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Google and Intel team up for Chromebook push, new Core i3 and Bay Trail-M models revealed

Google and Intel have partnered up to give Chrome OS a big marketing push, with new intel-powered Chromebook laptops arriving later this year

The summer is almost upon us (although you may not know it from looking out the window) and for laptop manufacturers that means thinking about the back-to-school season. For Acer, Dell and Asus, that means betting big on a new range of Chromebooks powered by new Intel processors; an event co-hosted by Google and Intel earlier this week revealed the new models, which will use Core i3 and Bay Trail-M CPUs for performance and battery life respectively.

Dell will be launching a Core i3-powered version of its Chromebook 11 “later this year”, and Acer’s Core i3-powered C720 should arrive in time for the new school term for $349 (roughly £205 before VAT). The faster processor should provide a welcome speed boost over existing Chromebooks, which use Celeron CPUs, but battery life remains a mystery.

Asus C200

The Asus C200

If you need to go all day without stopping to charge, a new Bay Trail-M Chromebook may be a better choice. Asus will be launching the 11.6in C200 and 13.3in C300, which will both be completely fanless for silent running, and should last up to 11 hours on a single battery cycle. Acer also has a Bay Trail-M model in the works, but neither company was ready to talk prices or availability.

Although both Google and Intel are focusing on the entry-level with these new Chromebook models, or as second machines rather than replacements for a Windows desktop or laptop, it’s still a little disappointing not to see any new models with high resolution screens. Most are stuck with low resolution 11 or 13in panels, while Samsung’s Exynos-powered Chromebook 2 has a 1080p screen. Right now you’ll have to choose between performance and display resolution, so hopefully further down the line there will be a middle ground device with both.

Google also revealed some new Chrome OS features at the event, including the addition of Google Now from Android and an update to Google Play which will add a full Play Movies and TV app with offline playback. Both are expected to arrive later this year.

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