Google for Education moves over 1 million Chromebooks during Q2 of 2014

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Today, Google’s Senior Director of Global Enterprise Marketing, Chris Farinacci, announced that the search giant moved over 1 million Chromebooks through its Google for Education program during Q2 of 2014. Part of the company’s success is based on school districts and teachers using Google’s alternative laptops and software as tools to educate students.

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Google unifying Android and Chromebooks to keep you in its ecosystem

 

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Today during its annual I/O developers conference, Google revealed a bevy of new products and services, however a particular presentation managed to stand out among the rest. Shortly after previewing its next version of Android, the company started talking about Chromebooks. Not exactly the longest segment of the show, Mountain View’s focus appeared to be bridging the gap between Chromebooks and Android.

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Chrome OS updated with launcher folders and enhanced window controls

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Google released an update for its Chrome OS today and and in addition to some standard bug fixes and security patches, 35.0.1916.116 adds some noticeable features. For starters, the Chrome OS launcher now supports folders, so users can organize their apps as they see fit. Google has also updated window controls based on user feedback. The minimize button has now returned and the left/right tiling of windows is now accessible by long-pressing the maximize button. Hotwording (“OK Google”) in now available to US Chrome OS users through the New Tab Page and Google.com. Mountain View has also added captive portal detection during sign-in. This addition will make it easier to connect to public networks at places like hotels, airports and libraries that use a landing page to authenticate users before using the internet.

 

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Google updates Chrome OS device end-of-life schedule, Cr-48 operating on borrowed time (update)

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Nothing lasts forever and if you’ve invested in a Chrome OS-powered device, it’s good to know how much support time you’ll have from Google. The folks in Mountain View recently updated its end-of-life schedule for Chrome OS devices, letting people know how long a specific product will have guaranteed support from Google. What happens when your device reaches its EOL date? It’ll work, however it may no longer receive automatic software updates from Google. This will most likely result in missing features and possible performance issues.

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Intel announces conflict-free computer micro-processors, starting with those in new Chromebooks

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In addition to the new ChromeOS and Intel-based ChromeBook announcements this morning, Intel announced an important new manufacturing initiative for its computer microprocessors. The company announced via a video that it will be moving production of its processors to completely lack conflict materials. These new chips, including the more efficient Bay Trail, will be conflict free in the new ChromeBooks. Intel’s video explicitly mentions materials such as gold, tungsten, and tin coming from war zones in the Congo. The video says that Intel is choosing to completely revamp its processor manufacturing operations and to assist these zones rather than abandoning them and moving to already conflict-free zones for sourcing materials.

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Lenovo offers its first consumer-oriented Chromebooks to world’s largest customer base, starting at $279

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The profile of Chromebooks is likely to get a boost after the world’s largest PC manufacturer, Lenovo, announced its first Chromebooks aimed at the consumer market. Pricing starts at $279.

Lenovo, best known for its Windows laptops, launched its first Chromebook in January – but that one was pitched at the education market, selling in bulk to schools and colleges. This is the first time it has pitched a Chromebook directly at consumers – something which may worry Microsoft. Lenovo has 18.6 percent of the PC market, ahead of HP, Dell and Acer …  Read more

Two new Samsung Chromebooks pop up ahead of official launch

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While we’ve yet to get official word on the machines from Samsung, it looks like two new Samsung Chromebooks will be going on sale shortly as retailer B&H begins accepting preorders for the new models. The listings were spotted by OMGChrome (via GigaOM) but since removed.

Presumably replacing the original 11.6-inch Samsung Chromebook model that sells for $249 ($329 with 3G) is an 11.6-inch model starting at $299 featuring a Samsung Exynos 5 SoC and a $399 model with a 13.3-inch display. There isn’t much more information on the new Chromebooks at the moment, but we expect Samsung will announce them once it wraps up its big smartphone announcements at MWC this week.  Read more

HP’s LTE Chromebook 11 to skip on 3G hardware, says chip supplier Altair

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Update: Best Buy is already listing the new model online for $379 (via Liliputing).

Reuters is reporting a claim by Israel’s Altair Semiconductor that HP will be launching a LTE-only Chromebook 11, with connectivity provided by the company’s chips.

“Our solution equips the Chromebook with a dependable and incredibly fast Internet connection,” said Eran Eshed, vice president of marketing and business development at Altair. “By focusing on 100 percent LTE and eliminating costly 3G components, we were able to help our partners lower the cost of this critical LTE connectivity feature” …

Google’s high end Chromebook Pixel is also LTE-only but the move for a more bargain-centric product has some folks scratching their heads…. Read more

Report: Inventer of the ‘netbook’ ASUS to launch its first Chromebook later this year

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The sub-$250 Chromebooks were a huge hit for both Samsung and Acer last year, and according to a new report out of DigiTimes, ASUS is also planning to enter the growing Chrome OS market. The site claims that ASUS is planning to make a foray into the Chromebook market as soon as the fourth quarter of this year. After experiencing low-demand for the back-to-school season, the company is looking to boost its shipment numbers, notably to education customers. ASUS recently reduced its notebook shipment predictions for 2013 from 22-24 million units to 17-19 million units.

With its entry in the Chromebook business, Asustek is hoping to gain orders from the education industry. Although order volumes are likely to be limited, they will still help the company.

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Chromebooks exploding in down PC market, now up to a quarter of all laptops sold for under $300

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Since the iPad was announced, we’ve seen PC sales fall every year due to people discovering that they can do anything they need on a laptop on the more affordable iPad and Android tablets. Chromebooks, however, have become much more affordable over the last year, which has led to some people going with the Samsung and Acer models instead of tablets. According to the latest data from NPD Group Inc. (via Bloomberg), Chromebooks have accounted for between 20 and 25 percent of all laptop sales under $300 over the last eight months. Overall, according to IDC data, PC shipments fell 4 percent in 2012 and will fall 7.8 percent this year.

Overall,  Chromebooks still make up a small percentage of the entire laptop market. In the first quarter of 2013, Chromebooks accounted for 4 to 5 percent of laptop market. When you compare that to the 1 to percent in 2012, however, it’s pretty tremendous growth.

“We’re seeing tremendous growth, without a doubt — massive, massive growth,” said Caesar Sengupta, head of product development for Chromebooks.

This shows that affordable, entry-level Chromebooks are not buggy and inconsistent like many people expected them to be, but are rather decent alternatives to tablets for people who still want a keyboard.  Read more

Asus to offset declining Windows PC business with Chromebooks and already brisk Android tablet biz

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Asus CEO Jerry Shen revealed today that the company plans to ship Asus notebooks running Chrome OS later this year.

Acer, HP, and Samsung have already shipped Chromebooks ranging in price from $199 to $449, as PC World notes, which gives an idea at where Asus could price their hardware.

The Asus CEO expects Chromebook’s success to be in government and education as well as commercial use rather than with consumers.

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OLPC dream realized: DonorsChoose.org is giving Samsung Chromebooks to schools for $99/ea

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Google just revealed more than 1,000 schools have adopted Chromebooks in classrooms, and it is now working with DonorsChoose.org to “help budget-strapped classrooms across the country.”

DonorsChoose is an online charity that, as Google coined it, connects public school classroom to donors, and the Google partnership will subsequently allow teachers to request the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook at a discount price of $99. The special price is only for the holiday season and includes hardware, management, and support.

Google explained the details on the official Google blog:

If you’re a full-time public school teacher in the U.S., visit DonorsChoose.org and follow the instructions to take advantage of this opportunity by December 21, 2012. Your request will be posted on DonorsChoose.org where anyone can make a donation to support your classroom. When you reach your funding goal, you’ll receive your Chromebooks from Lakeshore Learning, DonorsChoose.org’s exclusive fulfillment partner for this program.

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