Google doubles minimum RAM and disk in 'Chromebook Plus' spec
Some may be made in India, where the Big G has teamed to make kit with HP
Google has added a 'Plus' designation to its Chromebook spec that requires machines to offer at least an Intel Core i3 12th Gen or above, or AMD Ryzen 3 7000, plus 8GB of memory and 128GB of onboard storage.
The spec also calls for a Full HD display with in-plane switching (IPS) – an LED tech that offers bright colors and wide viewing angles – and a 1080p+ webcam with temporal noise reduction.
"Laptop shopping is harder than it should be," states a post by John Maletis, Google's veep for ChromeOS product, engineering and UX. "You can easily get lost in a sea of numbers and technical specs, and it's hard to know what products will actually give you what you need, at the price you want."
Google thinks the Plus delivers what you need because the required processors can handle baked-in AI tuned to cancel noise and blur backgrounds during vidchats – or even use the "Magic Eraser" the ads and search giant employs on its Pixel phones to removed unwanted elements of photographs.
Chromebooks have also gained a File Sync feature that store Google Drive files locally, for offline access. The 128GB storage minimum comes in handy for that chore.
Google's post teases further additions to ChromeOS, among them generative AI to create text and images.
Acer, Asus, and Lenovo have all revealed Chromebook Plus models, with the last applying it to the IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook Plus – a machine that boasts a ten-core, 4.4GHz Core i5-1235U, a 2560×1600 display with 120MHz refresh rate, and up to 512GB of local storage. Currently sold only in Europe, the machine is priced at €599 ($625).
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HP has also signed up to make the Chromebook Plus – and to build unspecified Chromebook models in India.
"We're partnering with HP to manufacture Chromebooks in India," Google CEO Sundar Pichai posted to X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, on Monday. "These are the first Chromebooks to be made in India and will make it easier for Indian students to have access to affordable and secure computing," he added.
Chromebook Plus models start at $399 in the US. That's a hefty wad of cash for many Indian students and families. But lower-priced Chromebook machines aren't hard to find – The Register quickly found second-hand Chromebooks sold in India for around $60.
The Register will attempt to get our claws on a Chromebook Plus for our Desktop Tourism series. ®