And then there were five. Six, if you also count Google. Chromebook manufacturers, that is, as Dell has just joined Acer, Samsung, HP and Lenovo in a computer class that not many believed at the very beginning was going anywhere.
Besides, Asus has recently confirmed its Chromebook interest, so there’ll basically be no first-class PC player left out. For now, let’s focus on Dell and its aptly yet somewhat confusingly named Chromebook 11.
Confusingly, since HP also has a Chromebook 11. Then again, Dell’s mini-laptop will be mostly focused on students and teachers, being touted as part of the company’s growing “end-to-end education ecosystem”.
You can therefore expect several learning tools pre-loaded on Dell’s Chromebook 11, as well as security solutions and apps like the Wyse PocketCloud. Strictly from a hardware point of view, the 11-incher doesn’t look in any way special compared with other Chrome OS-running machines, packing Intel Celeron “Haswell” speed, 2 or 4 GB RAM and a 16 GB SSD.
The 11.6-inch screen is fairly run-of-the-mill too, with 1,366 x 768 pixels resolution, whereas the battery may well be the main selling point, being rated at ten hours of running time between charges. The 4 GB RAM config is due out in January 2014, the 2 GB model should launch a bit later (March at the latest), and pricing details are scarce at the moment.
Dell says the Chromebook 11 “is expected to sell below $300”, however it doesn’t mention which of the two versions it refers to. I’m guessing the 2 GB-er, with the higher-end config likely going for $350 or so.