HP ships Chromebook, looks beyond Windows laptops

The Pavilion 14 Chromebook is targeted at home users but only offers four hours of battery life

Hewlett-Packard has announced the availability of its latest Pavilion laptop with Google's Chrome OS as the PC maker tries to improve laptop sales by offering an alternative to the Windows OS.

The Pavilion 14 Chromebook has a 14-inch screen and runs on a dual-core Intel processor. The laptop is roughly 21 millimeters thick, and weighs 1.8 kilograms. It offers just over four hours of battery life, said David Conrad, director for product management at HP's consumer products group.

The laptop is expected to ship on Monday in the U.S. starting at $329.99. The company did not immediately provide worldwide availability information.

HP wanted to widen its product offerings and the new Chromebook is targeted at those who do most of their computing on the Web, Conrad said.

"It's really about choice. We have a very wide offering," Conrad said. "We think the time is right for an additional choice for people to have a gateway to their Google digital lifestyle."

The laptop has only 16GB of solid-state drive storage, but will offer 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years.

The Chromebook has the same design as HP's other PC offerings, which mostly run on Windows and have standard-capacity hard drives. But, with a lot of data moving to the cloud, the Chromebook provides a different usage model.

"We see this as another device to be used around the house. It's easily managed," Conrad said.

The product announcement comes after the laptop's existence was revealed this week by online publication The Verge. HP's Chromebook will compete with Lenovo's ThinkPad X131e Chromebook, which is priced at US$429, and Acer's C7 Chromebook, which starts at $199. Both of those laptops run on Intel processors. HP's Chromebook will also compete against Samsung's Chromebooks, which start at $249 and run on an ARM Cortex-A15 processor.

HP found that Intel's processor was close around 20 percent to 25 percent faster than some ARM processors in Web performance based on JavaScript and other benchmarks, Conrad said. HP also wanted to provide a user experience consistent with its other PC offerings, which is another reason it chose Intel over ARM, Conrad said.

The screen can display images at 1366-by-768 pixel resolution. HP is only offering Wi-Fi and there are no immediate plans to offer 3G or 4G mobile broadband connectivity, Conrad said.

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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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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