Asus Chromebook Flip, Low-Cost Haier and Hisense Chromebooks Announced

Asus Chromebook Flip, Low-Cost Haier and Hisense Chromebooks Announced
Google has announced the launch and availability of a variety of new low-cost devices running its Chrome OS platform, including traditional Chromebooks, a touch-enabled 2-in-1, and an ultra-compact HDMI stick that can be plugged into any display.

The Asus Chromebook Flip is described as a "premium metal" device and has a keyboard as well as a 10.1-inch touchscreen which can fold over backwards for better comfort when used as a tablet. It will be available in the US within two months for $249 (approximately Rs. 15,525). The Chromebook Flip is based on a Rockchip 3288 processor with four ARM Cortex A17 cores, and promises 10 hours of battery life. The screen resolution is 1280x800 and there is 16GB of storage space.

The Verge notes that while Chrome OS hasn't always been touch-centric, Android apps are expected to be portable across Google's two operating systems soon. Touch-enabled Chromebooks have been available before, but the OS now has Android's virtual keyboard making tablet and convertible form factors possible for the first time.

Google also had announcements regarding more traditional Chromebooks. Two new models, built by Haier and Hisense, also based on ARM Cortex-A17 processors, will bring the entry-level price down to $149 (approximately Rs. 9,300). Both feature 11.6-inch 1366x768-pixel screens, 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built in, and both devices offer two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI output, and a microSD card slot. Battery life is rated at 10 hours for the Haier model and 8.5 hours for the Hisense model.

The two are already available in the US at Amazon and Walmart respectively. Later this year, additional models from Xolo, Nexian and True will roll out, along with models from Acer, Aopen, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, HP and LG.

Asus is also building a much smaller Chrome OS device, the $99 (approximately Rs. 6,175) Chromebit dongle. It can plug directly into a TV or monitor with an HDMI port, and is powered through a Micro-USB port. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity allow for keyboards, mice and of course Internet access. Google already sells the similar-sized Chromecast dongle, and other companies have demonstrated HDMI stick PCs before, such as Intel's Compute Stick.

The Chromebit will be a low-cost way to repurpose old hardware and create kiosks or terminals for Internet access. It will be available in summer 2015.

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