Are doubled specs and a bunch of promises from Google enough to make Chromebook Plus devices successful?
Did Chromebook ever live up to the hype? Were they ever successful and popular? The answer to these questions depends entirely on who you ask, but with the introduction of a completely new category of Chromebook, Google is hoping to appeal to a whole new audience.
With Chromebook Plus, Google is upping the minimum guaranteed hardware specs. This means a doubling of memory to at least 8GB, a minimum of 128GB of storage, and a better display and webcam. To earn the Chromebook Plus label, a device will also have to pack an Intel Core i3 12th Gen or above, or AMD Ryzen 3 7000 series or above. Google is also introducing new features -- and promising more in the future -- for ChromeOS, including for existing devices that already meet the requirements.
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Google says that it has been working with partners and listening to user feedback to make changes that it will no doubt be hoping will result in an upsurge in Chromebook interest and sales.
Announcing the new range of devices, Google says:
All Chromebook Plus laptops offer faster processors and double the memory and storage, giving you the power to get more done, easily. All Chromebook Plus laptops also come with a Full HD IPS display -- which means you get a full 1080p HD experience when watching streaming content, and crisp, clear viewing for reading, creating content or editing photos and videos. Finally, there's a 1080p+ webcam with temporal noise reduction for smoother, more lifelike video calls.
All Chromebook Plus laptops come with the following guaranteed hardware specs:
- CPU: Intel Core i3 12th Gen or above, or AMD Ryzen 3 7000 series or above
- RAM: 8GB+
- Storage: 128GB+
- Webcamera: 1080p+ with Temporal Noise Reduction
- Display: Full HD IPS or better display
Google is piggybacking on the recently launched Photoshop on the web, using Adobe web-based image editor as a lure -- because "Chromebook Plus also enables you to work on more graphically demanding projects". As an added incentive, when you buy a Chromebook Plus -- such as those announced by Lenovo -- you'll get a three-month trial of Photoshop on the web thrown in for free.
But much of what Google talks about in its Chromebook Plus announcement is still to come. The Company promises it will "keep adding new features to Chromebook Plus over time", citing baking "the power of Google's AI capabilities directly into ChromeOS" as an example.
Not enough? There's more.
We're also working on bringing image generation capabilities to Chromebook Plus. This includes personalization capabilities in ChromeOS settings menu, like generating custom wallpapers using easy templatized text prompts. Want a wallpaper featuring cats in impressionist style art? Weve got you covered.
We're working to add generative AI backgrounds to your video calls, too. All you need to do is to adjust it once in your video call control panel and it’ll work on any app you use to make calls on Chromebook Plus. Bored of taking video calls from planet Earth? Generate backgrounds to transport you to an office on Mars.
Is this all going to reinvigorate interest in Chromebooks or make them appeal to a wider audience? Google is certainly hoping so. Chromebook Plus laptops are available in the US from October 8, and in Canada and Europe from October 9.