Google unveils $279 Chrome laptop made by HP

NEW YORK — Google is introducing a $279 laptop that runs its Internet-centric Chrome operating system, borrowing many of the high-end features found in models that cost $1,000 or more.

Hewlett-Packard Co. makes the new HP Chromebook 11. Although its price is in line with most other Chrome OS notebooks, the new model sports many design features found in pricier devices, including the $1,299 Chromebook Pixel.

Unlike Windows and Mac laptops, Chromebooks rely heavily on continuous Internet connections to run Gmail, Google Docs and other online services. Many apps don’t run directly on the device but over the Internet. The devices also have relatively little storage, as documents, photos and other files are supposed to be stored online.

Google promotes Chromebooks as affordable laptops for a wide range of people, including schoolchildren and merchants who can use Google’s tools on the Internet without the extra expense and hassle of installing more sophisticated software such as Adobe’s Photoshop photo-editing software or Microsoft’s Office word processing and spreadsheet package. Chromebooks come with a lightweight photo editing package and Quickoffice, a Microsoft Office alternative that Google bought in last year.

The Chromebook 11 has a sleek, plastic frame with no sharp edges or corners —or even screw holes. The speakers are tucked under the keyboard so sound comes out toward the user, even when the laptop is on the user’s lap. Devices with speakers on the back or the bottom don’t do that.

The new laptop’s display measures 11.6 inches diagonally, the same as a popular Chromebook model from Samsung Electronics Co. The Chromebook 11 weighs slightly less, at 2.3 pounds, compared with 2.4 pounds for the Samsung model.

Caesar Sengupta, Google’s vice president of product management for Chromebooks, said HP approached Google after seeing the Pixel, which Google designed and made on its own using an unnamed contract manufacturer.

He said Google and HP made a few trade-offs to keep the price low. The Chromebook 11 doesn’t have a touch screen, and the display’s resolution isn’t as sharp as the Pixel’s. The Chromebook 11 also uses a plastic frame rather than metal, but there’s magnesium underneath to keep the laptop sturdy. There’s less storage, too — 16 gigabytes, compared with 32 gigabytes for the base model of the Pixel.

In recognition of the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers, the Chromebook 11 uses the same Micro-USB charger common in those mobile devices. Other laptops typically come with their own charger, which Sengupta described as yet another item that needs to be packed for weekend trips.

The Chromebook 11 is available starting Tuesday at Google’s online Play store and selected retailers, including Best Buy and Amazon. The laptop comes in white or black. The white model has a choice of four accents around the keyboard and under the device: blue, red, yellow and green.

More in Herald Business Journal

Sign of the future: Snohomish business aims to reshape industry

Manifest Signs owner thinks that smart signs is an unexplored and untapped part of his industry.

Snohomish County’s campaign to land the 797 takes off

Executive Dave Somers announced the formation of a task force to urge Boeing to build the plane here.

Boeing says Bombardier dumping puts 737 planes in jeopardy

“If you don’t level the playing field now, it will be too late.”

A decade after the recession, pain and fear linger

No matter how good things are now, it’s impossible to forget how the collapse affected people.

Panel: Motorcycle industry in deep trouble and needs help

They have failed to increase sales by making new riders out of women, minorities and millennials.

Costco rises as results display big-box retailer’s resiliency

Their model has worked in the face of heightened competition from online, brick-and-mortar peers.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Tax reform needs the public’s input on spending priorities

The GOP tax plan is a good idea, but the next step should give us a voice on how taxes are spent.

Commentary: GM, Boeing fight a war of words over Mars

Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future.