Well that was fast. Just last week we talked about a discovered document that revealed a new Chromebook coming from HP. At the time we were expecting an official reveal on February 17th. Instead the HP Chromebook was revealed yesterday and it is already on sale. The specs are just what we were expecting: A Celeron 1.1 Ghz CPU, 2 GB of RAM (upgradable to 4) and a 16 GB SSD. The 14" screen's resolution is 1366 x 768 and the device has a full-sized keyboard. So far, so good.
Last week I voiced my hope that HP would price its Chromebook comparably to Acer's $199 C7. Sadly that's not the case. Instead HP has priced their Chromebook at $329.99. So what does an extra $130 get you? Well, the larger (but not higher resolution) screen and full sized keyboard are the biggies. HP also draws your attention to the HP TrueVision HD Webcam though I honestly don't know how much better that webcam is than the one in the Acer. The bottom line is that most users will probably be expecting more for their extra money. Both the Acer and the HP have fairly poor battery life (around 4 hours) but you'd think HP could've offered a larger battery thanks to the larger chassis. (I thought it was interesting that in its blog post Google refers to the HP as "a great home companion" — a tacit acknowledgement that the battery life isn't good enough for this to be a great traveling system.) The only other major difference between the two units: the Acer has a 320 GB hard drive. On the one hand, that's great for storage (though Chrome OS is really built around cloud-storage) but on the other hand it's going to be slower than HP's 16 GB solid state drive. So presumably (we won't know for sure until we see real-world test results) the HP will be slightly faster than the Acer. The buzz around the social networks suggests that HP missed the mark and priced their Chromebook too high. I'd tend to agree. I expect to pay more for a larger screen and the full sized keyboard, but not $130 more. I was thinking closer to $50 more. $249 I would've been comfortable with. Failing that, beef up the screen resolution or the battery life. Maybe retailers will give us a healthy discount. Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.