Intel and Google Host Chrome OS Event, Announce New Products With Haswell i3 and Bay Trail SoCs

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: Intel, haswell, Chromebox, Chromebook, Chromebase, chrome os, Bay Trail

Intel hosted an event on Chrome OS today where the company discussed its partnership with Google and announced new Chrome devices based on the company's latest generation Haswell and Bay Trail processors.

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Intel continues to work with Google to develop the Chromebook and the company sees potential for Chrome OS devices to expand to additional markets outside of consumer and education. Specifically, Intel and Google are pushing into the commercial markets by working with OEMs to put together devices aimed at corporate customers as productivity machines, video conferencing boxes, and drivers of customer kiosks and digital signage.

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In addition to the expansion to new markets, the existing consumer and education markets continue to grow with the use of Chromebooks in schools doubling versus last quarter with 10,000 schools now employing the Google-powered hardware. Consumers have also pushed Chromebooks to the top six of Amazon charts with the Acer C720 having 4.4 out of five stars and over a thousand customer reviews.

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Chrome OS is not only expanding into other markets but to additional form factors in the form of Chrome Boxes and Chrome Bases which are small form factor desktop systems and All-In-One devices powered by Chrome OS respectively. The second half of this year will see the number of Chrome OS devices expand from four design choices by four OEMs to twenty design choices from at least nine OEMs.

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The upcoming Chrome OS devices will be powered by new processor options from Intel in the form of conflict-free Intel Haswell Core i3 CPUs and Intel Bay Trail SoCs. The Haswell Core i3 option is an upgrade over the Pentium and Celeron "Entry Level Haswell" parts and offer increased performance in offline computing tasks, app switching, and multi-tasking. The Bay Trail parts will enable passively cooled (fan-less) Chromebooks with around 8 hours (up to 11 hours+) of battery life while still offering up acceptable performance for watching videos or working with documents. Intel further claims that the Bay Trail powered Chromebooks will be thinner at less than 18mm and up to 15% lighter than existing models.

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An 11.6" Chromebook powered by an Intel Haswell Core i3 processor coming later this year.

Intel showed off several new Chrome OS products that will be coming later this year. The new Chromebooks include Haswell i3-powered laptops from Acer and Dell for $349, the Lenovo N20 Chrome and N20p Chrome powered by an Intel Celeron (Bay Trail) SoC, and the Intel Education Chromebook Reference Design which CTL will bring to market later this year. It was also revealed that the already-announced Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook with its Yoga-style hinge will actually use a Bay Trail SoC.

The Intel Education Chromebook Reference Design is a platform designed by Intel that other OEMs can take, tweak, and bring to market. It is a clamshell-style laptop with a rotating camera and ruggedized chassis aimed at students.

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Intel's reference platform is a ruggedized clamshell laptop aimed at students.

Laptops and tablets dominated the show, but the company did unveil a tiny new Chrome Box from HP (slated for availability in June) that can sit behind a computer display or be used to drive digital signage and customer kiosks.

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Further, Intel demonstrated a new Chrome OS form factor with what it calls a "Chrome Base." The first Chrome Base is coming from LG later this month as a 21" All In One computer running Chrome OS for $349.

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Chrome OS in general is expanding from traditional clamshell laptops to larger screens and alternative form factors (desktop, tablet, convertible, et al), and when asked about the future of touch on Chrome OS and the overlap between Android and Chrome OS Caesar Sengupta, VP of Product Management at Google, explained that the company feels that touch is a key aspect in the computing experience and that Google is interested in supporting and improving touch on Chrome OS and evaluating customer use on alternative form factors. Further, Mr Sengupta stated that Google is focusing on Chromebooks, Chrome Boxes, and the new All In One Chrome Bases with physical keyboards for Chrome OS while Android is focused on mobile phones and touch-based tablets. As OEMs introduce more touch-friendly and acrobatic hinged Chrome devices, there is likely to be some overlap, but ultimately decisions affecting the directions of the two OSes will be based on customer demand.

Google also used the event to announce that within the next few weeks users will be able to play movies and TV shows offline using the Google Play Movies Chrome app.

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Overall, the event demonstrated that Chrome OS is growing at a healthy pace. Devices using the cloud-friendly operating system will be in 20 countries by the end of this year (versus 9 currently), and the new x86 processor options will enable a smoother user experience and faster application performance. I am genuinely interested to see where OEMs are able to take Chrome OS and what it is able to do as Google continues development of the software.

If you are interested, you can watch a recorded version of the live stream on the Intel website.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Chrome device news as the hardware gets closer to release.

Source: Intel
May 6, 2014 | 07:26 PM - Posted by Rauelius

Two things would help make ChromeOS explode in popularity:

1) Ability to Install the OS on any PC.(Chromium Doesn't count, I don't want to jump through hoops to watch Netflix)

2) This goes with number 1. Get Steam installable on ChromeOS, while this may seem like a conflict of interest with SteamOS it would help both Google and Valve. ChromeOS is probably the most successful branch of Linux (not counting Android), making ChromeOS the definitive replacement for Windows for some, and get those of us who only game and surf the Web to use ChromeOS. So if Steam is installable and games are playable on ChromeOS this would have more companies from GPU makers like AMD and nVidia to big game publishers like Ubisoft and Activision invest in Linux support for their games, which in turn will help SteamOS and Steam Machines get into livingrooms, which would then get more games and other pieces of software(Video/Audio Editing, Benchmarking, Etc)on Linux and through Steam installable on ChromeOS. It would be a self feeding system that would see both ChromeOS and SteamOS possibly coexist as a viable replacement for Windows for most people who only game and surf on their PCs.

Honestly Google and Valve working together would be just what this industry needs.

May 9, 2014 | 09:10 AM - Posted by chertio (not verified)

Btw, if you have laptop or desktop (or maybe even tablet) with Windows 8(.1), you already can use Chrome OS if you install Google Chrome and simply use the Windows 8 mode. As far as I can see, it has all of the features that a Chrome OS has. Heck, if you have a PC with Google Chrome browser, you already have all the functionalities of Chrome OS. Am I missing something?

May 9, 2014 | 05:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The Steam Client, is not the same thing as the Steam OS. The Steam Client is a cross OS platform, Steam Store/Steam account service, the Steam OS is a Debian based distro developed by Steam as a counter to M$'s and Others' Closed OS ecosystems and their possable cutting Steam/others out of the market on Win 8, or other current and future OS ecosystems. Google is only working for Google, and just because Android runs on top of the Linux kernal, does not mean that Android is any more open than windows RT. Android is a consumption OS, just as much as Windows RT, Only a true full linux distro with no rooting restrictions tied to the hardware is a really open, Steam OS being based on Debian can be made to be as full and complete as the user wants, just by using the package manager to download whatever desktop UI/file manager/other components that are able to run under Linux/Debian. The Day I buy a tablet, will be the day I can get a tablet that comes with a Full Linux, and no OS restrictions, I run many open source applications, and they run on windows 7, and full linux, and require the Full desktop versions of OpenGL/OpenCL to run, they also run under OS X. I buy devices to run my full desktop open source applications, I do not buy Apps or any new hardware designed to run "Apps" from a closed ecosystem App store, or that require me to forced login to an App store to download all software, or to just log onto my device, and no ability to control my hardware. If the ARM, or x86 based tablet device can not run my OS of choice, and I do not consider Android to be a Full OS, then I will do without tablets, windows tablets are too tied to M$, same goes for Apple. Valve needs to develop a Tablet verson of Steam OS, for gaming and graphics development, and games use a whole buttload of graphics(3d mesh models, textures, other). Get a Steam OS/debian based tablet, with graphics software, and gaming, and STFU and take my Money.

May 7, 2014 | 11:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ah, contra revenue from Intel and Google for the device's OEMs on these products, that and more vendor lockin as the entire mobile market around these devices becomes controlled by GOOTEL. No thanks, I'll wait for Steam OS, and someone else's x86, or ARM based open ecosystem based devices. Full Linux Tablets NOW!

May 7, 2014 | 12:53 PM - Posted by castlefox (not verified)

I really want a 13inch Chromebook with a matte black screen like the OG CR-48 was. I dont want to go back to another 11inch Chromebook

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