In a blog post celebrating the popularity of Chromebooks in Swedish schools, Google has quietly announced a new Chrome OS laptop from HP: the Chromebook x360 11 G1 Education Edition. There are no full specs as of yet, but Google says the device will be hitting shelves in mid-April. It’s a “rugged” convertible, with a front-facing camera designed to be used in tablet mode, USB-C charging, and an optional stylus — all features “designed for the specific needs of schools,” says Google. From this brief picture, it seems the G11 will follow in the footsteps of a pair of Chrome OS laptops from Acer and Asus announced earlier this year. They, too, were designed for use in the classroom, and share many of the same features of the new HP unit, including a rugged, easy-to-fix design that helps IT departments make repairs. These laptops may all seem pretty nondescript, but Google’s strategy in this sector is paying off. By some estimates, Chrome OS now accounts for half the education market — outperforming both iPads and Windows devices thanks to a combination of low prices and ease-of-use. Another Chromebook from HP should only add to this appeal.
Chromebooks have grown from a curiosity to a force to be reckoned with. Offering a simple and stripped-down experience, Google’s Chrome OS is extremely easy to use (if you can use a browser, you’re good), and it comes inside several affordable laptops that cost as little as $159. A Chromebook is a laptop of a different breed. Instead of Windows 10 or Mac OS X, Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS. These machines are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents living in the cloud. As a result, these clamshells don’t have a ton of onboard storage, but they don’t have very large price tags, either. Low prices, long battery life and Windows 10 confusion have many people considering a Chromebook. In fact, according to the NPD research firm, Chromebook sales topped Windows notebook sales during the early summer of 2015. Because Chromebooks run Chrome OS, Google’s operating system, they rely heavily on Google’s suite of applications and a working Internet connection. Although you can log in to Chrome OS as a guest, to have the best experience, users should log in to the system with Google credentials.