Acer Group has announced the world’s first Chromebook – a notebook running Google’s Chrome OS – powered by Nvidia Corp.’s Tegra K1 system-on-chip. The laptop offers everything that the Chrome OS has to offer in addition to a high-performance application processor from Nvidia and up to 13 hours of battery life.
The Acer Chromebook 13 is based on quad-core Nvidia Tegra K1 SoCs with ARM Cortex-A15 general-purpose cores and Kepler-based GeForce graphics processor with 192 stream processors. The systems come with 13.3” anti-glare displays, LPDDR3 RAM, solid-state storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2*2 MIMO antenna, USB 3.0, 720p webcam, stereo speakers, a microphone and so on.
The new Chromebooks from Acer will exist in three versions:
- The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T9B0 – 1920*1080 full HD display, 2GB of memory and a 16GB NAND flash storage. It carries $299.99 price-tag in the U.S. (€223, £177 without taxes);
- The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T1UU – 1920*1080 full HD display, 4GB of memory and a 32GB NAND flash storage. It is priced at $379.99 in the U.S. (€283, £225 without taxes);
- The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T7NN – 1366*768 full HD display, 2GB of memory and a 16GB NAND flash storage. The recommended price is $279.99 (€208, £165 without taxes) in the U.S.
The design of Acer Chromebook 13 resembles that of Apple’s MacBook Air, whereas the weight does not exceed 1.5 kilograms. Acer claims that its Chromebooks have battery life between 11 and 13 hours.
The main problem of Chromebooks is that they require Internet connection to offer users advanced functionality. Since the quality of Internet connections varies, the majority of people just play it safe and get familiar Windows-based laptops. Still, the situation is gradually improving and there are programs for the Chrome OS that can work offline as well.
Gartner predicts that sales of Chromebooks will only reach 5.2 million units this year, hence, Acer will barely sell a lot of its Chromebook 13 devices. Nonetheless, it is remarkable that the company can provide basic computing functionality and premium visual quality using a mobile application processor.
The Acer Chromebook 13 starts shipping this month and will be available in European, North American and Asia Pacific markets.
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KitGuru Says: While the prospects of Chromebooks are not truly good, it should be noted that prospects of low-cost PCs running SoCs akin to Nvidia’s Tegra K1 are pretty nice. Next-generation Windows 9 “Threshold” is expected to support both ARM and x86 microprocessors (since it will be designed for smartphones, tablets and PCs), which will automatically open the door for Tegra K1 to the market currently dominated by Intel Corp. and AMD. This is when Tegra may actually start to shine.