It may well end up just being a couple of hours of Sundar Pichai eating breakfast, but the Chrome and Android head has promised some exciting announcements from both camps today, and the rumour mill points towards a new Nexus 7, a Chrome-powered dongle for your telly and possibly some new Chromebooks and Android 4.3 news. Whatever happens, you can catch it all in the stream embedded above from 5pm BST/12pm Eastern/9am Pacific.
At a press event in San Francisco today, Google has unveiled the Chromebook Pixel, the latest addition to the expanding line of Chrome OS-based laptops. As one of the company’s first ventures into hardware, the Pixel represents a change of direction with Google’s strategy, and the hardware inside shows that Google is pitching it towards a higher end of the market than existing ‘disposable’ models from the likes of Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and HP.
The Chromebook Pixel has a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 32GB of solid state storage coupled with 1TB of additional Google Drive storage free for 3 years, usually costing $49.99 per month. A 720p HD webcam sits above the market-leading 239ppi 12.85″ 2560 x 1700 touch display and, with its £1,049 ($1,299) price tag, the machine is being pitched as the world’s first premium Chromebook, and the company will be shipping it next week via Google Play and through retail partners, with a $1,499 model with twice the internal storage and support for Verizon’s LTE network set to hit US stores in April.
Recently we’ve seen new Chromebook models from Acer, Samsung and more recently Lenovo, and a spec sheet discovered on HP’s site shows that they too are throwing their hats into the cloud-based computing ring. The PDF states that the 14″ 1366 x 768 Pavilion Chromebook is capable of running for 4 hours 15 minutes on a charge, and the remainder of its hardware appears reminiscent of a mashup between Acer’s C7 and Samsung’s Series 3, with the C7’s 1.1GHz Intel Celeron 847 processor coupled with 16GB of solid state storage as found in the Samsung model. The whole package weighs in at 1.8kg and it features 3 USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port, although a disc drive remains absent. There is no word on when we will see this hitting store shelves, but another major Windows manufacturer beginning Chromebook production is bound to cause shivers in Redmond.
Google’s family of Chrome OS-powered devices has expanded again today with Lenovo’s announcement of the ThinkPad X131e Chromebook, a variant of the existing Windows-powered machine. Pitched by the company exclusively towards the education market, the ThinkPad X131e Chromebook features reinforced hinges and a ‘rugged’ design that is sure to keep it safe around any child, but the 1.77kg machine is not likely to be as child-friendly as the 1.10kg Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, which, like the Lenovo, features an 11.6″ 1366 x 768 matte display and around 6.5 hours of battery, a figure which Lenovo claims should last the entire school day. Unlike the latest Samsung model, however, the X131e sports an as-yet-unspecified Intel processor and is not currently expected to get a wide release. Interested schools will be able to pick them up from February 26th for $429 (£268) with an optional $30 (£19) charge ensuring support from Google. Compared to the $249/£229 Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, the X131e does not look like the best of deals, but a third manufacturer joining the Chrome OS family after the release of the Acer C7 earlier this year only serves as encouragement for the browser-loving among us.
Not long after releasing its new Series 3 Chromebook, Samsung has announced a new version of its Series 3 Chromebox desktop computer powered by Google’s Chrome OS. While the new Chromebox has an all-new plastic shell, the hardware is identical to the previous iteration, with the same 1.9GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB RAM, 16GB solid state storage and wide array of USB ports. While online Chrome OS retailers such as Currys PC World and Amazon do not appear to be stocking the device at the time of writing, a Chrome Story reader claims he was able to buy one from PC World in Bristol at the same £279 price tag as the earlier iteration, suggesting that widespread availability for cloud-loving desktop users is not too far off.