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Intel Says It Can Help Google's Chromebooks Grow Up

Intel says it will be in 20 Chromebook models this year.

Bonnie Cha / Re/code

With the broader Windows PC market stalled, Intel is looking to grab a more significant share of the Chromebook market.

The chipmaker, which was in just four Chromebooks as of last fall, will be in 20 this year, including new Celeron-based systems from Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba. Lenovo introduced two new models last night, its first consumer-targeted Chromebooks.

Intel also sees an opportunity to help Chromebooks expand to higher reaches of the market, with Core i3 systems coming from Acer and Dell.

“Get more of the power you expect” is one of Intel’s tag lines at the event. Historically, most Chromebooks have used ARM processors.

Among the new products:

  • Asus announced the 11.6-inch C200 and 13.3-inch C300, both of which will begin shipping this summer.
  • Acer unveiled its next-generation 2014 Chromebook with a more compact and quieter design. It will be available later this year. The company will also offer the C720 Chromebook with a fourth-generation i3 processor for $350. It’s expected to ship early in the back-to-school season.
  • Dell introduced a new configuration of its Chromebook 11 using Intel’s Core i3 processor. The laptop is scheduled for release later this year.
  • In other Chrome news, the LG Chromebase, which was announced at CES, will go on sale on May 26 for $349 from major retailers, including Amazon, Fry’s Electronics and Newegg. The HP Chromebox will also be available in U.S. retail stores.

Update, 10:13 a.m.: The event has started with Intel and Google executives talking up the market.

Navin Shenoy, an Intel VP, said that supporting Chrome is about Intel’s broader strategy, the premise that its chips should power anything that computes, from PCs and servers to phones and tablets.

“We will embrace multiple operating systems,” Shenoy said. “We want our processors to work best with any operating system in the market.”

While Intel wasn’t in many of the first Chromebooks that were sold, it was the chip inside the CR-48 prototype that was the first Chrome OS device. Intel is also touting the fact that, at least for now, only its chips support the 64-bit version of the operating system.

Meanwhile, Google VP Caesar Sengupta said that two features from Android — voice actions and Google Now — are being added to Chrome OS, as well as support for offline video viewing, starting with Google Play movies and TV.

10:31 a.m.: Intel showed a forthcoming Lenovo Yoga Chromebook for schools as well as an Intel-created reference design for education. Shenoy said Chromebooks are now in use in 10,000 schools, twice the number using them two quarters ago.

10:34 a.m.: Following through on a pledge from Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, the company also said that the new Chromebooks would use the first chips entirely free of metals from conflict regions like Congo. (Those are minerals such as gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten.)

Intel showed a cool video on how it enabled this.

10:48 a.m.: In a question-and-answer session, Sengupta said that Google was committed to touch-based Chrome OS devices, but he was equivocal on whether or not Google would push Chrome into tablets.

So far, the focus has been on Chrome for clamshells and Android in phones and tablets, Sengupta said in answer to a follow-up question. But, the company is evaluating things …

“The world is in a state of great flux right now,” he said.

And with that, the event is done.

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