The new quad-core 'Haswell' chips are the latest addition to Intel's Atom line of lower cost processors. They are meant to compete head-on with the currently favored ARM (ARMH)-based chips. The new devices promise lower power consumption (and longer lasting battery reserves) and improved computing performance. All of which are perfect for the next series of portables to be released just in time for the holiday shopping season.
Intel shares were retreating 0.32% to $22.74 in early afternoon trading.
Until now, nearly all Chromebooks (lightweight, cloud-based computers that run everything through a Google (GOOG) Chrome browser) used ARM-based processors. The sole exception being the super-popular $250 Samsung Chromebook.
Yesterday, Acer, Asus, Toshiba and HP (HPQ) announced new Chromebooks utilizing the new Haswell processors at the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco. Few details were disclosed except for one model - the HP Chromebook 14. As you might surmise, it has a 14-inch display,. It comes in three colors and should be available in time for the holiday shopping season. Price is estimated at just under $300.
Expect to see Haswell processors showing up in lower-cost, next-generation Microsoft (MSFT) Windows-based tablets and laptops as well. Last night, at the IFA show in Berlin, Asus announced its $350 Transformer Book T100 computer. It's a two-piece tablet/keyboard cover device which runs the full-blown Windows operating system (the upcoming Windows 8.1 not Windows RT).
The T100 also comes with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 pre-installed.
Think of the T100 as a modern-day "Eee PC". That was the first device to be called a "netbook" the small, low-cost Windows portables so popular just a few years ago. A $350 Windows 8.1 laptop could turn out to be just as popular. The T100 is set to reach U.S. retailers on October 18.
The Asus device, and there will surely be competitors in that price category, could be just what Microsoft needs to get a big boost for its flailing computing OS. Choosing between a $300 Chromebook and a $350 Windows 8.1 computer should be a difficult choice for consumers.
Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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