Toshiba Launches Its First Chromebook Laptop

Add Toshiba to the list of manufacturers joining the Chromebook bandwagon. The hardware maker announced its Toshiba Chromebook on Monday in Las Vegas, where the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is getting underway.

The new model, in addition to being ToshibaEUs first for this Net-based platform, is also the first Chromebook with a 13.3-inch screen, since others have been smaller or, in the case of HPEUs recently released model, larger at 14 inches. The Intel Celeron processor-based unit also features a TruBrite twisted nematic (TN) screen with 1366 x 768 resolution, 2 GB of memory, a 16 GB solid-state drive, 100 GB of free online storage at Google Drive for two years, two USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi. It is expected to go on sale in mid-February for a retail price of $279.

The Chrome OS is designed to run almost entirely online through the Google Chrome Web browser, with apps and much of the data in the cloud. Laptops using the platform have been steadily attracting interest because of their low prices and low maintenance.

Maintenance, Security

With cloud-based apps, organizations do not need to manually or remotely update a fleet of computers every time thereEUs a new application release, and much of the security is handled by GoogleEUs maintenance of Chrome OS and related apps online.

Late last month, industry research firm NPD Group caused a stir when it reported that Chromebooks represented 9.6 percent of laptop sales through B2B commercial channels, from January to November 2013. This large increase from its 0.2 percent position in 2012 would by itself warrant attention, but many Google-watchers neglected to note that the report looked only at selected commercial channels, not the general market. In the overall PC/tablet market, IDC has reported that Chromebooks do not yet top 1 percent.

Even so,...

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