We expect Chromebooks to be a very hot item for holiday shoppers this year. The devices running Chrome OS are cheap and the hardware is vastly different than what it once was. The value of a Chromebook just keeps getting and better. And it gets even better now because Google is giving new Chromebook owners free Drive storage. How much? An astounding 1TB for two years. That is nearly $240 that you do not have to spend. It is more than enough space for the average user, that’s for sure.
The offer expires on January 1, 2015. Don’t leave it sitting underneath the Christmas tree for too long!
Source: Google Drive Blog
Google has announced the stable channel for Chrome OS devices will be getting an update over the course of the next couple weeks. Unfortunately, the update will not be hitting all devices as the Dell Chromebook 11, the HP Chromebook 14, the Acer C720 and the Toshiba Chromebook are all excluded. Those who get the update though will enjoy the following new features:
The Google Chrome team indicates the update will take some extra time to get to users as team members enjoy a holiday break next week.
source: Chrome Releases
Skype has announced that they’re finally detangling the video chat service from its traditional Windows or OS X desktop program and offering it in beta through a web browser.
Skype for Web will let you quickly sign into the service on Skype’s web page and immediately begin making video calls without having to download any apps or programs. According to the Skype page, you can get the service started on any modern web browser, but it specifically mentions Chrome for Windows. That’s good news for Chrome users, but the wording of the support page makes it sound like Chromebooks are going to be excluded.
Although Chromebooks have only grabbed a small part of the laptop computer market thus far, despite much success in the education sector, the race to bring out less expensive models to entice buyers appears to be heating up for 2015. A new report from Digitimes Research indicates both Lenovo and Asustek are preparing new Chromebooks equipped with Rockchip technology to hit the market at a $149 price point.
Thus far, most Chromebooks have been priced in the $200 – $300 range, so the products from Lenovo and Asustek could set new lows for notebook devices. Both devices are expected to come with 11.6-inch screens and the Rockchip processors, but other details are not yet known. Acer is currently the biggest Chromebook producer and these new devices would be priced 25% lower than the Acer C720 that runs $199. Digitimes Research indicated that in addition to the price pressure this move will create for other Chromebook producers like Acer, it will also put pressure on Microsoft which has been modifying license costs in an effort to stave off Chromebooks’ growth in the market.
Rockchip is a “first-tier tablet application processor (AP) designer” from China. They have worked with Intel on chip design and distribution. They are also a Google-certified solutions provider.
Google has released two more advertisements for its laptops highlighting the battery lives and security benefits of using a Chromebook.
This week Google is hosting the Global Education Symposium, a meeting of education ministers from 18 countries, where participants will explore how technology can be implemented to meet educational needs. This gave Google an opportunity to highlight the success of their Chromebook devices in the education sector.
Acer’s CB5-311-T9B0 Chromebook is now on sale at Amazon for only $250!
As Chromebooks become more popular, demand for access to programs that users are familiar with on other platforms is going to continue to grow. Today it was announced that Adobe has decided to jump on board with Chrome OS by making their Creative Cloud, including a streaming version of Photoshop, available on Chromebooks. Although many of Adobe’s applications may be familiar to users as software that has to be downloaded and installed on a computer, the company has been pushing more features and services into the cloud. One of the benefits it appears is making the tools more platform-agnostic as seen with this latest move by Adobe.
In the market for a new laptop? We should mention giving a Chromebook a look. In the next several months leading up to the holiday season, there are going to be an abundance of Chrome OS devices released. The Chromebook 2, from Toshiba, is currently available through Amazon.
There are two models and both feature a 13.3-inch display. The base model’s display has a resolution of 1366×768 while upgrading raises this to 1920×1080. Regardless, you get an Intel Celeron N2840 processor. The upgraded model takes the base 2GB of RAM up to 4GB. Battery life for the base model is estimated at eleven hours and the 1080p display of the more expensive Chromebook 2 lowers it to about nine hours.
Source: Amazon [Base Model Link - $249] [Upgraded Model Link - $364]
Android is arguably Google’s bread and butter, but that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t want their other products to succeed. We’ve seen a big push from Chromebooks recently, especially in the low end market, and during the back-to-school shopping months it looks like that push paid off for Google.
Chromebooks made up 4.5% of all PC sales during the back-to-school period, which is up from 3.3% in 2013. It still holds a small chunk of the sales compared to Apple’s nearly 27% and Microsoft’s 68%, but the future for Chromebooks looks bright when you notice that Windows laptop sales were down from 72% and have been falling for a couple of years now.