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Once you have regular security problems on your Windows 10 PC like me, and you are essentially already close to 100% using web applications only like me, than it is time to move over to the Chrome OS platform. And this could be done now with a rock bottom cost. This is what I’ve found by examining the latest Chrome OS platform information as well as the entry level hardware represented by devices built on Rockchip RK3288-C SoC (a low-end quadcore 64-bit ARM SoC with lowest cost IP inside, so the SoC is the lowest cost too).
There is a “hidden” advantage as well. The “Android apps on Chrome OS” is in Beta now, but when the current Android Framework in Chrome OS will move from support of Android Marshmallow [6.0] to Android Nougat [7.0] Coming to Chrome OS 58 or 59 all Google Play store apps will be available properly on Chrome devices as well. In a companion post I’ve examined the current state-of-the-art of Android security as well, and that is looking much better than that of current Windows 10. So as far as all this information is concerned such a platform change looks like the final solution for my current security issues on Win10.
There is a further impetus from yesterday’s news on Microsoft Edge comes last in browser security battle By 18 hours ago from techradar:
Chrome remains the undisputed champion at Pwn2Own
So let’s examine first the state-of-the-art of Chrome OS security:
1:57-2:00: “What we know is that every Chrome device on the market today has a TPM.”
Streamed live on Feb 1, 2017, G Suite: Chrome OS Security Guide, an in-depth discussion by David Karam, Chrome OS Product Manager. An overview of Chrome OS security across the entire stack.
Next let’s see the latest information about the strategic value proposition of the Chrome OS:
March 9, 2017, Google Cloud: Simple, flexible, and secure Chrome OS solutions built for the future (Google Cloud Next ’17) by Rajen Sheth Director of Product Management, Android and Chrome for Business and Education, Google. As businesses evolve, they need technology solutions that are simple, flexible and cost-effective to help them succeed today and build for tomorrow. Chrome provides solutions fit for the workplace of the future – providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. Learn how your business can leverage ChromeOS in multiple ways.
March 15, 2017, G Suite: Optimizing your Retail Business with Google Chrome (17- min) by Chris McLaughlin (Strategy and Solutions Manager, Android and Chrome at Google)
– Retail is being disrupted by digital. With a need to improve the in-store experience, retailers want technology to optimize employee effectiveness and customer experience.
Chrome devices empower retail store employees and delight customers while improving IT efficiency.
March 8, 2017, The Keyword from Google: How businesses are smartly transforming with Google Cloud, Android, and Chrome by Rajen Sheth Director of Product Management, Android and Chrome for Business and Education, Google.
While businesses with a mobile strategy are commonplace today, that doesn’t mean the mobile transformation is over. Today, we’re highlighting how companies are using Google Cloud, Chrome, and Android to reimagine the way they engage customers in public spaces and also equip employees to work more productively in the office and in the field.
Smart signs cut costs and provide customer insights
We recently collaborated with Coca-Cola on Chrome-based digital signs for supermarkets that pull in localized ads from DoubleClick and are equipped with beacon technology for pushing personalized messages to mobile users.
The company has worked closely with Google Cloud to build a new signage solution that includes affordable digital sign and menu boards for Coca-Cola sellers.
“Our mission at Coca-Cola is to elevate the consumer experience to a place of pure excellence and the ability to send the right message to the right person at the right time is key to driving that world class experience in the connected retail world,” said Greg Chambers, Global Group Director of Digital Innovation at Coca-Cola.
The displays are powered by inexpensive Chromebit devices connected to a content management system (CMS) on Google Cloud Platform. The Chromebits also provide simple, centralized management of the signs. Combined with sensors, they can offer the company detailed, actionable information through Google Analytics as well as highly contextual advertising to other screens like nearby customer smartphones.
Android plus cloud intelligence enables field workers
UK pest control company Rentokil Initial is piloting a fleet of Android devices that utilize Google Cloud machine learning, including our Vision API image classification technology, to help field workers better identify pests and get treatment suggestions. Employees use an Android app to capture images that are identified using a machine learning model that’s been trained on Rentokil’s pest imagery database. The app then provides solutions to eradicate the pests. The PestID app, jointly developed by Accenture Mobility, is among the first wave of solutions Google is helping build as part of an alliance announced last year with Accenture.
Connecting manufacturing to the back office
42Q, a product division of manufacturing services provider Sanmina, developed a Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) solution that runs on Google Cloud Platform.
It enables Sanmina employees and 42Q’s customers to bring real-time transparency to their factory operations using Android and Chrome devices. Using 42Q with Chrome, “deskless” back office workers can access work instructions, data requirements, and quality plans without deploying heavy client applications and expensive equipment.
Factory operators can also use the 42Q Android app for a “tailored” mobile interface, ensuring they only see critical information on demand.
When combined with G Suite, everyone from front office planners to back office operators can collaborate on current production line states, critical orders and real time reporting on factory operations.
Tomorrow’s businesses: empowered with advanced devices, collaboration and context
With a Google Cloud devices and mobility strategy, businesses are able to gather contextual data through devices and apply machine learning analytics to quickly take smart, well-informed actions. And the more employees who use managed Chromebooks and Android devices to collaborate and securely access documents in G Suite, the more efficient your whole team becomes.
Several new devices support this secure data-driven strategy. The Asus Chromebook Flip and recently-announced Samsung Chromebook Pro and Plus function as both a Chromebook and an Android tablet with Google Play support. Last month, AOPEN launched the Chromebox mini and Chromebase mini, which also support Android apps and can use our new Kiosk APIs for improved app management and a robust customer experience.
To learn more about the Google Cloud devices and mobility solutions that enable a connected workspace, visit our booth at Next 2017 between March 8 and 10. There we’ll be demonstrating how a business becomes smarter when you pair Chrome and Android devices, cloud services and sensors with employees, customers and spaces. Or sign up here for additional information as we continue to evolve our range of data-driven tools to make every workspace connected no matter where it is.
Feb 22, 2017, AOAMarketing: AOPEN Chrome Webinar Series Part 1: Developing Next Gen Solutions AOPEN’s Jim Hoey along with Google’s Chris McLaughlin (Strategy and Solutions Manager, Android and Chrome at Google) go over Chrome OS, developing on Chrome, and an example of a fully integrated Chrome solution.
Feb 22, 2017, AOAMarketing: AOPEN Chrome Webinar Series Part 2: Chrome Device Management AOPEN’s Jim Hoey and Miles Schofield discuss the benefits of Chrome Device Management (CDM) and how businesses can utilize it for rapid deployments, reducing and controlling costs, and much more.
Feb 22, 2017, AOAMarketing: AOPEN Chrome Webinar Series Part 3: AOPEN Chrome Mini Devices AOPEN’s Jim Hoey and Miles Schofield introduces two new AOPEN Chrome Devices: Chromebox Mini and Chromebase Mini
Re: “TPM chip” mentioned in the early part of the 1st video above:
from Trusted Platform Module article in Wikipedia
Trusted Platform Module offers facilities for the secure generation of cryptographic keys, and limitation of their use, in addition to a random number generator. It also includes capabilities such as remote attestation and sealed storage, as follows:
- Remote attestation – creates a nearly unforgeable hash key summary of the hardware and software configuration. The program hashing the configuration data determines the extent of the summary of the software. This allows a third party to verify that the software has not been changed.
- Binding – encrypts data using TPM bind key, a unique RSA key descended from a storage key.
- Sealing – encrypts data in a similar manner to binding, but in addition specifies a state in which TPM must be in order for the data to be decrypted (unsealed).
Software can use a Trusted Platform Module to authenticate hardware devices. Since each TPM chip has a unique and secret RSA key burned in as it is produced, it is capable of performing platform authentication.
Generally, pushing the security down to the hardware level in conjunction with software provides more protection than a software-only solution. However even where a TPM is used, a key would still be vulnerable while a software application that has obtained it from TPM is using it to perform encryption/decryption operations, as has been illustrated in the case of a cold boot attack. This problem is eliminated if key(s) used in TPM are not accessible on a bus or to external programs and all encryption/decryption is done in TPM.
Starting in 2006, many new laptop computers have been sold with a built-in Trusted Platform Module chip. In the future, this concept could be co-located on an existing motherboard chip in computers, or any other device where the TPM facilities could be employed, such as a cell phone. On a PC, either the LPC bus or the SPI bus is used to connect to the TPM.
Many manufacturers make TPMs. The Trusted Computing Group has certified TPMs manufactured by Infineon Technologies, Nuvoton, and STMicroelectronics. The Trusted Computing Group has assigned TPM vendor IDs to Advanced Micro Devices, Atmel, Broadcom, IBM, Infineon, Intel, Lenovo, National Semiconductor, Nationz Technologies, Nuvoton, Qualcomm, Rockchip, Standard Microsystems Corporation, STMicroelectronics, Samsung, Sinosun, Texas Instruments, and Winbond.
- Discrete TPMs are chips that implement TPM functionality and nothing else, and are in their own semiconductor package. These implement their functions in hardware to resist software bugs and implement tamper resistance. They are therefore the most secure type of TPM.
- Integrated TPMs are part of another chip that implements other functionalities. While they use hardware that resists software bugs, they are not required to implement tamper resistance. Intel has integrated TPMs in some of its chipsets.
How does the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) compare to Trusted Platform Mobile (TPM)?
There are two main components of platform security:
- Trusted Execution Environment
- Trusted Platform Module
They work in tandem; one is not designed as a replacement of the other. As an analogy, TEE is the bulletproof safe, while TPM is the 128-digit combination lock for the safe. Both are needed to ensure the safe is protected.
TEE encompasses the following elements:
- A protected or secure execution of critical applications in a virtualized environment
- Safe and secure boot ensures all system software components are in a known and “trusted” state before launching.
TPM provides the following services:
- Remote attestation: External services can verify that the system has not been altered or tampered with by using a hash of both system state. The verification is performed on both hardware and software. It is necessary to check that the system is not compromised before executing sensitive processes.
- Binding: Encryption of data using a unique RSA key that is burned into the chip when the chip is manufactured.
- Sealing: A feature that ensures that data isn’t accessed or decrypted when the system is in normal operation. It ensures that applications cannot access protected data when the system is in a sealed mode. But it can also allow legitimate applications to access protected data.
Arguments were made that TPM is not necessary if the TEE is robust. Some vendors have chosen not to use external TPM and store the keys and protected data in a TEE-only addressable area. TEE can help with Binding and Sealing. ISO standards suggest using a full-fledged TPM. External TPM could be very useful in coordinating between several masters and other complex systems. On the other hand, solutions that only rely on TPM are very vulnerable for execution and boot attacks. It is easy to override the application run states and circumvent TPM.
Do Intel or AMD offer Trusted Execution Environments?
Yes, other processor architectures support TEE. Popular CPU Architectures and their TEE implementations:
- ARM TrustZone
- Intel TXT
- AMD Secure Execution Environment
All three of these TEE implementations provide a virtualized Execution Environment for the secure OS and applications. To switch between the secure world and the normal world, Intel provides SMX Instructions, while ARM uses SMC. Programmatically, they all achieve very similar results.
Popular TPM Implementations:
- ARM SecureCore
- TPMs from Broadcom and other vendors who meet ISO standards
ARM: SecurCore Processors
Tamper resistant – optimized for security applications
The ARM® SecurCore™ processor family provides powerful 32-bit secure solutions based upon industry leading ARM architecture. By enhancing highly successful ARM processors with security features, SecurCore provides smart card and secure IC developers easy access to the benefits of ARM 32-bit technology such as small die size, energy efficiency, low cost, excellent code density and outstanding performance. SecurCore processors, used in a wide range of security applications, outperform legacy 8-bit or 16-bit secure processors.
High performance smartcard and embedded security applications
Highest volume smartcard and embedded security applications.
ARM SecurCore processors are designed primarily for tamper-resistant smart cards and incorporate several security features that make SecurCore an ideal choice for such applications. Further details on the SecurCore security features are available under an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) from ARM.
ARM SecurCore are built upon the ARM Cortex-M series. They benefit from wide tools support, including full support from RealView® Microcontroller Development Kit (the Keil uVision environment), the most popular smart card development tool chain in the industry.
SecurCore is shaping the future of smart cards and it is successfully adopted in many applications:
SecurCore is the industry standard architecture of choice for smart cards.
We have been rolling out the Google Play Store on select Chromebooks on the Stable channel and the Play store will now be available on more Chromebooks in the coming months.
You can find the full list of Chromebooks here but please note also that all the Chromebooks we launch in 2017 will support Android apps.
This post aims to answer the most frequently asked questions about Android apps on Chrome OS and provide more clarity on which what Chromebooks run Android Apps:
Android apps are now available on Stable Channel in the following devices
- ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA
- Acer Chromebook R11 / C738T / CB5-132T
- Google Chromebook Pixel (2015)
- Samsung Chromebook Plus
- ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
- Acer Chromebook R13 (CB5-312T)
- ThinkPad 11e Chromebook 3rd Gen (Yoga/Clamshell)
- Dell Chromebook 13 7310
- ASUS Chromebook C202SA/C300SA/C301SA
- HP Chromebook 13 G1
- Samsung Chromebook 3
- HP Chromebook 11 G5 / HP Chromebook 11-vxxx
FREQUENT ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY ANDROID APPS AND HOW WE BUILT
What does it mean that “Android apps are coming to Chromebooks”?
“Android apps are coming to Chromebooks” means that we are bringing the Google Play Store and all Android apps to compatible Chromebooks.
Why are we building it?
Chrome OS has brought the web as a first class citizen to our users. With that, we made great productivity and knowledge devices. We want to give the Google Play Store Google’s app ecosystem, the same treatment and treat both the web and Android apps as first class citizens to our users and provide them with a platform for productivity, consumption, gaming and more.
How did we build this?
Android will run in a container side-by-side with Chrome OS. The apps will then be composited into Chrome OS inside of windows. Input into those windows (touch, mouse, keyboard) will be sent to the Android container and processed by the app. All concepts expected by Android apps (intents, notifications, toasts, you name it) will be fully supported by Chrome OS.
Why is Play Store not available for download on my Chromebook?
The Play Store is available for certain Chromebooks. To see the list of Chromebooks that will eventually be able to run the Play Store, check here.
I did not opt into to download Play Store support – how do I enable it?
You can enable Android apps by going into Settings and checking – Enable Google Play Store on your Chromebook. You can check steps in our Help Center.
I’m using Chromebook in my workplace or school, and heard that Play Store should be available for download – how come it’s not showing up?
Please ask your IT administrator so that you can enjoy using Play Store applications as soon as possible.
APPS & GOOGLE PLAY RELATED QUESTIONS
While the ability to run Android apps on Chrome OS continues to roll out, the question for many is when or if it will be updated. The answer is yes and pretty soon. This week while attending Google Cloud Next in San Francisco, I posed the question to Chrome OS product management in a breakout session and it was confirmed that Android Nougat will be coming to the platform build 58 or 59. Given that it is already in the beta channel, I suspect that it is likely 58.
As readers may know, Android Framework in Chrome OS currently is based on Android Marshmallow [6.0]. So, in theory, if an app will run in Marshmallow, it will run on Chrome. The tricky bit has been that some apps can’t go full screen in 6.0 and features like multi-window support for apps is not something that is supported at all in Marshmallow. All of that changes under 7.0 obviously as the framework allows for it.
The other big challenge with Marshmallow is that you can only run one app at a time, somewhat related to the multi-window aspect. In other words, if you are running an Android app on your Chromebook and switch focus to another app, the first app quits running on the backend. So things like sync don’t work. That would change in a Nougat framework.
When I asked Google about this, they confirmed that Nougat is coming to Chrome OS in the 58 or 59 train. That’s good because 58 is in the Beta Channel and 59 is in the Developer channel. So, at best, we are likely 6 weeks away and at worst, 12 weeks.
Perhaps the better news in all of this, the Chrome team also confirmed that they want to accelerate support in the future of Android so when Android O [8.0] is released later this year, we could see widespread support of it much faster than we have Nougat.
New York, 17 January 2017 – Two new powerful and innovative AOPEN Chrome devices, from one of the leading commercial* Chrome device manufacturers, are set to drive customer experience in 2017.
The AOPEN Chromebase Mini and Chromebox Mini devices are part of a new enterprise range aimed at bringing enterprise reliability and features at an affordable price.
The Chromebase Mini is an enterprise-ready interactive 10.1-inch all-in-one touchscreen solution. It’s designed to be managed with ease, reliability, and security – making it ideal for high-traffic enterprise environments including digital signage, POS, self-service kiosks, digital corporate communication, and AV room control.
The second device, the Chromebox Mini, is the smallest Chromebox on the market today and also runs on the Chrome OS platform. It is solid state and can be used as an SME or enterprise desktop replacement hosting IOT applications, digital signage and kiosks and affording greater control of in-store engagement.
Stephen Borg, Global Chief Digital Officer AOPEN Group, says the devices represent a major leap forward in design – allowing a ubiquitous approach to multiple use cases, rapid application development, and ease of use for the signage, kiosk, POS, and other enterprise markets.
“AOPEN designed its new Chrome OS device line to empower the customer by servicing a wide range of verticals and needs,” says Borg. “They are fully enterprise-ready in terms of product longevity and reliability, ease of large deployment, remote access, and service.”
The Chromebase Mini, an all-in-one 10.1-inch solution, does not require a kiosk protective case, is waterproof and tamper proof unlike like a consumer touch device.
The enterprise ready all-in-one touch device supports audio-video conference platforms, such as Google Hangouts. It offers mounting options for A/V or desktop use (including a built-in Vesa Mount stand), high-quality camera and audio, and a dual microphone. The chromebase mini is also accompanied by optional accessories such as recess wall mounts, POE adapters, and adapters to mount various payment solutions.
By leveraging AOPEN software layer meldCX, the Chromebase Mini is compatible with end-user legacy POS systems – featuring local app instances for offline use and device integration, while maintaining a competitive price point.
“The Chromebase Mini achieves both customer and operational benefits. Its aesthetic and interactive design makes it ideal for high-traffic enterprise environments and provides a compelling way for customers to transact. Retailers or Integrators can also use Chrome Device Management to control and manage their device fleets. It means that content updates and management of the devices can be done remotely via the cloud, and its ease of rollout gives retailers an amazing experience,” says Borg.
“The Chromebase Mini is also ideal for enterprise business solutions. It positions Chrome squarely in the cloud, offering secure flexibility of business cloud solutions and enabling both Google Hangouts and other video conferencing solutions.”
The Chromebox Mini is a solid-state, ultra-small form factor device. It is the smallest enterprise-ready Chromebox currently available.
It supports Chrome Device Management, and can be used as an enterprise desktop replacement. Its features include fanless design, Bluetooth, wide-reaching dual-band antenna, and power button extension ports for ease of mounting behind device or having other AV equipment control on/off state .
Both the Chromebase and Chromebox Mini are enterprise-grade solutions, at a price point suitable for home use for those wanting a more reliable silent solution. Both feature fanless/non-venting hole designs, can operate in a wide range of temperatures, and meet Google’s security requirements.
“Rather than re-purposing consumer-grade products and support for commercial environments, AOPEN has introduced a design for the Chrome Mini Range that is robust and reliable enough for enterprise deployments across key verticals – including retail, hospitality, and QSR,” says Borg.
Chromebase Mini – key features:
- Panel: 10.1” 1280 x 800 250nits AHVA
- Touch: 10 point multi-touch; pinch to zoom
- CPU: Quad-Core Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz
- DRAM: LPDDR3 Dual Channel 4GB
- Storage: EMMC 5.0 16GB
- FHD Webcam (2M)
- Built-in Dual Digital MIC and Stereo Speaker
- WIFI+ BT4.0: 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT4.0 x 1
Chromebox Mini Fievel – key features:
- Fanless/non venting hole design
- CPU:Quad-Core Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz
- DRAM: LPDDR3 Dual Channel 4GB
- Storage: EMMC 5.0 16GB
- WIFI+ BT4.0: 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT4.0 x 1
*AOPEN commercial grade products are engineered for 24/7, 365 use in a commercial environment. Products are all solid state. In addition, the Chromebase Mini has tamper proof and water resistant features.
Founded in 1996, AOPEN is today a major global electronics manufacturer and a thought leader in digital signage.
AOPEN is an official partner for Google Chrome devices, including the following tiers:
- Google Cloud Sales Premier Partner (Chrome)
- Google for Education Sales Premier Partner
- Google Cloud Services Partner (Chrome)
- Google for Work Education Services Partner
Specialising in multi-platform, ultra-small form factor computing for both home and business, AOPEN works with a wide range of partners – from hardware to software and services. Through these partnerships, AOPEN creates advanced digital display solutions for many of the world’s top brands.
Part of the Wistron group, AOPEN has a presence in over 100 countries. AOPEN customers and partners range from governments and financial institutions to retailers, retail design firms, strategic consultants, and branding agencies.
● Fanless/non venting hole design
● CPU:Quad-Core Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz
● DRAM: LPDDR3 Dual Channel 4GB
● Storage: EMMC 5.0 16GB
● WIFI+ BT4.0: 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT4.0 x 1
● Dimensions: 5.75 x 3.8 x 0.94 in
For additional details, download the Chromebox Mini spec sheet below. DOWNLOAD SPECSHEET
● Panel: 10.1” 1280 x 800 250nits AHVA
● Touch: 10 point multi-touch; pinch to zoom
● CPU: Quad-Core Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz
● DRAM: LPDDR3 Dual Channel 4GB
● Storage: EMMC 5.0 16GB
● FHD Webcam (2MP)
● Built-in Dual Digital MIC and Stereo Speaker
● WIFI+ BT4.0: 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT4.0 x 1
For additional details, download the Chromebase Mini spec sheet below. DOWNLOAD SPECSHEET
2016–05-09, Rockchip: RK3288-C based CTL J4+ Chromebook, priced at under $200!
The humble Chromebook has gone through many revisions since its inception nearly five years ago. Originally designed as a low-cost notebook running the Google Chrome OS and connected to the cloud for everyday work, there are now ultra-premium models such as the Pixel, a wider range of touchscreen-enabled designs primarily from Asus, as well a bevy of entry-level offerings that target value above all else.
This budget end of the market is dominated by Chromebooks powered by the ARM architecture. Chief amongst the proponents of this Internet-connected device is Chinese chipmaker Rockchip, whose RK3288 system-on-chip processor powers a number of Chromebooks for the consumer and education markets.
Found in Chromebooks from Asus, Haier and HiSense, as well as the novel Chromebit, the RK3288(C) SoC is also present in education-focussed notebooks made popular by CTL. Priced at under $200 for the best-in-breed J4+, we have one in for evaluation today.
Under the hood: RK3288C
But before we get to the Chromebook it is instructive to take a peek at what makes the RK3288 SoC an ideal fit for these devices. The RK3288 uses two of ARM’s best-known technologies – Cortex A-class processor and Mali graphics – and then wraps them inside a fully-baked SoC with display, memory, camera and connectivity support.
The Cortex-A17, which is ostensibly a speed-bumped version of the Cortex-A12, is arranged in a quad-core configuration and scales up to 1.8GHz. Though now superseded by the Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A72, the 32-bit-only processor remains a potent choice for an entry-level Chromebook. Graphics oomph is provided by the Mali-T760 GPU also in a quad-core configuration, and its performance in a range of last year’s premium handsets bodes well for the kind of work that Chromebook users will engage in on a daily basis.
The rest of the SoC treads familiar ground. There’s a dual-channel 64-bit memory controller supporting DDR3/L memory, 4K-capable HDMI-out, an H.264 video encoder/decoder, and 13MP ISP for snapping duties.
The point to appreciate is that a budget SoC provides enough general chutzpah for a fluid experience on a Chromebook. We’ve seen this proved empirically with the evaluation of the similar, yet more expensive, Chromebook Flip from Asus.
The CTL J4+
Designed primarily for the classroom but available to purchase from a selected number of retailers for regular customers, the CTL J4+ is solid enough to withstand the usual knocks that might be expected in an education environment. The carbon-like pattern is, as you would expect, made of plastic, but it’s of a high quality throughout. Grabbing the sides of the Chromebook in both hands results in very little flex. Indeed, we’ve seen full-on notebooks costing multiple times more having inferior build quality.
That said, the lid, although a dark grey, is a magnet for fingerprints. The slightest bit of grease or moisture shows up, so you’ll be rubbing it away constantly to ensure it’s kept nice and clean. Portability is a key concern for the education market, too; the J4+’s 1,124g weight is very competitive against other Chromebooks of a similar bearing, while the total travel weight, including small power charger, is less than 1,500g. My 11-year-old niece felt it was portable enough to be carried in a rucksack during the daily 15-minute walk to school.
There are inevitable compromises when retailing a sub-$200 Chromebook. One area where the J4+ falls slightly short is shown by a lack of USB 3.0. An older, slower port lines either side, with HDMI-out and a micro-SD card-reader also available. Though it would be nicer to have USB 3.0, the question we ask ourselves is whether it makes much of a real-world difference on a machine that’s purposely designed to be used almost exclusively with the Internet?
Other than the previously mentioned quad-core Rockchip SoC operating at up to 1.8GHz, this Chromebook is supported by 16GB of eMMC storage, 4GB of DDR3L memory, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and an integrated, 3,400mAh battery promising up to nine hours of regular usage from a single charge. A couple of 1.5W speakers offer rudimentary sound capabilities.
The smooth hinge goes back about 120° revealing an 11.6in display with large bezels on all sides. Premium Chromebooks look more like expensive laptops, but at the cheaper end of the market the design has barely changed over the past decade. But hey, it works well enough for its intended market.
The + suffix is the differentiator between this and an otherwise similar Chromebook from the CTL stable. The regular machine also has an 11.6in screen with a native 1,366×768 resolution but it uses a TN display instead. The + model improves this to an IPS screen with wider viewing angles and, in our opinion, considerably better colour reproduction.
It’s bright, sharp enough for the modest resolution and a good fit for a budget Chromebook. In a world where children often have higher-resolution tablets as the norm rather than exception, my niece noted that the fidelity wasn’t as impressive as her retina-equipped iPad. Yet good enough for basic spreadsheets and some simple word processing? Sure.
The keys offer shallow travel that take a little getting used to if coming from a full-size, discrete keyboard. Optimised for Chrome it misses out the regular Caps Lock key which gives way to Search while the usual function keys are routed instead to common Chrome tasks.
In a similar vein to the Chromebook Flip, the trackpad is solid. It also supports Chrome gestures and has a satisfying click each time it’s depressed. We’d describe the inputs as generic for an entry-level Chromebook, but do understand that isn’t meant in a pejorative sense; the duo work well.
The power-sipping nature of the SoC is a boon for those searching for quietness. A lack of vents hints to silent computing, and it is, with the Rockchip SoC cooled passively. Students coming from a tablet world will appreciate that, in terms of noise, it’s no different to what they’re accustomed to.
General performance is dictated by the SoC and supporting memory contained within the Chromebook. In concert with the majority of others plying this end of the market, one where Rockchip has a leadership position, applications open quickly and the user experience is smooth and predictable. This isn’t a machine for doing anything taxing, mind – the Chrome OS is built for Internet-centric usage – yet playing videos, opening up multiple tabs in simple programs, and calling on Skype does little to push the capabilities of the RK3288C SoC.
For those that haven’t used a Chromebook of late, think of the performance as analogous to a mid-range smartphone of this year. It’s never electric, as on the latest PCs or high-end phones, but neither is it slow at any task you would commonly undertake.
More pertinently, it’s quick enough for the education market for which this model is primed. Rather than conduct looping battery tests, we used the J4+ over the course of a weekend, doing the usual browsing and video playback, and noted that it kept going for approximately 10 hours before running out of juice.
A simple machine with a simple premise of appealing to a broad educational market, the CTL J4+ is a solid Chromebook arriving with an attractive bulk price of under $200. It strikes all the right notes for an entry-level Chromebook powered by the ever-popular Rockchip RK3288C SoC. Pricing, though, remains absolutely key, as more feature-filled models are available for a little more, while the absolute budget end, based on the same chassis, starts at just $150. Tablets, too, offer a similar level of performance, albeit without physical keyboard, for less money.
The evolution of mobile SoCs has meant that adequate performance can be gained by spending a very reasonable amount of money. A case in point is the Rockchip RK3288C, widely seen in these devices, and with enough grunt and longevity to run everyday tasks for well, all day. CTL naturally takes this on with the J4+ education-focussed Chromebook equipped with a solid IPS display and surprisingly decent build quality.
Available to purchase to regular consumers for $189 at present, it represents good value in a congested marketplace. If your heart is set on a Chromebook and require a solid machine that covers all the basics, the CTL J4+ is a good starting point.
- Quad-core Cortex-A17 up to 1.8GHz
- Mali-T764 GPU
- Dual-channel DDR3/DDR3L/LPDDR2/LPDDR3
- 4K UHD H265/H264
- H264 encoder
- TS in/CSA 2.0
- USB 2.0
Process • 28nm CPU • Quad-Core Cortex-A17, up to 1.8GHz GPU • Mali-T764 GPU, Supports AFBC (ARM Frame Buffer Compression) • support OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.1, OpenCL, DirectX9.3 • High performance dedicated 2D processor Multi-Media • 4K 10bits VP9/H265/H264 video decoders, up to 60fps • 1080P other video decoders (VC-1, MPEG-1/2/4, VP8) • 1080P video encoder for H.264 and VP8 • Video post processor: de-interlace, de-noise, enhancement for edge/detail/color Display • Support RGB/Dual LVDS/Dual MIPI-DSI/eDP interface, up to 3840*2160 resolution • HDMI 2.0 for 4K@60Hz with HDCP 1.4/2.2 Security • ARM TrustZone (TEE), Secure Video Path, Cipher Engine, Secure boot Memory • Dual-channel 64bit DDR3-1333/DDR3L-1333/LPDDR2-1066 • Support MLC NAND, eMMC 4.51 Connectivity • Embedded 13M ISP, MIPI CSI-2 and DVP interface • Dual SDIO 3.0 interface • TS in/CSA2.0, support DTV function • Embed HDMI, Ethernet MAC, S/PDIF, USB, I2C, I2S, UART, SPI, PS2 Package • BGA636 19X19, 0.65mm pitch State • MP Now
A comment from IDC brought ahead: “Competition from 2-in-1 devices and phones remains an issue“. In the notes to the IDC press release it is mentioned as well that “tablets with detachable keyboards [i.e. 2-in-1 devices] running either Windows or Android are not included in the PC category” by IDC. This approach to the PC category is one of the reasons why the decline of the PC market in Q2 2015 is 11.8% according to IDC, while it is 9.5% according to Gartner.
You will find more statistics at Statista
July 14, 2015: After a brief respite throughout last year, the global PC market returned to its pre-2014 slump in the first half of 2015. According to Gartner’s latest estimates, worldwide PC shipments amounted to 68.4 million in the past three months – down 9.5 percent from last year’s June quarter.
The struggling PC industry had received a boost when Microsoft ended official Windows XP support in April 2014, prompting a replacement cycle that has now apparently faded. Despite the sobering results, analysts remain cautiously optimistic about the industry’s mid-term outlook. They argue that the recent decline is no sign of structural weakness but partly a consequence of last year’s unusually positive results and partly an effect of inventory control ahead of the Windows 10 launch scheduled for later this year.
[Gartner’s latest estimates:]
July 9, 2015: Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments Declined 9.5 Percent in Second Quarter of 2015
PC Industry Faces Slowdown as Industry Anticipates the Launch of Windows 10
STAMFORD, Conn., July 9, 2015 — Worldwide PC shipments totaled 68.4 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 9.5 percent decline from the second quarter of 2014, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This was the steepest PC shipment decline since the third quarter of 2013. PC shipments are projected to decline 4.4 percent in 2015.
There were many contributors to the decline of PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015, and Gartner analysts highlighted three of the major reasons for the drop in shipments. Analysts emphasized that these inhibitors are temporary events, and they are not changing the PC market’s structure. Therefore, while the PC industry is going through a decline, the market is expected to go back to slow and steady growth in 2016.
“The price hike of PCs became more apparent in some regions due to a sharp appreciation of the U.S. dollar against local currencies,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “The price hike could hinder PC demand in these regions. Secondly, the worldwide PC market experienced unusually positive desk-based growth last year due to the end of Windows XP support. After the XP impact was phased out, there have not been any major growth drivers to stimulate a PC refresh. Lastly, the Windows 10 launch scheduled for 3Q15 has created self-regulated inventory control. PC vendors and the channels tried clearing inventory as much as possible before the Windows 10 launch.”
Lenovo maintained the top position in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015 (see Table 1), but the company suffered a year-on-year shipment decline for the first time since the second quarter of 2013. EMEA, Latin America and Japan were tough regions for Lenovo, as the company experienced double-digit shipment declines. HP also experienced a shipment decline after five consecutive quarters of PC shipment growth. HP showed a steep decline in EMEA, which was potentially due to the currency impact. The company was also impacted by tight inventory controls in the consumer market before the Windows 10 launch.
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q15 (Thousands of Units)
Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premium (see “Market Definitions and Methodology: Consumer Devices”). All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels.
Numbers may not add up to totals shown because of rounding.
Source: Gartner (July 2015)
For the second consecutive quarter, Dell experienced a decline in PC shipments. Dell’s decline was relatively moderate in EMEA compared with Lenovo and HP. Analysts said this could be partly attributed to Dell’s lower presence in the consumer market, which created less impact to Dell from the Windows 10 prelaunch inventory control.
In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 15.1 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 5.8 percent decline from the second quarter of 2014 (see Table 2). The decline was led by a double-digit decline of desk-based shipments, which offset single-digit growth of mobile PCs. Based on preliminary results, the desk-based PC shipment decline was the steepest since 2009 when the market was hit by the economic crisis.
“The weakness of desk-based PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015 is partly due to relatively large shipments in the second quarter last year when the market was driven by the end of XP support,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Despite inventory controls for the Windows 10 launch, mobile PC shipments grew in the quarter, which resulted in five consecutive quarters of mobile PC growth in the U.S. Affordable thin/light notebooks are attracting more business buyers.”
HP maintained the top position for PC shipments in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2015 despite a 10.1 percent decline (see Table 2). Dell narrowed the gap with HP compared with a year ago. Lenovo was the only vendor showing year-over-year PC shipment growth among the top five vendors in the U.S.
Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q15 (Thousands of Units)
Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premium (see “Market Definitions and Methodology: Consumer Devices”). All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels.
Numbers may not add up to totals shown because of rounding.
Source: Gartner (July 2015)
[The Ultramobile (Premium) category includes devices such as Microsoft’s Windows 8 Intel x86 products and Apple’s MacBook Air. Source]
PC shipments in EMEA totaled 18.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 15.7 percent decline from the second quarter of 2014. In Europe, vendors spent most of the quarter trying to manage already high inventory levels. They tried clearing that inventory with promotions, having to absorb this with lower margins. In the third quarter of 2015, vendors should see better “sell-in” into the channel with new Windows 10-based devices.
Asia/Pacific PC shipments reached 24.2 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 2.9 percent decline from the same period last year. Both desk-based and mobile PC shipments declined from the second quarter of 2014. PC shipments in China are estimated to have declined 4 percent in the quarter as demand for consumer PCs remained weak.
These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe.
July 16, 2015, Forbes: Why Are IDC And Gartner’s PC Market Stats Different, And Does It Even Matter? by Scott McCutcheon
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Worldwide PC shipments totaled 66.1 million units in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. This represented a year-on-year decline of -11.8%, about one percent below projections for the quarter.
The slow PC shipments were largely anticipated as a result of stronger year-ago shipments relating to end of support for windows XP as well as channels reducing inventory ahead of the release of Windows 10. In addition, weaker or changing exchange rates for foreign currencies have effectively increased PC prices in many markets, thereby reducing purchasing power and also complicating investment planning.
“Although the second quarter decline in PC shipments was significant, and slightly more than expected, the overall trend fits with expectations,” said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers & Forecasting. “We continue to expect low to mid-single digit declines in volume during the second half of the year with volume stabilizing in future years. We’re expecting the Windows 10 launch to go relatively well, though many users will opt for a free OS upgrade rather than buying a new PC. Competition from 2-in-1 devices and phones remains an issue, but the economic environment has had a larger impact lately, and that should stabilize or improve going forward.”
“The U.S. market was in line with forecasts, declining -3.3% from a year ago, after avoiding the global market declines over the past five quarters. Soft retail demand, short term weakness from inventory reductions, some cannibalization from competing devices, and low demand for large commercial refreshes are among the factors that reduced PC shipments,” said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst,Personal Computers. “Nevertheless, moving forward, we expect a healthy second half as inventory and purchase decisions pick up following the launch of Windows 10. Emerging product categories will remain a bright spot as attention shifts to convertibles and Chromebooks in the commercial as well as consumer segments.”
United States – With shipments totaling nearly 16.4 million PCs in 2Q15, the U.S. market shrank -3.3% from the same quarter a year ago. Although most vendors saw volume decline, gains from Apple and Lenovo helped limit the overall decline. A tough year-on-year comparison contributed to a decline in desktop shipments, while portable PCs shipments continued to grow.
Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) – In EMEA, weakening demand and high inventory levels inhibited sell-in, driving results below expectations. Vendors continued to clean stock ahead of the back-to-school season and Windows 10 launch. Moreover, unfavorable exchange rates led to increasing prices and continued to affect demand both in the business and consumer spaces. The commercial market also faced a difficult year-on-year comparison with 2Q14, when the end of support for Windows XP boosted sales.
Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) – China was impacted by excess commercial notebook inventory from earlier quarters as the anti-corruption campaign continues to suppress commercial spending. Currency fluctuation also remained a key factor in many countries in the region, contributing to lower demand. Nevertheless, volume was close to expectations, reflecting a slight decline in growth from prior quarters.
Japan – continued to see low growth as the weak Yen contributed to a difficult market. The Japanese PC market faced a particularly difficult comparison to year ago shipments that were boosted by the end of support for Windows XP and also changes to Japan’s tax code. As the market responds to these shifts and managing inventory, Yamada Denki (one of Japan’s major electronics stores) announced the closure of unprofitable stores in both urban and rural markets.
Lenovo held onto the top position with shipments of 13.4 million units. Volume was up 1% from the prior quarter, but down -7.5% from the prior year. The vendor continued to aggressively court expansion outside of Asia/Pacific, leading to share gains in the U.S. and EMEA.
HP remained the number 2 vendor, but saw shipments decline -10.4% from a year ago. Slowing business demand and inventory control of entry notebooks contributed to the dip. While most of the slowdown was from outside of the U.S., the vendor also saw its U.S. volume contract nearly -7%.
Dell came in at number 3, shipping more than 9.5 million units and registering a year-over-year decline of -8.7%. Strong results in 2Q14 contributed to a poor year-over-year comparison. Stronger performance in Asia/Pacific and EMEA were offset by slower growth in the U.S.
Apple continued to outperform other vendors, with growth of 16.1% globally. The vendor has largely avoided the price competition affecting other players and may be benefitting from some of the uncertainty around the launch of Windows 10, along with refreshed products like the 12-inch MacBook and a relative concentration of shipments in the U.S.
Acer continued to see growth in Chromebooks with more models introduced. However, the vendor also struggled with the larger pullback in the market, particularly in EMEA where it had seen a rebound in mid-2014. The vendor ended 2Q14 with a volume of 4.33 million, a significant decline from the prior quarter and year ago volumes.
ASUS was statistically tied* with Acer for the number 5 position. ASUS has also been affected by currency factors and inventory management, but strong growth in the U.S. boosted overall results.
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, July 9, 2015
* Note: IDC declares a statistical tie in the worldwide PC market when there is less than one tenth of one percent difference in the revenue share of two or more vendors.
In addition to the table above, an interactive graphic showing worldwide PC market share for the top 5 vendors over the previous five quarters is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com.
- Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports.
- Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.
- PCs include Desktops, Portables, Ultraslim Notebooks, Chromebooks, and Workstations and do not include handhelds, x86 Servers and Tablets (i.e. iPad, or Tablets with detachable keyboards running either Windows or Android). Data for all vendors are reported for calendar periods.
IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker gathers PC market data in over 80 countries by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, sales channel and user segment. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data.
My verdict: The 3 phase launch strategy is almost flawless, as well as the functionality of the product. So the remaining question is whether the execution will be as flawless or not?
July 29, 2015, BBC News: Microsoft boss Nadella on Windows 10
From this interview 2 things are very important to remember:
- Cortana is the near term means to generate excitement for the Windows 10.
- Then the Hololens is to be launched within a year to drive that excitement even further into the augmented and virtual reality scenario which is expected to generate $150 billion in combined annual revenue by 2020, according to Digi-Capital, a research and advising firm.
Finally in the end of that interview Nadella is mentioning another important point:
It is a 5 year journey. It’s a beginning. Even the smart phone journey with touch was a 7 year – 8 year journey. So this is how you should think about these fundamental changes.
With all the client markets out of their real growth period such a way of thinking is the only possible one. See the specific posts on the client categories, with additional remarks highlighted here from them:
- Aug 5, 2015: PC Market Trends is particularly drawing the attention to the fact that phones and tablets with detachable keyboards, i.e. 2-in-1 devices running either Windows or Android are remaining a competitive issue for the category.
- Aug 4, 2015: Tablet and smartphone market trends on the other hand is emphasizing that the key going forward for the Windows will be if the coming wave of 2-in-1 detachable tablets (expected to be on the market in Q4) is a hit with consumers or if they go the way of the netbook-style laptops. This will determine how much the current Q2 2015 9% market share (which was just 5% in Q2 2014) of Windows-branded tablets could increase with the new Windows 10.
Additional readings/information on Windows 10 Mobile:
- July 29, 2015: Windows 10 coming soon to Lumia smartphones – Microsoft – Global which has indicated that “The following Lumia smartphones will receive a free upgrade when available: Lumia 430, Lumia 435, Lumia 532, Lumia 535, Lumia 540, Lumia 640, Lumia 640 XL, Lumia 735, Lumia 830, and Lumia 930. … In order to upgrade to Windows 10, your Lumia device will need to have the Lumia Denim software update [Jan 7, 2015] installed.“
- Aug 4, 2015 8:03 tweet by Gabriel Aul, Vice President, WDG Engineering Systems team, Re: “No new builds today … Jürgen Winter Sooo, maybe on Friday? And what build is currently in testing? 10240 or even newer?”: “It will be a few more days. We’re moving to a new branch for [Windows 10] Mobile and that takes a bit of prep. Newer than 10240.” Note that people on the Insider program currently using the 10166 version.
- Aug 4, 2015 8:20 tweet by Gabriel Aul, Vice President, WDG Engineering Systems team: “10240 has a blocking bug for [Windows 10] Mobile, we need a newer build with the fix.“
Remark as of Aug 5, 2015: The Windows 10 launch caused below average rate of interest. One evidence is this same July 31 post. It had just 5 views so far and at least 3 of them were based on my Hungarian Facebook post. Even my “Embedded Android — a VIA Technologies …” post of July 28 had 12 views just in the first 3 days and none of them were generated from my Facebook page as I’ve not posted there about that.
July 29, 2015: Windows 10 UK Launch Party by Microsoft UK for a “launch atmosphere”
IMHO Microsoft’s irresistible message is:
The upgrade to Windows 10 is free within the first year, and once you’ve upgraded it remains free on your device for life!
So I did the upgrade for both my devices yesterday, and it went very smoothly. One 2GB “classic” Toshiba laptop with Win7 on it, and a 4GB Lenovo Flex 2 dual-mode laptop with Win8.1. The upgrade took about 3 hours on each, and now I am absolutely satisfied with the new Windows on them in all respects. Recommending the upgrade for everyone ASAP.
July 21, 2015: CEO Satya Nadella on “some amount of delay due to Windows 10 on the OEM side” in the Windows business, from Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript (the 2 video inserts are mine), in order to understand Microsoft’s business strategy with the Windows 10 launch:
The way the Windows ecosystem works is there are phases to it … in some sense we’ve taken a very different approach with this Windows-as-a-service even when it comes to OEM relations and how they’re able to co-create the products with us. … there are three distinct phases:
- The first phase is what I will describe as the upgrade phase. That’s what starts in a week’s time, and that is a more retail execution and upgrade.
July 28, 2015: 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10: WINDOWS STORE (the other 9 you can find in the 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 playlist of the Windows YouTube channel)
July 28, 2015: How to customize the Start Menu after Upgrading to Windows 10 by Scott Hanselman from Microsoft
for more information see Scott’s Getting Started with Windows 10 post containing other very useful videos as well
- Then come the fall, you will see the devices from all the OEMs going into the holiday quarter.
- And then the enterprise upgrades; in fact, we have a release of enterprise features, which I mentioned in my script, which will ship in that timeframe. And I expect piloting to start and deployments to start in the second half of the fiscal year.
So that’s how I would think about the OEM as well as enterprise adoption. So my bullishness [in business sense] for Windows 10 is more in the second half of the fiscal year, and of course it will build. It will build starting in a week’s time in retail and in the upgrades, but I see this in three phases.
July 28, 2015: Microsoft Windows 10 Official Demonstration by Ger Lynch from Microsoft Ireland for a mix of a salespitch (in good sense) and a walkthrough:
July 21, 2015: CEO Satya Nadella on “the new strategy around the phone business” and “how … that business trending over a longer period of time” from the Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript (for the phone-specific Win10 information read the Windows 10 coming soon to Lumia smartphones page by Microsoft and note the “In order to upgrade to Windows 10, your Lumia device will need to have the Lumia Denim software update installed.” warning):
The big shift that we are making when it comes to phones is to not think about phones in isolation. That’s perhaps the biggest shift because I think about Windows 10 in its entirety, the Windows ecosystem in its entirety.
We clearly are going to have premium first-party portfolio, and you’ve seen some of the numbers, some of the progress we have made in Surface. I feel that we have a formula there that I would like to apply more broadly in terms of growing, just delivering innovation, growing our own economic return for it, stimulating demand, creating categories. All of that is what I want to do broadly. And it applies to phones, it applies to Surface hardware, it applies to Hololens, and that’s how I view it.
I believe our participation in the phone segment by itself with Windows phones and Lumia phones being there is important, and that’s why we picked the three areas where we have differentiation and we want to focus on it.
- We’re going to have great flagship phones for Windows 10. That’s actually a segment we don’t today have good devices, and we hope to change that with Windows 10.
- We have in fact good traction in the business segment. This is business customers who are actually buying phone devices, which is basically a radio with essentially a smartphone to be able to deploy their line-of-business applications. That’s where we have pretty unparalleled value, which is we have Visual Studio Online and some of the tools I talked about, so you can generate these apps at a low cost of ownership, manage them, secure them, and deploy them to our phone endpoints, and then of course, management and security. So that’s a place where we want to continue to focus.
- And in the value smartphones, that’s the place where I want us to be much more efficient. We clearly have some value to add there because of the uniqueness of Office and Skype and our services. But at the same time, I think we want to be smart about how many of these phones do we want to generate, how many, which price points we want to participate. That’s where you will see the most significant operational changes from how we operated last year to the coming year.
May 4, 2015: Satya Nadella’s Keynote from Ignite 2015 on the Windows Community YouTube channel (see also the Microsoft announces new solutions
to empower IT professionals press release for more information) in order to understand the place of Windows 10 in the overall strategic setup of the company
July 21, 2015: CEO Satya Nadella on Microsoft’s “third bold ambition to create more personal computing experiences with Windows and our devices” as the company’s equally important strategic ambition (in addition to “reinventing productivity in business processes” and “building the intelligent cloud platform with Azure“) from the Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript
I am thrilled we are just days away from the start of Windows 10. It’s the first step towards our goal of 1 billion Windows 10 active devices in the fiscal year 2018. Our aspiration with Windows 10 is to move people from meeting to choosing to loving Windows. Based on feedback from more than 5 million people who have been using Windows 10, we believe people will love the familiarity of Windows 10 and the innovation. It’s safe, secure, and always up to date. Windows 10 is more personal and more productive with Cortana, Office, universal apps, and Continuum. And Windows 10 will deliver innovative new experiences like Inking on Microsoft Edge and gaming across Xbox and PCs, and also opens up entirely new device categories such as Hololens.
Windows 10 will deliver significant value to enterprise customers as well. Windows 10 provides advanced security capabilities with additional features for hardware-based security, mobile work and data protection. It also provides a single device management platform across all devices, from phones to laptops to Internet of Things devices. And Windows 10 helps enterprises stay up to date with Windows Update for Business and Windows Store for Business.
While the PC ecosystem has been under pressure recently, I do believe that Windows 10 will broaden our economic opportunity and return Windows to growth.
- First, we have an OEM ecosystem that is creating exciting new hardware designs for Windows 10. In fact, our OEM partners have over 2,000 distinct devices or configurations already in testing for Windows 10 upgrades as well as hundreds of new hardware designs. We are delighted that the first of these exciting new devices will start to be available on Windows 10 launch day, and by this holiday we will be selling the widest range of Windows hardware ever available.
- Second, we will generate new growth through gross margin on our own differentiated first-party premium device portfolio. We will also significantly reduce our losses on the phone by operating more effectively and efficiently with a more focused portfolio.
- Third, we will grow monetization opportunities across the commercial and consumer space. In the enterprise, customers will continue to value our unparalleled management security, app dev, and servicing capability. And for consumers, Windows 10 creates monetization opportunities with store, search, and gaming. We are confident that these are the right levers to revitalize Windows and restore growth. The progress we made this quarter and the forward-looking guidance that Amy will share shows the opportunity for renewed growth is real.
In hardware, both Surface and Xbox had an incredible Q4.
- We more than doubled Surface revenue to nearly $900 million this quarter, capping off a year in which it delivered more than $3.6 billion in revenue. Both consumers and enterprise customers love this device. Surface is clearly a product where we have gotten the formula right, earned fans, and can apply this formula to other parts of the hardware portfolio.
- Gaming is an important scenario for Windows 10, and our success with Xbox this quarter gives us a strong starting position heading into launch. Xbox Live users grew 22% this quarter and logged nearly 3.5 billion hours of gameplay. Our growing fan base is excited for the best games lineup in our history. All of this comes together with Windows 10, when fans can connect with each other, stream all of their Xbox One games to Windows 10, and experience the best virtual reality platform given our partnership with Oculus Rift and Valve.
- In search, Bing will now power both differentiated experiences on Windows 10 such as Cortana as well as search and search advertising across the AOL portfolio sites in addition to the partnership we already have with Yahoo!, Amazon, and Apple. With advertising revenue growth of 21% year over year, Bing will transition to profitability in the coming fiscal year.
July 28, 2015: Windows 10 available in 190 countries as a free upgrade Microsoft news release for the summary of what has been launched worldwide overall
REDMOND, Wash. — July 28, 2015 — Microsoft Corp. announced that Windows 10 will become available Wednesday as a free upgrade1 or with new PCs and tablets. Windows 10 includes innovations such as Cortana,2 an Xbox app and Microsoft Edge for a familiar, yet more personal and productive, experience. The most secure Windows ever, Windows 10 is delivered as a service and kept automatically up-to-date with innovations and security updates. Windows 10 offers one experience that will become available on the broadest range of devices, including PCs, tablets, phones, Raspberry Pi, Xbox One, HoloLens and more — with more than 2,000 devices or configurations already in testing. The new Windows Store and Windows Software Development Kit also become available Wednesday, opening the door to new and innovative app experiences on Windows 10.
People around the world will celebrate the launch of Windows 10 Wednesday at fan celebrations in 13 countries and via a new yearlong initiative to celebrate people and organizations making a difference around the world. Microsoft encourages people to share how they plan to #UpgradeYourWorld and to vote for a global nonprofit to receive a cash donation by simply mentioning the nonprofit in a post on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and using the hashtags #UpgradeYourWorld and #vote. More information on Upgrade Your World can be found at http://www.windows.com/upgradeyourworld.
“A new era of Windows starts today. From the beginning, Windows 10 has been unique — built with feedback from over 5 million fans, delivered as a service and offered as a free upgrade,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, at Microsoft. “Windows 10 delivers on our more personal computing vision, with a natural, mobile and trusted experience. Along with our partners, we’re excited to deliver the best Windows ever, which will empower people and organizations around the world to do great things.”
Windows 10: Best Windows ever
Windows 10 is fast and familiar — with the return of the Start menu and Live Tiles for instant, streaming updates of what matters most. Windows 10 is the most secure Windows Microsoft has ever released, with enhancements to Windows Defender and SmartScreen to help safeguard against viruses, malware and phishing and innovations such as Windows Hello, which offers a fast, secured, password-free way to log in.3 Keeping up-to-date is also simple, as free updates will help people stay current with the latest features and security updates for the supported lifetime of the device.
Windows 10 is more personal and productive, with voice, pen and gesture inputs for natural interaction with PCs. It’s designed to work with Office and Skype and allows you to switch between apps and stay organized with Snap and Task View. Windows 10 offers many innovative experiences and devices, including the following:
- Cortana, the personal digital assistant, makes it easy to find the right information at the right time.
- New Microsoft Edge browser lets people quickly browse, read, and mark up and share the Web.
- The integrated Xbox app delivers the Xbox experience to Windows 10, bringing together friends, games and accomplishments across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
- Continuum optimizes apps and experiences beautifully across touch and desktop modes.
- Built-in apps including Photos; Maps; Microsoft’s new music app, Groove; and Movies & TV offer entertainment and productivity options. With OneDrive, files can be easily shared and kept up-to-date across all devices.
- A Microsoft Phone Companion app enables iPhones, Android or Windows phones to work seamlessly with Windows 10 devices.
- The all new Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 tablets are available today in the Windows Store.4 Built for work on-the-go, the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps offer a consistent, touch-first experience for small tablets. For digital note-taking needs, the full-featured OneNote app comes pre-installed with Windows 10. The upcoming release of the Office desktop apps (Office 2016) will offer the richest feature set for professional content creation. Designed for the precision of a keyboard and mouse, these apps will be optimized for large-screen PCs, laptops and 2-in-1 devices such as the Surface Pro.
Windows 10: Best platform for businesses
Feedback from millions of IT pros has shaped Windows 10, the most extensively tested version of Windows ever. Ready for corporate deployments, Windows 10 will help companies protect against modern cyberattacks, deliver experiences their employees will love and enable continuous innovation with a platform that keeps companies up-to-date with the latest technology. Businesses will be able to control the frequency of their updates and select the features and functionality that are right for each group of their employees.
Windows 10 includes built-in, enterprise-grade security, so customers can replace passwords with more secure options, protect corporate data and corporate identities, and run only the software they trust. New management and deployment tools simplify device management, help lower costs, and enable companies to power their business with the enterprise strength of the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Top apps available on Windows 10
The new Windows Store will open Wednesday and begin accepting new apps for Windows 10. The Windows Store offers one-stop shopping for popular free and paid apps, games, movies, TV shows and the latest music, which can work across all Windows 10 devices. The new Windows Store is the only store where people can use Cortana to control apps with their voice5 and get real-time notifications on their app tiles. All Windows Store content is certified by Microsoft to help keep devices safer. In addition to existing Windows 8.1 apps such as Netflix, Flipboard, Mint.com, “Asphalt 8: Airborne” and The Weather Channel, the Windows Store provides a constant stream of new and updated Universal Windows Apps and games, including Twitter, “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta,” Hulu, iHeartRadio, USA TODAY, “Candy Crush Saga” and others including WeChat and QQ, which will launch soon.6
Easy upgrade, devices now available
Upgrading to Windows 10 is easy for customers running a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC or tablet. Starting Wednesday, people who reserved their upgrade to Windows 10 will be notified in waves when their upgrade is ready to be installed. For business customers, Windows 10 is available to start deploying within their work environments, and starting Aug. 1, organizations that have volume licensing can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education.
Retail partners are ready to help people upgrade to Windows 10 with our largest tech bench program ever, including more than 100,000 trained retailers and tens of thousands of stores around the world. Free upgrade programs will be available Wednesday, with Windows 10 software becoming broadly available in retail stores around the world between mid-August and September. Devices running Windows 10 will be available in some retail stores on Wednesday, with many, many more devices to become available in the weeks and months ahead.
Microsoft has also worked closely with retailers to introduce programs to help people easily upgrade, including Best Buy, Bic Camera, Croma, Currys/PC World, Darty, Elkjøp, Fnac, Jarrir, Incredible Connection, Media Markt, Staples, Yamada Denki, Yodobashi and many more leading retailers from around the world.
Information on upgrading, new and compatible devices, and apps for Windows can be found at http://www.windows.com. Additional information and media assets are available at http://blogs.windows.com/launch.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
1 Limited time free upgrade offer for qualified and genuine Windows 7 and 8/8.1 devices. Hardware and software requirements apply; see http://www.windows.com/windows10upgrade for details.
2 Cortana available in select markets at launch; experience may vary by region and device.
3 Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, including fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensors.
4 An Office 365 subscription is required to edit Office apps on Windows 10 PCs or larger tablets.
5 Hardware dependent.
6 Some apps and content sold separately. App and content availability and experience may vary by region and device.
HP split into two–HP Enterprise and HP Inc. (devices and printers)–for the growth phase of its turnaround
Also seeing total 55,000 job cuts this year, with 45,000-50,000 cuts already done in Q2. CEO Meg Whitman (age 58) is enjoying huge bonus payments via those job cuts, and then she will lead HP Enterprise as CEO, as well as will become the non-executive Chairman of HP Inc.’s Board of Directors.
Detailed information on this blog about the new direction set up for Personal Systems Group part of HP Inc. (very few):
- The growing Chromebook challenge for Windows laptops: promises from Google I/O are getting realized with new Chromebooks introduced at IFA 2014 [Sept 5, 2014]
- The ultimate ultrabooks/notebooks and 2-in-1 hybrids/detachables with the upcoming Intel Core M processors [Sept 11, 2014]
- + “Hewlett-Packard this year  began selling the HP 8, a $170 [Android] tablet that runs on an Allwinner quad-core processor” from here [March 18, 2014]
- + “Asustek Computer and Hewlett-Packard (HP) are both set to enter the China tablet market with new cheap [Android] tablet models: the Asustek 7-inch 8GB MeMO Pad HD 7, priced below CNY999 (US$163) and HP Slate 7, priced at CNY999 [$163], according to sources from channel retailers.“ from here [July 5, 2013]
Latest news from HP Personal Systems Group:
– Revamped Z desktop and ZBook mobile workstations [Sept 10, 2014]
– HP Stream series of skinny Windows 8.1 laptops and tablets targeted for the holidays [Sept 29, 2014]
– HP 10 Plus 10.1-Inch 16 GB Android Full HD IPS Tablet with Allwinner A31 quadcore 1.0 GHz on Amazon and elsewhere for $280 [July 13, 2014]
– HP Slate 21 – 21.5″-k100 All-in-One Full HD IPS Android PC with NVIDIA Tegra 4 for $400 [Sept 28, 2014] a 17″ version of which, HP Slate 17 will be hitting stores by New Year
Note that such large screen All-in-One Full HD IPS strategy for both desktop replacements as well as great home devices + complete flat tabletop mode for using an application that’s maybe multi-orientational was started with Windows 8-based HP ENVY Rove [June 23, 2013], using Intel® Core™ i3-4010U and now selling for $980.
Detailed information on this blog about the new direction set up for HP Enterprise (quite extensive and deep):
- Software defined server without Microsoft*: HP Moonshot [April 10 – Dec 6, 2013] from which it is important to give here the following strategic view taken by HP:
* Note here that as of now Microsoft Windows Server is not available (even the upcoming Windows Server 10 for “the Future of the datacenter from Microsoft“) on the emerging 64-bit ARM. See: Intel: ARM Server Competition ‘Imminent,’ But Not Yet There, Says MKM [Barrons.com, Oct 2, 2014], in which the current state characterized as:
ARM highlighted progress in servers by citing two data center end-customers (sharing the stage with Sandia Labs but not Paypal) that use HP blades for their Moonshot server chassis based on 64-bit Applied Micro (AMCC, NR, $6.90) and 32-bit Texas Instruments silicon.
HP’s ARM-powered ProLiant m400 (Moonshot) is ready for DDR4 [ARM Connected Community, Oct 8, 2014]
AppliedMicro and Hewlett-Packard recently introduced the first commercially-available 64-bit ARMv8 server. Dubbed the ProLiant m400, the cartridge is specifically designed to fit HP’s Moonshot server framework. The new server – targeted at web caching workloads – is based on AppliedMicro’s X-Gene System-on-a-Chip (SoC) and runs Canonical’s versatile Ubuntu operating system.
… One of the key advantages of the X-Gene based m400? The doubling of addressable memory to 64GB per cartridge. … “You put 10 of these enclosures in a rack and you have 3,600 cores and 28 TB of memory to hook together to run a distributed application,” … “The m400 node burns about 55 watts with all of its components on the board, so a rack is in the neighborhood of 25 kilowatts across 450 nodes.” …
Loren Shalinsky, a Strategic Development Director at Rambus, points out that each ProLiant m400 cartridge is actually a fully contained server with its own dedicated memory, which, in the default launch version, carries a payload of DDR3L DIMMs.
“However, future generations of the cartridges can be upgraded from DDR3 to DDR4, without affecting the other cartridges in the rack. This should allow for even higher memory bandwidth and lower power consumption,” he added. “Our expectation is that DDR4 will ramp on the server side – both in terms of x86 and ARM – before finding its way into desktop PCs, laptops and consumer applications like digital TVs and set-top boxes.”
As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press , DDR4 memory delivers a 40-50 percent increase in bandwidth, along with a 35 percent reduction in power consumption compared to DDR3 memory, currently in servers. In addition, internal data transfers are faster with DDR4 , while in-memory applications such as databases – where a significant amount of processing takes place in DRAM – are expected to benefit as well.
Compare the above to what was written in Choosing chips for next-generation datacentres [ComputerWeekly.com, Sept 22, 2014]:
HP CEO Meg Whitman has high hopes for the company’s Moonshot low-energy server family as a differentiator in the commodity server market. Moonshot is based on Intel Atom and AMD Opteron system-on-a-chip (SoC) processors, optimised for desktop virtualisation and web content delivery applications. These servers can run Windows Server 2012 R2 or Red Hat, Canonical or Suse Linux distributions.
Semiconductor companies Cavium and Applied Micro are taking two different approaches to the ARM microserver market. Cavium is specialising in low-powered cores, while Applied Micro is taking a high-performance computing (HPC) approach.
AMD is building its chips based on the ARM Cortex-A57 core. … Servers with AMD’s Seattle [Opteron A-Series] ARM-based chip are not expected to ship until mid-2015.
Note here as well that AMD’s Seattle, i.e. Opteron A-Series strategy is also serving the company’s own dense server infrastructure strategy (going against HP’s Moonshot fabric solution) as described here earlier in AMD’s dense server strategy of mixing next-gen x86 Opterons with 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 based Opterons on the SeaMicro Freedom™ fabric to disrupt the 2014 datacenter market using open source software (so far) [Dec 31, 2014 – Jan 28, 2014] post.
- Disaggregation in the next-generation datacenter and HP’s Moonshot approach for the upcoming HP CloudSystem “private cloud in-a-box” with the promised HP Cloud OS based on the 4 years old OpenStack effort with others [Dec 10, 2013]
- The cloud services brokerage (CSB) business model and the HP Cloud Services [Feb 14, 2014]
- 64-bit ARM (ARMv8-A) outlook: full smartphone penetration by 2018, volume start in servers next year, plus strong presence in enterprise networking [April 24, 2014] from which it is important to include here the following quote:
“HP has supported ARM’s standardization effort since its inception, recognizing the benefits of an extensible platform with value-added features,” said Dong Wei, HP fellow. “With the new SBSA specification [Server Base System Architecture from ARM], we are able to establish a simplified baseline for deploying ARM-based solutions and look forward to future HP [server] products based on the ARM architecture.”
The ultimate ultrabooks/notebooks and 2-in-1 hybrids/detachables with the upcoming Intel Core M processors
What is presented below it is an incredible advance versus that of one a half year ago. For comparison see my earlier Saving Intel: next-gen Intel ultrabooks for enterprise and professional markets from $500; next-gen Intel notebooks, other value devices and tablets for entry level computing and consumer markets from $300 [this same blog, April 17, 2013] post. Note as well that with Core M Intel is able to differentiate its enterprise offerings from the consumer ones, as the latter could be mainly represented by products like in ASUS EeePC revival with the $199/€199 EeeBook X205 at IFA 2014: the Chromebooks alternative based on Windows 8.1 with Bing [this same blog, Sept 6, 2014].
See also the report about IDF 2014 PC Mega Session: 2-in-1s to Rule Mobile, Wireless Everything Coming Soon [Tom’s Hardware US, Sept 10, 2014]
They are of the fanless design! So it is time—says Intel—to upgrade your aging PCs to these business-ready touch devices built on the latest Intel Core processors and Windows 8.1:
Touch business-grade performance [Intel YouTube channel, Sept 4, 2014]
For small businesses a special business app bundle from Intel (already available with selected business tablets) is also providing an immediate opportunity to boost productivity:
Intel Business Apps [Intel YouTube channel, Sept 8, 2014]
Chip Shot: Intel Business App Portfolio Now on Windows OS and Intel® Core™ M Processor-based Devices [News story on Intel Newsroom, Sept 5, 2014]
The Intel® Business App Portfolio, a collection of useful business apps to boost productivity and enhance security of small businesses, is now available on the latest Intel-based tablets and 2 in 1 devices running the Windows OS. And, with the app bundle on some of the newest devices powered by Intel® Core™ M processors, users will realize additional benefits with up to 8 hours of battery life with full HD display and up to 50 percent faster CPU performance. Previously offered only on Intel-based tablets running the Android OS, the mobile app bundle includes special offers—valued at more than $250—and is now available with the following Windows apps:
AirWatch, Calc Pro HD, CamCard, Dictionary, DocuSign, Drawboard PDF, McAfee Anti-Virus Plus, Microsoft Office 365 Business, OneDrive, OneNote, Skype, SpeechTrans and Splashtop Business.
It is available for free by purchasing a qualifying device from Intel® Technology Provider members in North America, Latin America and Europe or through Amazon.com (in the U.S. and Canada). Visit www.intel.com/businessapps to learn more.
Chip Shot: Intel Releases Mobile App Bundle for Business Tablets [News story on Intel Newsroom, Aug 4, 2014]
Intel® Business App Portfolio is now available for select tablets based on Intel® processors and Android. Intel has bundled a collection of top business apps that include Evernote, ooVoo, Dropbox, McAfee, DocuSign and others, to turn tablets into enhanced productivity tools for workers. With the app bundle, an employee can easily create and share documents and presentations; video conference; access company files in the cloud or a remote PC; guard sensitive data from viruses; and capture images and signatures for business contracts. At an estimated value over $250, the portfolio is a cost-effective solution that meets the needs and budgets of small businesses worldwide to accelerate achieving goals of improving customer interactions and sales growth. The app bundle is available for free by purchasing a qualifying tablet from Intel® Technology Partner members in North America, Latin America and Europe or through Amazon.com (in the U.S. and Canada).
The categories in Intel® Business App Portfolio (for small businesses) as of Sept 9, 2014:
|Assist||Calc Pro HD3
|ABBYY Business Card Reader13
|Create||Office 365 Business1
McAfee Antivirus Plus11
|McAfee Antivirus Plus11|
1 Special Offer: Coming October 1, 2014 to the Intel® Business App Portfolio! Receive 15% off a 1-year paid subscription to Office 365 Business, which includes the familiar and powerful Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook applications, as well as cloud storage with OneDrive! ($23 USD value)
2 Special Offer: 2-month subscription of Splashtop Business ($10 Value)
3 Special Offer: Receive 60% off the Full Version of the Calc Pro HD (just $2.99) when you redeem this special offer.
4 Special Offer: Receive the Dictionary app from Farlex, Inc. for free ($1.99 USD value)
5 Special Offer: One year of SpeechTrans Ultimate ($24 USD value)
6 Special Offer: Extend CamCard free trial from 6 months to 12 months with promo code! ($5 USD value)
7 Special Offer: Special 20% discount on a DocuSign annual subscription (up to a $72 USD value)
8 Special Offer: A one-year extended trial of Drawboard PDF
9 Special Offer: Three months of unlimited calling for free!. That means, in addition to making free Skype to Skype calls, you can also call offline contacts on their mobiles and landlines.
10 Special Offer: 30-day trial with a consultation from a member of dedicated Airwatch SMB account team.
11 Special Offer: 1-year McAfee Antivirus Plus subscription ($35 USD value)
Android specific apps only:
12 Special Offer: 14-day free trial of Dropbox for Business
13 Special Offer: Receive Serial Number and download instructions for the full, premium version of ABBYY Business Card Reader.
14 Special Offer: Receive 3-months Premium service and lifetime paid [CamScanner] app features (totals $20) upon sign-up
15 Special Offer: One-year of ooVoo Video Conferencing Service
16 Special Offer: Activation code to upgrade PrintHand to Premium Mode.
17 Special Offer: While we highly recommend you utilize [MS Office compatible] WPS Office for your office document needs on your Android device, the application is free to use so there is no promotional offer available at this time.
18 Special Offer: While we highly recommend you utilize Evernote for your note taking needs on your Android device, the application is free to use so there is no promotional offer at this time.
19 Special Offer: 30-day trial of the Swype keyboard & dictation.
Mobile Devices (Intel based 2 in 1s and tablets) for the Intel® Business App Portfolio as of Sept 9, 2014:
|Acer Iconia A1-830 (7.9”, Z2560)
ASUS MeMO Pad (10.1”, Z2560)
Dell Venue 7 (7”, Z2560)
ASUS Transformer Book* T100 (10.1”, Z3740)
|Acer Iconia A1-830
ASUS MeMO Pad
Dell Venue 7
Samsung Galaxy Tab* 3 (10.1”, Z2560)
Computex 2014: What’s next for Intel: Cheaper 4K, new Core M chip and 3D cameras [Network World YouTube channel, June 5, 2014]
Intel® 14 nm Technology [an Intel Silicon Innovations page as of Sept 9, 2014]
Ultra-fast, energy-sipping devices powered by Intel
Supporting a wide range of products from mobile devices to servers, 14 nm transistors improve performance and reduce leakage power. Intel’s 14 nm technology will be used to manufacture a wide range of high-performance to low-power products including servers, personal computing devices, and products for the Internet of Things. The first systems based on the Intel® Core™ M processor will be on shelves for the holiday selling season followed by broader OEM availability in the first half of 2015. Additional products based on 14 nm process technology will be introduced in the coming months.
Using 2nd generation 3-D tri-gate transistors, the 14 nm technology delivers industry-leading performance, power, density, and cost per transistor, and will be used to manufacture a wide range of products, from high performance to low power.
Smaller is better
Intel’s 14 nm technology provides good dimensional scaling from 22 nm. The transistor fins are taller, thinner, and more closely spaced for improved density and lower capacitance. Improved transistors require fewer fins further improving density, and the SRAM cell size is almost half the area of that in 22 nm.
14 nm manufacturing
Intel’s 14 nm process and lead system-on-a-chip (SoC) product are now qualified and in volume production, with fabs in Oregon (2014), Arizona (2014), and Ireland (2015).
Microscopic Mark Bohr: Intel 14nm Processors Explained [Intel YouTube channel, Aug 11, 2014]
Intel® Core™ M Processor [an Intel Core Processors page as of Sept 9, 2014]
Versatile, Mobile, Blazing Fast
Intel® Core™ M and Intel® Core™ M vPro™ processors
With the world’s first processors built on 14 nm manufacturing process technology, PC performance is now possible within a range of ultra-mobile 2 in 1 devices. Blazing fast speed combined with the highest level of energy efficiency in Intel’s history enables razor-thin, fanless designs that meet your needs for both performance and mobility. The Intel® Core™ M vPro™ processor provides additional built-in security features1 to deliver the perfect combination of business-class performance and battery life to keep you productive longer no matter where you are. For small businesses, the Intel® Core™ M processor provides an optimal combination of business-class performance and battery life, so your employees have the power to stay productive longer, no matter where they work. Free yourself from carrying multiple devices and get the best of both worlds in a 2 in 1 device with the conflict-free Intel Core M and Intel Core M vPro processors.
IFA 2014: Intel presents new Core M Processors [allroundpc Youtube channel, Sept 5, 2014]
New Intel® Core™ M Processor Enables Razor-thin, Fanless Designs with the Optimal Blend of Beauty, Performance and Battery Life; Available Holiday 2014 [IFA 2014 press release, Sept 5, 2014]
- Acer*, ASUS*, Dell*, HP*, Lenovo* and Toshiba* to introduce new Intel® Core™ M processor-based 2 in 1s. Some systems available starting in October.
- Intel Core M processor delivers amazing performance and battery life for the thinnest, fanless 2 in 1 devices.
- At a power-sipping 4.5 watts, it is the most energy-efficient Intel® Core™ processor in the company’s history.1
IFA, Berlin, Sept. 5, 2014 – At IFA, a global trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances, Intel launched the new Intel® Core™ M processor, which will power new 2 in 1 devices from a variety of manufacturers including: Acer*, ASUS*, Dell*, HP*, Lenovo* and Toshiba*. Delivering the optimal blend of mobility and performance, Intel’s new processor was purpose-built for amazing performance in the thinnest, fanless ultra-mobile devices. The Intel Core M processor can power razor-thin devices with Intel Core processor-level performance and deliver up to double the battery life when compared to a 4-year-old system.2
“We’ve been on a multi-year mission to address end-user requirements and transform mobile computing,” said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of personal computing at Intel Corporation. “The introduction of Core M marks a significant milestone in that journey. Core M is the first of a new product family designed to deliver the promise of one of the world’s thinnest laptops and highest performance tablets in a single 2 in 1 device.”
Faster Performance, Even More Battery Life
The Intel Core M processor enables up to 50 percent faster compute performance and 40 percent faster graphics performance versus the comparable, previous 4th generation Intel Core processor.3 Consumers with older PCs will notice a more significant performance improvement. The Intel Core M processor delivers up to two times the compute performance and up to seven times better graphics compared to a 4- year-old PC, for example.2
In 2013, Intel delivered the biggest generation-over-generation battery life improvement in the company’s history. The Intel Core M processor and platform power reductions raise the bar on battery life even higher. The Intel Core M processor can handle more than 8 hours of video play, which is up to 20 percent (1.7 hours) longer battery life versus the previous-generation Intel Core processor4 and double the battery life of the average 4-year-old PC.1
Thin, Fanless 2 in 1s Available for Holiday 2014…and Beyond
The Intel Core M processor package is 50 percent smaller and, at 4.5 watts, has 60 percent lower thermal power than the previous generation.5 This lets OEMs design sleek, fanless systems less than 9 mm thin – thinner than an AAA battery and today’s sleekest laptops. There are already more than 20 Intel Core M processor-based OEM products in the development pipeline. The first systems based on the Intel Core M processor will be on shelves for the holiday selling season.
At IFA, manufacturers including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo unveiled new, coming-soon Intel Core M processor-based devices across a range of sizes, styles and price points.
- In Q4, Acer will expand its popular 2-in-1 series of notebooks with the Aspire Switch 12*, featuring a 12.5-inch FHD display with unique kickstand and magnet keyboard to move smoothly between five modes.
- ASUS introduced the ASUS Zenbook UX305*, an incredibly light and thin Ultrabook™ with a 13-inch QHD displayAsus unveiled the UX305, its newest flagship laptop at IFA 2014 this week. The device, it claims, is the world’s thinnest 13-in QHD+ ultrabook, giving it one of the highest pixel densities of any computers on the market. It faces competition from the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and the Samsung ATIV Book 9 as well as the Apple MacBook Pro Retina Display, although we expect vendors to refresh their current thin-and-light laptop range very soon. At only 12.3mm thick and weighing 1.2Kg, it is light enough to be carried comfortably with one hand. Its specification sheet lists an Intel Core M processor (the 5Y10), Windows 8.1, 4GB or 8GB of LPDDR3 memory, either 128GB or 256GB SSD, an Intel HD Graphics 5300 subsystem, a webcam and a 6-cell, 45Whr battery. As for connectivity, it has three USB ports, one mini-HDMI output and a SD card reader.
and the ASUS Transformer Book T300FA* 2 in 1, which was unveiled during the Intel keynote. The Transformer Book T300FA is a high-performance 2 in 1 and is expected to be available in Europe this fall for an estimated €599. Looking ahead, ASUS plans to go even thinner with the ASUS Transformer T300 Chi*.
- Dell has announced its first commercial 2 in 1, the Latitude 13 7000 Series*, which combines a lightweight business Ultrabook and a detachable tablet in one powerful, no-compromise device.
- HP further extends its award-winning ENVY portfolio with the addition of two new HP ENVY x2* detachable PCs, available in 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch form factors.
- The new [11.6”] Lenovo ThinkPad Helix*, available in October, is 12 percent lighter and measures 15 percent thinner than its predecessor while packing even more power thanks to the Intel Core M processor.
[From Lenovo on Sept 4 with the VP PCG Marketing & Design, Dilip Bhatia: “the most complete 2-in-1 in the marketplace”] The ThinkPad Helix is the industry’s leading 2-in-1 device. Powered by the latest Intel Core processor family, sporting a new revolutionary fan less design and up to 12 hours of battery life. Built for business, the ThinkPad Helix. Learn more about Lenovo: http://lnv.gy/lenovo[From Lenovo on Sept 4 with the product manager for ThinkPad Helix, Sachin Pathak: “specific focus on productivity in business … in line with Lenovo’s multimode strategy to 4 earlier modes now a new desktop mode has been added … etc. –> for ‘full PC connectivity’ ultimately satisfying the ‘business traveller’ ”] Join Kevin Beck for the First Look at the new Think Helix. Lots of awesome new features, including an innovative new fanless design, up to 12 hours of battery life and plenty more surprises. Learn more about Lenovo: http://lnv.gy/lenovo
Intel also previewed a forthcoming Intel Core M processor-based design from Toshiba, and said broader availability of Intel Core M processor-based devices is expected in the first half of next year.
To further system choice and availability, Intel said it is working with ODMs including Wistron* and others. Wistron plans an Intel Core M processor-based design inspired by the Intel “Llama Mountain” reference device. Intel first unveiled the stunning, fanless Llama Mountain reference device, which measures 7.2 mm thin and weighs a mere 670 grams, at Computex in Taiwan earlier this year.Intel Core M “Broadwell-Y” 2-in-1 Tablet / Ultrabook Reference Design hands on at Computex 2014 http://www.mobilegeeks.com http://www.mobilegeeks.de We got to quickly check out Intel’s new reference design für “Broadwell-Y” based Intel Core M ultrabooks and 2-in-1 tablet style devices. It’s called “Llama Mountain 2” and has a 12,5 inch QHD IPS display with 2560×1440 pixels. The device is only 7,5 millimeters thin and weighs in under 800 grams. It shows what to expect from this years 2-in-1 devices coming in from Intels many hardware partners in the run up to the holiday shopping season!
A “Conflict-Free” Processor; Additional Features
Intel Core M is a “conflict-free” product, which means this product does not contain conflict minerals (tin, tantalum, tungsten and/or gold) that directly or indirectly finance or benefit armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries.
The Intel Core M processor is available in several versions: the up to 2.0 GHz Intel Core M-5Y10/5Y10a processors and the up to 2.6 GHz Intel Core M-5Y70 processor. The Core M-5Y70 is the highest performing Intel Core M processor and is also available with Intel® vPro™ technology for business 2 in 1s with built-in security features to help protect data, user identities and network access.6
Additional Intel Core M platform features include support for high-quality audio, Intel® Wireless Display 5.0, Intel’s second-generation 802.11ac products and will evolve to support wireless docking with WiGig from Intel. For more information visit:www.intel.com.
1Energy efficiency based on SPEC CPU2006 Intel estimates for both performance and core power. Comparison made vs. Intel prior generation Intel Core family CPU Processors.
2Intel® Core™ M-5Y70 Processor (up to 2.60GHz, 4T/2C, 4M Cache) vs. Normalized to a 4-year-old PC with Intel® Core™ i5-520UM. Performance based on SYSmark* 2014. Intel® Core™ M 5Y70 compared to Intel® Core™ i5-520UM. Weight based on Intel® Core™ M processor-based 2 in 1 based on Intel® FFRD Llama Mountain. Old PC is OEM laptop with Intel® Core™ i5-520UM and 62WHr battery, 3 lbs weight, 1.1-inch thick.
3Up to 50 percent faster vs. 4th generation Intel Core processors based on: Specfp_rate_base 2006 comparing Intel® Core™ M-5Y70 Processor compared to previous-generation Intel® Core™ i5-4302Y at 4.5W. Up to 40 percent faster graphics vs. 4th generation Intel Core processors based on: 3D Mark Ice Storm comparing Intel® Core™ M-5Y70 Processor with Intel HD graphics 5300 vs. Previous Generation Intel® Core™ i5-4302Y at 4.5W with HD Graphics 4200.
4Intel Core M battery life tested vs. 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor based platforms – 11.6-inch panel; 19×10; 200 nits; 35WHr battery; SSD; 4GB memory. Full HD Local Video Playback Battery Rundown-measured using a Tears of Steel 1080p 10 Mbps video. Configuration: In the device settings, disable all radios. Disable Intel® Display Power Saving Technology (Intel® DPST), set up the system to specified screen brightness using a full screen white background, and re-enable Intel DPST. Turn OFF the adaptive brightness setting under Power Options in Control Panel. Set “Dim the display” to never on both battery and AC. Set “Put the computer to sleep” to never on both battery and AC. Wait 15 minutes after boot. Launch the default video player (Windows* 8.1 Style UI video player for win), start the workload video in a loop, and disconnect the AC plug to start the test. Measure the time until battery is exhausted.
54th generation Intel® CoreTM Processor (40 X 24 X 1.5 mm; 960 mm; 11.5W) vs. Intel® Core™ M processor (30 X 16.5 X 1.05 mm; 495 mm; 4.5W)
6No computer system can provide absolute security. Requires an enabled Intel processor, enabled chipset, firmware and/or software optimized to use the technologies. Consult your system manufacturer and/or software vendor for more information.
Intel Mobility at Computex 2014 with Core-M, WiGig, RealSense [Steve Paine YouTube channel, June 10, 2014]
– under Kirk Skaugen –> [46:23]:
>>> Reinvention of the Desktop
>>> 2 in 1 Momentum and the Intel Core M Processor
>>> User Experience at Intel
– then under Herman Eul –> [1:20:38]
>>> The Year of Intel Inside Your Tablet
>>> Powerful Smartphones
The growing Chromebook challenge for Windows laptops: promises from Google I/O are getting realized with new Chromebooks introduced at IFA 2014
1. New Chromebooks (13.3”, 14”)
2. Recently introduced Chromebooks (11.6”)
3. Gartner Says Chromebook Sales Will Reach 5.2 Million Units in 2014
Note that a highly competitive ASUS EeePC revival with the $199/€199 EeeBook X205 at IFA 2014: the Chromebooks alternative based on Windows 8.1 with Bing [this same blog, Sept 6, 2014] is coming in November for the U.S. and European markets. That offering is also just the first of a number of similar kinds expected from global laptop brands using the latest Intel Bay Trail-T Type 3 SoCs (i.e. Z3735G and Z3735F, details are in the above post) specifically designed for significantly lower SoC and PCB costs with specific design for “China Technical Ecosystem”. As of today there are no Chromebooks with Bay Trail-T Type 3 SoCs but those could come as well in November timeframe for even greater Windows laptop competition. The current low-end Chromebooks are mostly using the Intel Bay Trail-M (Intel Mobile Celeron) platform, namely the N2830 SoC (for comparison see the N2830, Z3735F, Z3735G table from Intel).
At the same time it is still unclear what the competition between Chromebooks and the cost reduced Windows laptops will be on the emerging markets. For reasons see the ‘Naked PCs’ lay bare Microsoft’s emerging markets problem article from Reuters (Aug 12, 2014) which has been widely republished (like in Business Insider). In addition Xinhua reported on Aug 24 that a Chinese OS expected to debut in October with the aim to relieve China’s way high dependence on both Windows and Android. With that Chrome OS chances in China could be minimal. We should therefore think of the competition between Chromebooks and the upcoming cost reduced Windows laptops just as a mature market phenomenon. More importantly the latest Gartner analysis considers the Chromebook market a niche market for the next 5 years (see at the end).
Microsoft facing increased competition from MacBooks and Chromebooks, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, July 23, 2014]
Microsoft is facing increased competition from MacBooks and Chromebooks, with the global notebook OS market share for Windows 8 already dropping to below 90%, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
Thanks to iPhones and iPads, demand for Apple’s Mac series products has also been rising in the past few years.
Meanwhile, Google is seeing increased Chromebook demand from the US and the UK’s education procurement and enterprise markets. By the end of 2014, vendors including Acer, Asustek Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Lenovo, LG Electronics and Toshiba are together expected to launch about 20 Intel-based Chromebooks priced at around US$349, the sources said.
To counter, Microsoft has recently extended its free Windows 8 licensing coverage and is cooperating with HP and Acer to release US$199 notebooks at the end of 2014, the sources noted.
In addition to extending free licensing for Windows 8, Microsoft may also need to revise the shortcomings of Windows 8 and accelerate its pace on the development of Windows 9 in order to stay competitive, the sources added.
Google previews new Chromebook features [CNET YouTube channel, June 25, 2014]
The 3 years of Google’s Chromebook journey as it was represented by Sundar Pichai
(As far as Chromebook’s 1st year is concerned see also my Chromebook / box with Citrix Receiver going against Microsoft [May 12 – July 29, 2011] post of mine.]
|I’ve already recognized that “the whole Android-centric story is getting even more interesting when Chrome, Google Drive, Chrome OS and the apps related to that are added” in my Nexus 7: Google wanted it in 4 months for $199/$245, ASUS delivered + Nexus Q (of Google’s own design and manufacturing) added for social streaming from Google Play to speakers and screen in home under Android device control [June 28, 2012] post.|
From Native Android apps are coming to Chrome OS [The Verge, June 25, 2014]
Google is working to bring Chrome OS and Android closer together, and that’ll eventually mean having Android apps running right on a Chromebook. “We’re in early days,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s Chrome and Android chief, said on stage today at Google’s I/O developer conference. Pichai didn’t say when the feature would arrive, but he demonstrated it already working using Android apps for Evernote, Flipboard, and Vine. The apps can appear in a tall, phone-sized window, or they can be expanded to run as they would on tablets.
Earlier this month, a project for Google’s Chromium called Athena pointed toward big changes to the touch aspects of Chrome OS. That included a virtual software keyboard, a card-based interface a la Google Now, and a new app launcher interface.
Altogether, it sounds as though touch input is bound to become a far more integral part of Chrome OS. Google didn’t comment on what future Chromebooks will look like from its partners, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see more and more shipping with touchscreens.
Google also said today that Chrome OS will eventually be able to display notifications from a paired Android phone, and that a paired phone will be able to unlock a Chromebook just by coming near it.
1. New Chromebooks (13.3”, 14”)
HP Chromebook 14 inch Tegra K1 Hands On [Steve Paine YouTube channel, Sep 4, 2014]
From: HP Unveils Five New Innovative and Stylish Consumer Products for Holiday [press release, Sept 4, 2014]
The 14-inch HP Chromebook combines beautiful design, super-fast performance and a wide 14-inch FHD [1920 x 1080] diagonal screen(5) for a superior Chrome experience. Powered by the latest-generation NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor with world-class graphics performance, the HP Chromebook provides smooth multitasking while browsing the web, running productivity apps or streaming music. Tegra K1’s breakthrough power efficiency gives the 14-inch HP Chromebook improved battery life. It also features a silent, slim, fanless design and is optimized for Google Hangouts, supporting Hangouts in HD.(5,7)Available in Twinkle Black or Snow White with a choice of complementary accent color options, including Smoke Silver, Sorbet Orange, Ocean Turquoise or Neon Green, the 14-inch HP Chromebook stands out in a crowd.(6)
- The 14-inch HP Chromebook is expected to be available in the United States beginning on Oct. 22 for a starting price of $299.99.
(5) High definition (HD) content is required to view high-definition images.
(6) Color availability may vary by region.
(7) Internet service required and not included.
Toshiba Chromebook 2 [CB30-B 13.3”] with Full HD [1920 x 1080] Screen Hands-On [Steve Paine YouTube channel, Sep 3, 2014] with Intel’s BayTrail-M (Intel Mobile Celeron) platform
Note: In France the Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB30-B is available for €329 as of Sept 7.
Acer Chromebook 13 Hands-On (CB5, Tegra [K1], 2014) [Steve Paine YouTube channel, Sep 5, 2014] Note: available for pre-order in U.S. since Aug 12 (see below), but as of Sept 7 it still has not been released
A new type of Chromebook with extra-long battery life [Google Chrome Blog, Aug 11, 2014]
Chromebooks were designed for your mobile lifestyle. They’re thin and light, resume instantly, and are easy to use.
Starting today, we’re welcoming a new type of Chromebook into the family, beginning with the Acer Chromebook 13. This new device uses the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, so you get the speed you’re used to from Chromebooks with a battery life up to 13 hours. What could you do in thirteen hours?
- Fly from New York to Beijing
- Watch the entire set of Harry Potter movies
- Complete an Iron Man triathlon (average finish time is 12hr 13min)
- Finish a 1-credit college course
- Watch 390 adorable cat videos (2 min per video)
- Use your Chromebook 13 to watch, play and get a lot done
The Acer Chromebook 13 is available now (with optional touchscreen and 1080p resolution) at Amazon and other online retailers from $279.
Hands-on: The Tegra K1-powered Acer Chromebook 13 [NVIDIA YouTube channel, Aug 12, 2014]
See more at: Tegra K1 Transforming Chromebooks From The Inside Out [NVIDIA Blog, Aug 11, 2014]
Acer Chromebook 13 laptop – The Chromebook with 13 hours of battery life (features & highlights) [Acer YouTube channel, Aug 11, 2014]
Acer Launches Industry’s First Chromebook Powered by NVIDIA Tegra K1 and its First 13.3-inch Model [press release, Aug 12, 2014]
Acer America today announced the Acer Chromebook 13, the industry’s first Chromebook powered by an NVIDIA Tegra K1 mobile processor mobile processor and the company’s first with a 13.3-inch display. The Chromebook 13 enhances Acer’s already dominant position in this category with an impressive 46.7 percent market share in Chromebooks.(1)
Acer’s early lead in the Chromebook space you could understand from my earlier Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! [Nov 7, 2013] post.
The combination of additional real estate on the vibrant 13.3-inch display, industry-leading battery life of up to 13 hours,(2) and a thin and light fanless design makes the Acer Chromebook 13 the ideal choice for customers who want additional screen real estate along with a portable and productivity-boosting design. The Acer Chromebook 13 is available in two options – one with a full HD display with 1920×1080 resolution and another model with a 1366×768 display.(2)
The Acer Chromebook 13 delivers the ultimate in mobility with the Tegra K1 with a 192-core GPU, enabling customers to get more done throughout their work day and after hours, no matter where they take their Chromebook. Customers will experience a first-rate multi-tasking experience when keeping multiple tabs open, playing a video and doing more all at once.
“The Acer Chromebook 13 is an ideal device for families who need a new or additional computer to share for school projects, research, entertainment and fun online,” said Sumit Agnihotry, Acer’s vice president of product marketing. “The display is large and vibrant, so everything from homework to video is incredibly crisp and detailed. Plus, up to 13 hours of battery life means families can use the device all day for work or school and not have to recharge it for nighttime activities like homework and watching movies.”
The Acer Chromebook 13 uses the NVIDIA Tegra K1 4-Plus-1™ quad-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU plus a third-generation battery-saver core to provide up to 13 hours of battery life(2). Tegra K1 uses an NVIDIA Kepler architecture-based GPUwith 192 programmable GPGPU cores to process rich and detailed graphics.
“The Acer Chromebook 13’s long battery life, speedy multitasking and advanced graphics highlight the tremendous experiences that Tegra K1 delivers,” said Kaustubh Sanghani, general manager of the mobile PC business unit at NVIDIA. “Acer’s innovations and Tegra K1 will make the Chromebook 13 a popular device with consumers.”
Two Options Provide Choice of Full HD Display, Extra-Long Battery Life
The Acer Chromebook 13’s large 13.3-inch display comes in two models to give customer the options that fit their needs. The version with a full HD 1920×1080 display shows video in lifelike 1080p resolution and provides up to 11 hours of battery life.(2) In addition, models will be available with a bright and crisp 1366×768 resolution display that provides even longer battery life of up to 13 hours.(2) Both displays will have Acer ComfyView™ anti-glare panels that minimize light reflection that can cause eye fatigue. In addition, the Acer Chromebook 13’s display provides rich colors and excellent contrast, while the large size helps accommodate the spacious keyboard that is both comfortable and maximizes productivity.
Designed with mobility in mind, the Acer Chromebook 13 has an incredibly thin and light design that measures only 0.71 inches thin and weighs only 3.31 pounds. In addition, the Acer Chromebook 13 is fanless, so the system is nearly silent while operating. The Acer Chromebook 13 keeps customers in touch and connected with 802.11ac WiFi, which provides speeds up to three times faster than 802.11n. Plus, the 2×2 MIMO antenna helps ensure reliable throughput.
Starts Quickly; Connects to Popular Devices
The new Acer Chromebook 13 boots up in less than 9 seconds and resumes nearly instantly from sleep mode. This enables customers to more quickly enjoy the more than 30,000 free and paid apps, themes and extensions in the Chrome web store.
Customers will enjoy faster data transfers of photos and video with the Acer Chromebook 13’s two USB 3.0 ports. Plus, streamed video and movies can be shared on a larger display or home TV using the Acer Chromebook 13’s HDMI port. Video chats and Google Talk are all enhanced by the Chromebook’s HD webcam that provides 720p HD audio/video recording as well as the two built-in stereo speakers and microphone.
Fun to Share, Easy to Protect
Chromebooks are simple to use and ideal for sharing by multiple users, such as families, schools or at different shifts at a business. Users can log into their own account to access Gmail, Docs, website bookmarks and other information. Storage on Google Drive(3) protects files, documents, and photos safely in the cloud, and ensures that the most current version of the file or document is always available and safe, even if the Chromebook is lost or stolen. Plus, Acer Chromebook 13 users can view, edit, create and collaborate on-line and off-line with a growing number of programs, such as Microsoft Office documents and Gmail.
Security is a key benefit of the Chrome operating system, as it’s automatically updated to guard against ever-changing online threats. This is especially useful for families and schools who want to protect children.
Pricing and Availability
Several models are available now for pre-sale:
- The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T9B0 has the 1920×1080 full HD [1920 x 1080] display, 2GB of memory and a fast 16GB Solid State Drive(4). It is priced at only $299.99 and is available now for pre-sale at BestBuy.com.
- The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T1UU has a 1920×1080 full HD [1920 x 1080] display, 4GB of memory and a fast 32GB Solid State Drive(4). It is priced at only $379.99 and is available now for pre-sale at Amazon.com and the Acer Store.
- The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T7NN has a 1366×768 display, 2GB of memory and a fast 16GB Solid State Drive(4). It is priced at only $279.99 and is available now for pre-sale at Amazon.com and the Acer Store.
Acer is also offering a configuration via resellers that will be sold to commercial and education customers. That model comes with a 1366×768 display, 4GB of memory, a fast 16GB Solid State Drive(4) and will be priced at $329.99.
Acer systems are backed by professional, high-quality technical support. The company’s online community at community.acer.com provides customers discussion forums, answers to frequently asked questions and the opportunity to share ideas for new and enhanced services and products.
Prices listed are manufacturer suggested retail prices and may vary by location. Applicable sales tax extra.
Q1 2014 NPD data, U.S. market.
The Acer Chromebook 13 model with the full HD 1920×1080 display provides up to 11.5 hours of battery life. The Acer Chromebook 13 model with the 1366×768 display provides up to 13 hours of battery life. Battery life as measured with Google power_LoadTest (http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/testing/power-testing). Actual battery life varies by model, configuration (including storage capacity, RAM capacity, processor in use, display type and resolution, etc.), applications, power management settings, operating conditions, and utilized features.
More information on Google Drive on Chrome devices:https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/2703646?p=driveoffer&rd=1
Accessible capacity varies: (MB = 1 million bytes; GB = 1 billion bytes)
2. Recently introduced Chromebooks (11.6”)
Acer Chromebook 11 laptop – The right choice for a smart buyer (features & highlights) [Acer YouTube channel, Aug 21, 2014] with Intel’s BayTrail-M (Intel Mobile Celeron) N2830 platform (availability?)
From Acer’s Chrome Devices Now Expand to Include New Chromebox CXI and Chromebook 11 [press release, Aug 21, 2014]
Acer Chromebook 11
The Acer Chromebook 11 enhances life on-the-go with an even faster wireless connectivity and long-lasting battery life that extends productivity from day to night on a single charge. There are two models: the CB3-111 consumer model in an immaculate Moonstone White color, and the C730 commercial/education model in Granite Gray.
The Acer Chromebook 11 meets the needs of students, families, anyone on a budget, as an affordable secondary device, and for the growing number of customers who enjoy the Google ecosystem for school, work and entertainment.
Faster Connection and Long-lasting Battery
Up to 3x faster(1) connection is achieved via the latest 802.11ac wireless communication, which vastly improves coverage in distance and range. The Chromebook 11 features Bluetooth 4.0 technology and one USB 3.0 port that lets users share and send data faster. Up to 8.5 hours(2) of battery life means users can fit in plenty of work and entertainment throughout the day.
Fast Boot and Connectivity
The Intel® Celeron® N2830 processor(4), based on the Intel Bay Trail M architecture, and eMMC 16/32 GB solid-state drive helps this system boot fast(5), perform well without slowing over time. The Chromebook 11 comes with an 11.6-inch HD 1366 x 768 display, 16:9 wide aspect ratio, and Acer ComfyView™ LED backlit TFT LCD. Input/output ports include USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports for quick and easy data sharing and external storage, SD™ Card reader, combo headphone/speaker jack, and HDMI® port.
The Chromebook 11 (CB3-111) for consumers is slimmer than its predecessor measuring 299 x 202 x 18.65 mm with a reduced height, and weighs 1.1kg (2.43 lbs.) so it can be taken anywhere for exploring online, staying in touch, running Chrome apps and more.
The Chromebook 11 (C730) for the commercial/education with improved structural design can withstand a 60% higher drop test than the consumer model, and features a water spill proof keyboard/touchpad with drainage channel designed to tackle the higher possibilities of spills and drops in businesses and schools. This model measures 302.6 x 206.6 x 21.75 mm and weighs 1.4 kg (3.09 lbs.)
Speed, Security and Synchronicity of Acer Chrome-based Devices
The New Acer Chromebox CXI and Chromebook 11 pack all the speed, security and auto-synchronization convenience of Chrome OS.
Powerwash – Easy Factory Reset
Powerwash enables IT to quickly and easily clear all local user data stored in the Chrome device by resetting it to its original factory state. Using this feature, all data stored on the device such as files, photos, owner permissions, and saved networks, will be deleted for all accounts. After clearing this data, the IT professional is guided through the initial setup again. Resetting the device doesn’t affect the accounts themselves, or any data synced to these accounts.
Always Up to Date, Easy to Use
IT professionals will find that it’s simple to control a fleet of Chrome devices via the web-based Google Management Console, which makes it possible to deploy an app from 1 to thousands of Chrome-based devices with a single click of a button. The OS and all downloaded applications are automatically updated every six weeks, saving IT staff’s time and assuring users the freshest software and security features.
Acer’s Chrome devices come with pre-installed web apps and over 30,000 additional apps, themes and extensions on the Chrome Web Store. Since all applications run within the browser, there is little to no computer management required.
Acer’s Chrome devices are easy to use. After the user signs into Chrome with a Google account, they’re immediately immersed in the Google ecosystem and signed into Google services. Their bookmarks, history and settings are synced across all of their devices and computers running Chrome. Once logged in, they can surf the Internet with the Chrome browser, read and send emails from Gmail, search the web with Google Search, create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more with Google Drive, as well as watch videos from YouTube, etc.
Fun to Share, Easy to Protect
Chrome devices are simple to use and ideal for sharing by multiple users, such as families, schools or at different shifts at a business. Users can log into their own account to access Gmail, Docs, website bookmarks and other information. Storage on Google Drive 4 protects files, documents, and photos safely in the cloud, and ensures that the most current version of the file or document is always available and safe, even if the Chrome device is lost or stolen. Plus, users of Acer Chrome devices can view, edit, create and collaborate on-line and off-line with a growing number of programs, such as Office documents and Gmail.
Layers of Tight Security
Multiple layers of security features including data encryption and verified boot defend the device against online threats, malware and viruses. Every time the Chrome OS boots, it checks the integrity and validity of system files. If it detects any anomaly or unauthorized change, the system will restore from a prior backup. User and system files are stored on separate partitions that keep data secure and make restoration from a backup simple. Individual user’s data is encrypted automatically and protected by the TPM 1.2 chip, which generates and stores secure cryptographic keys, enabling IT professionals to read data from a stolen Chrome device.
Via individual accounts, data is kept safe when the device is used by multiple users. Storage on Google Drive safeguards files, documents, and photos in the cloud, and ensures that the most current version is always available. IT staff will also appreciate that the Acer Chromebox CXI has a Kensington lock to secure them to a desk or mobile cart.
(1) Based on a IEEE 802.11ac draft specification. Actual speed will vary based on range, connection rate, site conditions, size of network, and other factors.
(2) Battery life may vary depending on model and configuration. Based on Google power_LoadTest.
(3) 330 ml of liquid water spillage resistant keyboard and touchpad design on Acer Chromebook 11 – C730 only.
(4) Accessible capacity varies: (MB = 1 million bytes; GB = 1 billion bytes).
(5) Reg: Boots up under 10 seconds. Source: Chromium OS Fast Boot.
Lenovo N20/N20P [11.6”] Chromebook hands-on [SlashGear YouTube channel, May 5, 2014] !! The N20p comes with a 300-degree hinge that allows the screen to be turned around for using the notebook in all-touch mode!! with Intel’s “BayTrail-M” [Mobile] Celeron N2930 or N2830 platform, available beginning in July and August, respectively
Lenovo Breaks The Mold By Going Multimode On Its First Consumer Chromebook [press release, May 6, 2014]
Portfolio offers thin and light designs and breakthrough dual mode, touch experience
- N20 Chromebook in clamshell design offers familiar laptop feel with choice features
- N20p Chromebook features an HD 10-point multitouch display and easily converts from Laptop to Stand mode for added flexibility and new ways to use it
Lenovo(HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) today announced Lenovo’s first consumer Chromebooks, the N20 Chromebook and N20p Chromebook. These devices offer consumers choices of two ways to enjoy the Chrome experience in a thin and light form factor with a set of comprehensive technologies – all at an unbelievably affordable price starting at $279. While the N20 provides the familiar comfort of a traditional laptop, the N20p Chromebook breaks the mold for Chromebooks with its innovative multimode design featuring Laptop and Stand modes.
These new additions complement Lenovo’s Chromebook family, which includes the ThinkPad 11e Chromebook and the ThinkPad YOGA 11e Chromebook, built with the needs of education customers in mind.
Fusing Innovative Hardware
Designed for maximum portability, both Chromebooks are thin and light at less than 17.9mm and weighing less than 1.4 kg. With an 11.6-in 1366×768 HD screen, users can comfortably see their work and type by using the full-sized keyboard with its oversized trackpad and attractive cool-touch palmrest.
While the N20 Chromebook features a traditional laptop design, the multimode N20p Chromebook’s keyboard flexes 300° backward to convert from Laptop mode to Stand mode. Stand mode gives users a new way for watching videos up close and interacting with the 10-finger touchscreen for playing games and browsing.
With up to eight hours of battery life1 and powered by an Intel® Celeron processor with integrated graphics, users can quickly and seamlessly boot the Chromebook and immediately begin their task, whether it’s watching videos, video chatting using the high definition web cam, listening to music, surfing the web and more without bringing their power cord along. They can also stay constantly connected with its WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Chromebooks also come with up to 16 GB internal and up to 100 GB of free cloud storage from Google Drive for storing digital content.
The Chrome Experience
Combining the Chrome experience with Lenovo’s innovative multimode Chromebook design offers an unmatched value for consumers. With the Chrome operating system, the Chromebooks boot within seconds. Chrome offers fast, automatic updates and tens of thousands of apps available via the Chrome Web Store.
Users can work on their N20 Chromebook and N20p Chromebook offline writing email on Gmail and creating documents with Google Docs. To facilitate working with other people and devices, the Chromebooks allow for opening, editing and sharing Microsoft Word and Excel files. Users can even share their Chromebook with someone else through a guest’s personal Google account or by enabling Guest Mode, and they can enable monitoring of children’s web browsing with supervised user profiles. With the Chromebooks, users can print anywhere via Google Cloud Print, and they can employ remote desktop access to access software on their machine.
“Our first consumer Chromebooks perfectly complement people’s changing mobile digital lifestyles,” said Dilip Bhatia, vice president, worldwide marketing and design, PC Group, Lenovo. “Equipped with thousands of apps, the N20 and N20p Chromebooks are also fast, secure and incredibly simple for anyone to use and manage. With touch and two unique modes on the N20p Chromebook, users are getting a great technology experience at a handsome price.”
Pricing and Availability2
Pricing for models of the N20 Chromebook and N20p Chromebook start at $279 and $329, respectively. They will be available beginning in July and August, respectively, via Lenovo retailers and www.lenovo.com.
ASUS C200 [11.6”] Chromebook Review. Detailed. HQ. [Steve Paine YouTube channel, Aug 4, 2014] with Intel’s BayTrail-M (Intel Mobile Celeron) [N2830] platform, was first available in U.S. since May 6, 2014 (Amazon) and as of Sept 7. its MRP is $249 while you can buy it on Amazon for $230
See also: Introducing the New ASUS Chromebooks C200 and C300 [press release, May 6, 2014] where it was stated that:
… The ASUS Chromebook C200 and C300 will begin shipping in the US at the end of June 2014 with a starting price at $249.99. …
New Chromebooks: in more shapes, sizes and colors [Google Chrome Blog, May 6, 2014]
Spring has finally arrived in the U.S. And with the new growth the season brings, we’re happy to expand our Chromebook family. Together with Intel, today we’re announcing a new lineup of Chromebooks with Intel inside from leading manufacturers Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG and Toshiba—spanning an entire range of shapes, sizes, colors and configurations.
Lenovo’s N20p Chromebook and Thinkpad YOGA 11e Chromebook offer options for touchscreen and hinge designs that enable tablet or tented-angle usage, so they’re just as easy to use at your desk or coffee table, on your lap or at school.
ASUS is following the success of their Chromebox (now the most popular desktop on Amazon.com) by introducing two new laptops: The ASUS C200 Chromebook (11-inch) and ASUS C300 Chromebook (13-inch).
New versions of the Dell Chromebook 11 and the Acer C720 Chromebook will be powered by Intel’s Core i3 processor, which packs the additional performance to help you get things done faster. These new Chromebooks, along with a new 13-inch Toshiba model, a Chromebox from HP, and the LG Chromebase (the first all-in-one computer running Chrome OS), will be available in retail over the next few months.
3. Gartner Says Chromebook Sales Will Reach 5.2 Million Units in 2014 [press release, Aug 11, 2014]
Chromebook Sales Expected to Nearly Triple by 2017
In 2014, Sales to Consumers Will Account for Over Half of All Chromebook Sales
Sales of Chromebooks* will reach 5.2 million units in 2014, a 79 percent increase from 2013, according to Gartner, Inc. By 2017, sales of Chromebooks are set to nearly triple to reach 14.4 million units.
“Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014,” said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner. “Now that the PC market is no longer growing strongly, vendors are searching for new business opportunities. They launched Chromebooks to revive interest in sub-$300 portable PCs once the netbook bubble had burst.”
Demand for Chromebooks is mainly driven by the education sector in the U.S. Gartner estimates that the education sector accounted for nearly 85 percent of Chromebook sales in 2013. In addition, of the 2.9 million Chromebooks sold during 2013, 82 percent were sold in North America, making it the major market for Chromebooks globally.
While Chromebooks are primarily used by the education sector, they will also have a place in businesses for specific workers, such as staff in banking, financial services, estate agents and hotel receptionists. “So far, businesses have looked at Chromebooks, but not bought many,” said Ms. Durand. “By adopting Chromebooks and cloud computing, businesses can benefit; they can shift their focus from managing devices to managing something much more important — their data.”
These devices also encourage more collaboration and sharing of content. As more users work collaboratively in the cloud, collaborative working practices are likely to become more common which may further increase the appeal of Chromebooks and similar devices.
In 2011, Samsung and Acer, very consumer-focused vendors, were the first vendors to invest in Chromebooks, and were the two dominant leaders in the market in 2013 (see Figure 1) “While there is less presence in the business market, and a limited product portfolio for midsize businesses, Chromebooks could open doors to the business market,” said Ms. Durand.
Acer’s early lead in the Chromebook space you could understand from my earlier Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! [Nov 7, 2013] post. Meanwhile Samsung earliest lead was documented in the very end of my Nexus 7: Google wanted it in 4 months for $199/$245, ASUS delivered + Nexus Q (of Google’s own design and manufacturing) added for social streaming from Google Play to speakers and screen in home under Android device control [June 28, 2012] post.
Figure 1. Chromebook Vendors’ Shares of Unit Sales to End Users, Worldwide, 2013
Source: Gartner (July 2014)
By selling 1.7 million units in 2013, Samsung led the Chromebook market globally. It was especially dominant in the education market, having the most popular devices in primary and secondary schools. Acer, which had a 21.4 percent market share in 2013, designs Chromebooks with a consistent focus on delivering the best value for money. It uses Intel, rather than ARM-based, CPUs because its target consumers are price-sensitive.
HP was the No. 3 vendor, with a 6.8 percent share of Chromebook shipments, and Lenovo (which did not enter the market until last year) accounted for 6.7 percent of shipments in 2013. HP was the only vendor to launch a Chromebook with a 14-inch screen. HP positions itself as a provider of solutions and services for businesses, and its large installed customer base in the business and education markets should provide it with a strong competitive advantage in the Chromebook market going forward. Lenovo’s Chromebooks are very rugged, compared with the competition, and therefore ideal for primary and secondary school pupils. However, Lenovo needs to manage its devices portfolio in such a way as to avoid selling so many Chromebooks that it undermines sales of its other ThinkPads — which provide better margins.
Chromebooks will remain a niche market during the next five years. To reach a wider audience, vendors need to offer better features that address cloud-based usage patterns: faster connectivity, faster memory access, faster and larger solid-state drives, and strong user support in the education, business and consumer segments. “Making a competitive Chromebook is not just a matter of hardware and price; what is most important is to show how the device’s cloud-based architecture provides genuine advantages to users,” said Ms. Durand.
More detailed analysis is available in the report “Competitive Landscape: Chromebooks, Worldwide.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/document/2811820.