Acer offered up the new $200 Chromebook C720-2848 late last week at the same time as rival Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) was forced to pull its $279 Chromebook 11 off retail shelves over defective charging units.
Will the low, low, low watershed price of Acer’s new Chromebook spark a price war or will the unit remain an outlier? And, will the HP Chromebook 11's charger problems hurt the budding market for Web-centric, Chrome-OS based laptops? With the holiday buying season nearly here, it will be interesting to see how other Chromebook suppliers ASUS, Lenovo and Toshiba respond to Acer’s move and HP's troubles.
Acer rolled out the Chromebook C720-2848--positioned to compete against the HP Chromebook 11--just as complaints of overheating chargers appeared from users about the HP model, prompting the vendor to yank it from Amazon (AMZN), Best Buy (BBY), Google Play and other sales outlets.
Bloomberg reported eight instances of Chromebook 11 chargers overheating and one case in which it melted.
Google Product Management VP Caesar Sengupta, in acknowledging “a small number of user reports that some chargers included with the device have been damaged due to overheating during use,” advised HP Chromebook 11 buyers in a blog post to avoid using the charger and replace it with any Underwriters Lab (UL)-listed micro USB charger.
He said Google is working with the “Consumer Product Safety Commission to identify the appropriate corrective action, and will provide additional information and instructions as soon as we can.” At this point, there’s no word on how HP and Google will handle the snafu.
New Acer Chromebook
As for the new Acer Chromebook, it is similar to the $250 C720-2800 the vendor unveiled last month but with different memory specs. The new C720-2848 features an 11.6-inch screen at an 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, 8.5 hours of battery life and runs on an Intel (INTC) Celeron Haswell chip. It weighs a scant 2.75 lbs., sports a 16GB solid state drive and 2GB of DRAM and comes with a free 100GB of Google Drive online storage good for two years. Additional features include a webcam, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports and an HDMIU connection.
Acer has made the Chromebook C720-2848 available immediately in the U.S. from Amazon and Best Buy. The vendor did not indicate if or when it would expand distribution globally.