Wednesday at Intel’s (INTC) Developer Forum in San Francisco, Google (GOOG) said fresh Chromebooks are on the way from newly signed OEMs ASUS and Toshiba, in addition to updated models from HP (HPQ) and Acer, all sporting the chipmaker’s upcoming battery-saving Haswell processor.
In the past few months, Google has scored somewhat of an unexpected hit with Chromebooks, which have captured a significant portion of the under-$300 notebook segment and are gaining a noteworthy presence in the education market. Indeed, in a blog post, the vendor pointed out that researcher NPD pegs Chromebooks’ share of the under-$300 market at about 25 percent and estimates that 5,000 schools in 20 percent of school districts in the United States have adopted the platform. The lone entry occupying the high-end of the Chromebook market is Google’s Pixel at $1,300.
On the face of it, those Chromebook numbers may seem impressive, but still, no one—not Google and not any of the Chromebook OEMs—are saying anything about unit shipments. As The VAR Guy pointed out, the only useful data at this point on actual shipments comes from NetMarketShare, which in April 2013 estimated web traffic from Chromebooks was roughly 2/100 of 1 percent. So, we can probably settle in on that it’s not a lot.
Inasmuch as the new Chromebooks will feature Intel’s Haswell processor, it’s a safe bet to figure their battery life will approach nine hours and the price point will be set somewhere south of $300.
The four manufacturers are expected to roll out the new Chromebooks over the course of the next few months, said Caesar Sengupta, Chromebooks product management director, in a blog post.
“Together with our hardware partners, we’ve been working on expanding the Chromebook family,” he wrote. “Over the coming months, you’ll see Chromebooks from multiple device manufacturers. These include newly designed Chromebooks from Acer and HP, as well as new entrants ASUS and Toshiba.”
Google isn’t saying much about the new entries, assumedly deferring to the OEMs themselves to announce the models. But Sengupta did offer that the HP Chromebook 14 will feature a large display and will come in a variety of colors, Acer’s entry will be lightweight, Toshiba’s is expected to highlight its versatility and portability and Asus’ model will be a little less rectangular and little more boxy.