good battery life – up to 6.3 hours – out of the mobile machine.

Samsung Chromebook.jpg

The 11.6” Chromebook has a display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, 1.5W stereo speakers, and a full physical keyboard with trackpad.

External I/O options include:

  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Headphone/Mic combo jack
  • 1 x SD card slot

The USB 3.0 option is interesting, and should allow you to hook up fast external storage should you need more caching space for offline use.

On the outside, the Chromebook very much resembles a standard laptop, but on the inside it is closer to the specifications of a smartphone or tablet. Interestingly, Samsung has chosen its Exynos 5250 system on a chip to power the XE303C12 Chromebook. That processor is packing two Cortex A15-based ARM CPU cores and an ARM Mali T604 GPU. While the Exynos 15 is capable of clocking up to 2GHz, it is unclear whether or not the Chromebook will feature chips clocked at that speed or not. It is certainly a possibility though, since the laptop form factor would provide ample cooling versus a more constrained smartphone or tablet. Beyond the SoC, Samsung has packed in 2GB of RAM and a 16GB solid state drive (SSD). Additionally, the XE303C12 Chromebook includes a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip – useful for business uses – and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi radio with a 2x2 antenna configuration.

The new Samsung Chromebook is available for pre-order now, and will be officially available for purchase at Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, and other retailers beginning October 22, 2012. It has an MSRP of $249.99.

I’m interested to see how this compared to the Windows RT offerings, and whether the cheaper price will win people over versus those devices. On the other hand, it may be that Android tablets – like the Nexus 7, Nook Tablet, and new Kindle Fire tablets – are the favored devices for all but road warriors needing a decent keyboard. What do you think?

Source: Samsung
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction and Design

 

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Samsung played a little trick on me when I reviewed the Samsung Series 5 earlier this year. You see, I barely finished my review of it when – surprise! – Samsung announced the new Series 5 550.
 
With that said, I can forgive them. They sent me the new model to review as well. It is a complete redesign both inside and out. The updated exterior is built with better quality materials and is only available in silver instead of your choice of white or black. 
 
Inside, Samsung has thrown Atom aside and replaced it with an Intel Celeron 867. This part uses the Sandy Bridge architecture and offers two cores clocked at 1.3 GHz. It, of course, lacks the Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost features found in some Core series products.
 
samsung550table.png
 
The rest of the laptop is similar to the previous model. The display size is the same and the hard drive is still a 16GB SSD instead of a standard mechanical hard drive. Going with a Sandy Bridge part has also upgraded the graphics, so the pathetic GMA 3150 found in the previous Chromebooks has been replaced with Intel HD, albeit a low-power version with a base clock of 350 MHz and a maximum clock of 1 GHz.
 
These improvements have resulted in a price adjustment that brings the new Series 5 back in line with the debut price of the original. You can expect to pay $450 for the Wi-Fi model or $550 for the 3G version. Consumers who opt for the 3G version receive 2 years of free service from Verizon, but the data cap is a strict 100MB per month. That’s enough for occasional web browsing but not enough for serious use. 
 
Increasing the price puts the Samsung Series 5 back in competition with budget ultraportables like the ASUS 1225B and the Lenovo X130e. Can the Chromebook and Chrome OS hold up against such competitors? Let’s find out.
 

Looking longingly at a Linux Laptop?

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2012 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: linux, laptop, Chromebook, asus, EeePC 1225C, sputnik

If you are less than impressed by Windows 8 or are looking to avoid the costs incurred by a Windows installation on the laptop then Linux.com has four systems you should consider.  First up are the Chromebook models available at stores like Best Buy, like the Samsung 12.1-inch Series 5 Chromebook.  If the ChromeOS isn't to your liking then perhaps the Asus EeePC 1225C which comes with Ubuntu installed on it.  It is not yet widely available but should make it to North America in the not too distant future.  Dell is also getting into this market with their Project Sputnik which Tim covered a few weeks ago.  Finally are what are referred to as Diminutive Desktops which cover devices like the Raspberry Pi, VIA's APC and a number of other models.  You might have more choices when it comes to Linux powered retail PCs than you think.

Chromebook.jpg

"Windows may still be the default operating system on the vast majority of mainstream PCs thanks to Microsoft's many longstanding OEM partnerships, but that's not to say it hasn't been possible for some time to buy desktop machines with Linux preloaded.

No, indeed! Thanks to vendors such as System76, ZaReason, EmperorLinux and others, Linux fans have long been able to get desktops, laptops, netbooks and more preloaded with a variety of Linux distributions -- and that's not even counting several on-again, off-again efforts by Dell, Wal-Mart and others to sell Linux boxes on their retail shelves."

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Source: Linux.com
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Acer

Introduction and Design

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We have our heads in the clouds. Once a dream, cloud computing is now common and used to support everything from file sharing to email. Here at PC Perspective, for example, we often make use of Dropbox. Storing certain files “in the cloud” is much easier than directly emailing them to and fro. 

Google is one of the cloud’s most ardent supporters. The Internet seems to be Google’s answer to everything from emails to file sharing to document editing. All these tasks can be accomplished online through a browser with a Google utility. 

When Google announced that it was going to develop an entire OS based off its Chrome web browser there was much shock, speculation and excitement. In hindsight, however, this development was probably inevitable given the company’s love of everything online. Now, Google Chrome OS is a retail product. Let’s find out if a cloud OS can compete with more traditional options. 

Read on for our full review of the Acer AC700-1099 Chromebook!