New 'Haswell' Chromebooks expected this week at IDF

Google and Intel will share information about new Chromebooks at Intel's chip conference this week

New Chromebooks running Intel's latest Haswell processors are expected to be announced at the Intel Developer Forum this week, according to a source familiar with the plans.

Chromebooks are thin and light laptops based on Google's Chrome OS and aimed at people who do most of their computing on the Web. Some of the new models will use Intel's fourth-generation Core processors, code-named Haswell, providing a boost to application performance.

Chromebooks are currently sold by Google, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Acer and Samsung. Additional PC makers are expected to join the fray when the new systems are announced this week, according to the source.

Details of the new Chromebooks will be shared Wednesday morning at an IDF keynote by Doug Fisher, general manager of Intel's software and services group. A Google executive is expected to join him on stage to talk about how Google is working with Intel to optimize Android and Chrome software for Intel chips.

Prices for Chromebooks vary widely -- Acer's starts at US$199, while Google's Chromebook Pixel is priced at $1,299 due to its higher-end hardware. It has a 12.5-inch screen that can display images at 2560 x 1700 resolution, and is intended to showcase newer PC technologies.

The adoption of Chromebooks has been slow, but the Haswell chip could help change that and expand their use beyond cloud-based applications. Intel claims dual-core Haswell chips will offer up to 50 percent more battery life compared to their Ivy Bridge predecessors.

The new Chromebooks might also use low-power Core i3 chips that Intel started shipping this month for fanless tablets and laptops. Those chips consume 4.5 watts to 11 watts of power depending on usage.

Intel has said Google's Chrome OS will also appear in laptops running its "Bay Trail" Atom processors. Bay Trail was designed for tablets and low-cost laptops, and Intel was expected to announce new Bay Trail chips this week.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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