Battery Life Zooms on New Haswell-Based Chromebooks

Chromebooks have entered a new generation. This week, Google and Intel unveiled new Net-based laptops from four manufacturers, featuring the faster and more power-efficient Haswell processor from Intel.

The new models were presented at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Wednesday, and the companies said they run 15 percent faster and with 50 percent more battery life than current models. The new laptops are available from Acer, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard and Asus. These are Asus' and Toshiba's first Chromebooks, meaning that six of the top laptop manufacturers will now be selling models using this platform.

The new HP Chromebook 14 features a 14-inch display, offers 4G as an option, is available in a variety of colors and promises over nine hours of battery life. The HP 14 has a starting price of $300, and will be available for the holiday season. Other prices for the new models have not yet been announced.

Quarter of PCs Under $300

The Asus Chromebox desktop computer, a small desktop device being compared to a Mac Mini, is being promoted for kiosks or call centers, as well as for homes or businesses. The Acer model has an 11.6-inch screen and promises 8-1/2 hours of battery life.

The presentation was made by Doug Fisher, Intel's vice president of the Software and Services group. Fisher was joined by Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who said that, according to external analysts such as the NPD Group, about one-quarter of all PCs sales under $300 are now Chromebooks. He added that they were also being used in more than 5,000 U.S. schools.

With this foothold, Intel and Google are increasingly putting major resources behind the development of Chromebooks. Intel's Fisher pointed out that his company currently has more than 1,000 engineers working to develop and support Chromebooks.

'Nice Looking'

Charles King, an analyst...

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