February 04, 2013

The First Chromebook from HP is Here

When Google (News Alert) launched Chrome OS back in early 2010, the company said it wanted to “rethink the personal computing experience for the Web.” Back then, HTML5 had not fully taken off and Web apps were still not very powerful.

Fast forward two years later and you have an OS that can pretty much do anything your traditional desktop can, maybe even more.

Chromebooks have started getting adoption and one company after another has been developing these low-priced laptop alternatives.

HP is the latest to have built and made available its Chromebook. Running on the Chrome OS, the HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook is truly unlike other Chromebooks from Samsung, Acer (NewsAlert) and Lenovo. While the first wave of Chromebooks had 11.6- and 12-inch screens, the Pavilion 14 boasts a 14-inch 1366 x 768 panel with a correspondingly large laptop frame. It comes with three USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot and 16GB of solid state storage.

Though battery life on Chromebooks has been disappointing, the HP Chromebook brings it no lower, running at slightly above four hours.

Comparing the Pavilion 14 with Acer’s C7 and Samsung’s Series 5 Chromebooks, it offers pretty much the same level of performance as its contemporaries. It comes with a 1.1Ghz Celeron processor and 2GB of RAM (NewsAlert), and debuts at $329.99.

Chrome OS is unlike any other OS. It is not designed for doing anything particularly heavy since everything is expected to run in the browser environment. While window management is something the Chrome team deemed worth adding, the basic idea of running Web-based apps has not changed. Users can now run Web apps that feel like native apps, with no address bar or browser toolbars, offering a more fluid-like experience.

Chrome OS also delivers some limited offline capabilities, including a “Downloads” folder and a media player. Google, however, is keen on inducing users to upload everything in the cloud, hence the lack of obvious features like local drive search.

For those of us who live and work inside the browser, a Chromebook will continue to be an enticing alternative as laptops age. I, for once, can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Edited by Braden Becker


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