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Intel CPU Shortages to Worsen Thru Q2-2019

Supplies of Intel processors will worsen in the second quarter of 2019 according to Taiwan-based industry observer DigiTimes. In a research-based report covering not just the DIY channel, but also the OEM channel focusing on notebook manufacturer, DigiTimes notes that heading into Q2, growth in demand for entry-level portables such as Chromebooks based on entry-level Intel processors, and mainstream notebooks powered by Core i3 processors, which make up the largest demographic of PC consumers in the market.

A pertinent concept to this report is supply-gap, the percentage difference between demand and supply. A positive supply-gap indicates demand exceeding supply and shortages. Leading notebook vendors HP, Dell, and Lenovo, reported supply-gaps of 5% going into Q3-2018, which severely impacted their bottom-lines. The companies waded through Q4 with 4-5%. DigiTimes reports that even Apple wasn't spared from shortages in "Amber Lake" processors. "In the first quarter of 2019, the Core i5 processors featuring Coffee Lake architecture are now having the worst supply shortfall. Some of the demand for Intel's entry-level Atom processors has turned to AMD, while some others have opted for Core i3 processors," the report reads. AMD's market-share among OEMs increased from 9.8% in Q1-2018 to 15.8% in Q1-2019.

AMD Showcases Ryzen and Radeon Powered Laptops at CES 2019

While AMD has enjoyed tremendous success in regards to their Ryzen, Threadripper, and EPYC processors penetration into the mobile market has been a bit slow. However, judging by the number of systems on display at CES 2019 that is about to change. Models from Honor, Acer, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, ASUS, and HP. The one that immediately caught our eye was the Acer Nitro 5 which packs an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U CPU and an AMD Radeon RX 560X GPU. It also comes configured with 8 GB of memory, 256 GB SSD, IPS display and a backlit keyboard. Overall it looks to be a reliable entry level gaming system.

Next up was Dell's two offerings which were the Inspiron 5000 15 and 5000 14 2-in-1. The Inspiron 5000 15 was equipped with a 4c/8t Ryzen 5 3500U with Radeon Vega 8 graphics (512 shaders). It was also fully kitted out with 32 GB of DDR4 memory, 512 GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD making it an excellent option for productivity and heavy multitasking. Meanwhile, the 2-in-1 was equipped with a Ryzen 7 3700U which is a 4c/8t processor with Vega 10 graphics (640 shaders). It also came loaded with 16 GB of DDR4, 2 TB HDD and a 256 GB SSD giving it plenty of memory and storage space considering its more compact size.

Announcing the ASUS Chromebook Education Series

Today marks the debut of the ASUS Chromebook Education series that provides lightweight, ruggedized Chrome OS computer solutions for educational use, and continues the ASUS commitment of providing an extensive range of innovative products and services for the education sector.

The series includes two traditional clamshell laptops - the 11.6-inch ASUS Chromebook C204 and the 14-inch ASUS Chromebook C403 - and the 14-inch ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 convertible. There's also a brand-new form factor introduced, with the ASUS Chromebook Tablet CT100, a stunning 9.7-inch QXGA wide-angle touch-display tablet. The new series features durability, spill- and tamper-resistant keyboards and all-around rubber bumpers to withstand the rigors that electronics often face in schools. This lineup provides educators and parents with a full-range of lightweight, ruggedized options that can cater to their specific curriculum choices and unleash the creativity and productivity of their students. The new ASUS Chromebook Education series will be available in the coming months with configurations, pricing, and availability to be announced at launch.

Chromebooks to Get Windows Dual-Boot Capability with Campfire

Bootcamp was an instant hit with MacBook users, as it allowed them to dual-boot between MacOS and Windows, giving them access to applications that don't have MacOS versions. Google's Chromebook is a similar walled-garden to Apple Mac, with the company maintaining tight control over the hardware and OS. A new software modeled along Bootcamp, cheekily named Campfire, could introduce dual-booting on Chromebooks, allowing you to switch between ChromeOS and Windows 10.

Campfire first surfaced on the Chromium Git as a mysterious new project pointing to an "alt OS mode" for ChromeOS. XDA Developers confirms that Campfire will be introduced by Google for its entire userbase, and not just something that you optionally install. You also don't need to enable Developer Mode to use it. For now, a wide range of Chromebooks appear to be Campfire-ready. Google will focus on making it as easy as possible to install Windows 10. Although not limited by other hardware specs, Campfire could eat up at least 30 GB of storage to meet Windows 10 requirements and leave a reasonable amount of user-space. You should only try it out on Chromebooks with 60 GB (or higher) storage.

Belkin Introduces USB-C Keyboard For Chrome OS

Belkin Education, a division of Belkin International, the market leader in mobile accessories, today announced two versions of its Chrome OSTM -compatible keyboard which connects to an individual Chromebook Tab via a secure wired connection and requires no batteries or charging. Belkin will be showcasing the Wired Tablet Keyboard for Chrome OS (USB-C Connector) and the Wired Tablet Keyboard with Stand for Chrome OSTM (USB-C Connector) along with its newest enterprise solution, the Multiport to HDMI Digital AV Adapter, at ISTE 2018, Booth #856.

"Belkin Education is dedicated to developing the best solutions for digital learning environments through hands-on research and spending time in classrooms," said Jon Roepke, director of product management at Belkin Education. "From our many discussions with educators, we identified a need for a reliable solution for Chromebook Tab users as integration of Chrome OSTM tablets in the learning environment increases. These new keyboards will help bridge the gap between education technology and actual implementation in the modern classroom."

CTL Releases New Extra-Rugged NL7X Chromebook

CTL, an Oregon-based ed-tech company specializing in comprehensive personalized learning solutions, announced from ISTE 2018, the CTL Chromebook NL7X, the newest addition to their line of ruggedized Chromebooks for education. The NL7X is the updated version of their most popular to date Chromebook the NL6X.

The CTL Chromebook NL7X is an extra rugged Chromebook featuring the patent pending CTL X-Panel. With reinforced corners and pressure-resistant cover the X-Panel withstands up to 365 pounds of pressure to the top shell and has already proved its durability on the NL6X, making the NL7X CTL's next best-selling Chromebook for education. On top of protecting the Chromebook the X-Panel also doubles as a whiteboard - perfect for taking notes or class polling. The NL7X also comes free with 1 year of accidental damage protection.

Samsung Launches the Chromebook Plus (V2)

Samsung Electronics America, Inc., announced the Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2), a 2-in-1 convertible designed to help people get the most out of Chrome OS wherever life and work take them. Available at Best Buy starting June 24, the Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2) is equipped with a built-in pen and offers a light, thin and stylish design that delivers versatility, portability and a premium experience at a competitive price point.

"Today's consumers want to be able to maximize their communication while also expressing their creativity wherever they are, and the new Samsung Chromebook Plus fulfills that need, " said Alanna Cotton, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Samsung Electronics America. "For those who choose Chrome OS, we wanted to give them a lot of reasons to choose the new Samsung Chromebook Plus, as it is designed especially for people who never stop moving, to match their pace and magnify their creativity."

Google Might Be Preparing a Kaby Lake G-Powered Chromebook

Chromebooks are all the rage right now. As a matter of fact, Acer recently released the first convertible Chromebook and a couple of other premium models aimed at business users. Google isn't staying behind either. A device under the codename "Kidd" was recently discovered in a Chromium OS code commit. Kidd is allegedly supposed to be a Chromebook, and the first to come with a quad-core Kaby Lake G processor with AMD Radeon Vega graphics inside. The Kaby Lake G family is comprised of the Intel Core i5-8305G, i7-8705G, i7-8706G, i7-8709G, and i7-8809G. That's a total of five processors for Google to choose from. But, at the moment, it's unclear whether Kidd will employ a 65 watt model or opt for a more powerful 100 watt variant.

The latest Chrome OS update brought support for Linux applications. Therefore, users can now install Steam on their Chromebooks. While GPU acceleration isn't quite there yet, it's on the roadmap. Support for GPU acceleration should arrive later this year. Once that happens, users will finally be able to game on the Chrome OS. So, expect to see a lot more Chromebooks with Raven Ridge and Kaby Lake G processors very soon.

Acer Launches Two Premium 13-inch Chromebooks Designed for Business Use

Acer today introduced two new premium Chromebooks designed for business use - the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 and the Acer Chromebook 13. Both models feature a stylish and durable all-aluminum design and a full HD+ 13.5-inch display in a 3:2 aspect ratio. The new Acer Chromebooks are powered by 8th Gen Intel Core processors providing exceptional performance and battery life for productivity on the go.

The convertible Chromebook Spin 13 (CP713-1WN) has 360-degree hinges for use as a tablet, notebook, display, or in tent-mode. It comes with a Wacom stylus (for pen input) that can be conveniently stored in the device slot. The Acer Chromebook 13 (CB713-1W) opts for the traditional notebook design for keyboard-heavy tasks.

Acer Debuts First 15-inch Convertible Chromebook

Acer today introduced the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 (CP315-1H), the industry's first convertible Chromebook with a 15.6-inch display. The large touchscreen display pairs with the convertible 360-degree design to deliver a powerful and portable Chromebook with first-rate entertainment and productivity capabilities. In addition, Acer is launching a new Chromebook 15 (CB315-1H/1HT) line that pairs a large 15-inch display and long 14-hour battery life at a budget-friendly price.

"Acer has led the Chromebook market with a wide range of form factors, sizes and designs to meet the needs of our customers, and we're expanding our line with new exciting 15-inch models today," said James Lin, General Manager, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business at Acer. "Acer's new Chromebooks with large 15-inch Full HD displays are ideal for collaborating on projects for work and school, enjoying streaming media and running the latest apps. Plus, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is the company's first to combine a large 15.6-inch display with a convertible design, so customers can use the device in different modes."

HP Introduces the World's First Chromebook Detachable

HP, Inc. today unveiled the world's first Chromebook detachable packing all the productivity benefits of Chrome OS and popularity of Android into a sleek, versatile, powerful, and secure device. Chromebooks are one of the fastest-growing segments of the PC category, growing more than 50% over the past two years. HP is focused on delivering and evolving its Chromebook portfolio to meet this growing demand to have access to the Google ecosystem on exciting, flexible form factors.

"The HP Chromebook x2 hits a trifecta for customers, combining the productivity of the Chrome OS and power of the world's most-used app platform into a versatile form factor ideal for experiencing all the Google ecosystem has to offer," said Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, consumer personal systems, HP Inc. "As the world's first Chromebook detachable, it will unlock new ways for people to create, collaborate and consume within Chrome and the Google Play Store."

Acer Unveils the Chromebook Tab 10

Acer today unveiled the first education tablet running Chrome OS, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 (D651N). The new Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is designed for Acer's education customers and will be used in K-12 classrooms to expand and enhance student learning by bringing the speed, simplicity and security of Chrome OS into the tablet form factor.

"The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 combines advances in hardware and application support to enable more meaningful learning for an even wider range of K-12 students," said James Lin, General Manager, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business at Acer. "The new Acer Chromebook Tab 10 encourages students to discover new ways of understanding the world around them."

Lenovo Reveals Trio of Ruggedized Chromebooks with Touch and Pen Support

Lenovo has revealed their ruggedized 100e, 300e, and 500e Chromebooks at MWC 2018. These new Chromebooks are built to withstand life's rigors. They feature rubber bumpers that are capable of handling everyday bumps and drops up to 75cm, reinforced ports and hinges and a water-resistant keyboard. Being the entry model, the Lenovo 100e possesses a more conventional laptop design, while the higher-end Lenovo 300e and 500e models come with the iconic 360-degree Yoga hinge which allows users to switch between laptop and tablet mode on the fly. However, the Touch and Pen feature is what really separates the 100e, 300e, and 500e from rival offerings on the market. For example, users can interact with the touch screen on the Lenovo 300e using everyday household objects like pencils, pens, or even paperclips. The Lenovo 500e, on the other hand, comes with an EMR stylus that takes advantage of Google's machine learning algorithm to predict the user's pen stroke to create a lag-less pen experience.

Both the Lenovo 300e and 500e Chromebook are available now on Lenovo.com for $279 and $349, respectively. The Lenovo 100e Chromebook will be available in March 2018 and will carry a $219 price tag. Consumers can purchase all three models shortly through the Lenovo's partners in major countries including the U.S., Germany, Italy, U.K, Spain, Brazil, and Australia.

CTL Announces Their Upcoming Rugged Chromebook J41

CTL, an Oregon-based company specializing in comprehensive 1:1 solutions for education, announced today the upcoming release of the CTL Chromebook J41 for Education, the newest addition to their lineup of rugged designed CTL Chromebooks tailor-made for student use.

At a glance, the new CTL Chromebook J41 features a soft-touch, anti-slip rubberized texture. The drop-resistant slim profile design creates a lightweight body weighing in at only 2.45 lbs, making it a great option for the K-12 classroom environment. A water-resistant keyboard further protects the CTL Chromebook J41 by allowing spills to be channeled out and away from internal hardware. The 11.6" matte HD Panel screen is anti-glare ensuring ease of viewing and eye strain as well as being finger-resistant. The CTL Chromebook J41 also comes with the option to be upgraded to an optional 10 point capacitive touchscreen. Sturdy 180 degree hinges help to increase durability as the unit will lay-flat when opened completely. In addition, the unit contains two USB Type-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one Micro SD port, and a combo audio jack with an HD Web Camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Acer Chromebook 11 Built for Content Consumption, Productivity, and Fun

Acer today introduced its new Chromebook 11 line that offers strong everyday performance and a portable design with all-day battery life of up to 10 hours. The new Acer Chromebook 11 (CB311-8HT / CB311-8H) offers an 11.6-inch display in a portable and fanless design, so it's great for consumers and families who will move the device around or use in shared spaces. Plus, connecting peripherals, charging phones and other devices, and even sharing content on a large display can be done thanks to the Acer Chromebook 11's two USB 3.1 Type C ports.

"The new Acer Chromebook 11 continues Acer's tradition of delivering strong performance with all the benefits of Chrome OS at an excellent value," said James Lin, General Manager, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. "Chromebooks are widely known as a fast, easy and secure way to work and play both online and offline. Customers can play games, stay productive, enjoy content and do even more with the new Acer Chromebook 11 thanks to its support of Google Play."

Microsoft Office Makes it to Chromebooks, Still Eludes Other Linux Distros

Microsoft released one of its key software products, Microsoft Office, to all Chromebooks. Office for Android is now available on all Google Play-enabled Chromebooks. Chrome OS is derived from Android, which itself is a Linux-based operating system. Like the rest of the Android software ecosystem, Office for Android eludes other desktop Linux distributions, due to lack of the required APIs and other quasi-proprietary dependencies exclusively found on Android and Chrome OS.

Microsoft Office is one of the "killer apps" that keep Windows popular. It's been available on the Apple Mac platform for over a decade, and made its long march to the Android platform with the decline of Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform. It should finally make premium chromebooks, such as the Google Pixelbook (pictured below), worth the buy to business professionals on the move.

DisplayLink Announces Native Support in Google Chrome OS

DisplayLink, the leading provider of USB graphics technology, today announced its docking stations and adapters work with Chrome OS Release 51 onwards. A demonstration of the native plug-and-display capability will be shown at Interop 2016, Las Vegas showcasing the latest Chromebooks from industry leaders such as Dell and HP. For a demo, visit the DisplayLink booth at Interop Las Vegas Expo, between May 4th and May 5th.

"DisplayLink is truly excited to announce native OS support in Google's Chrome OS from today onwards," said John Cummins, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing. "No driver is required, just plug in any DisplayLink device and it just works. As Chromebooks have expanded across education and corporate markets, we've experienced strong demand to enable Chromebooks with the DisplayLink installed base of millions of devices. A Chromebook and DisplayLink multi-head docking station enables multiple monitors for a true productivity desktop experience. We are proud to have worked closely with Google to deliver this new functionality to customers worldwide."

HP Unveils the Chomebook 13

HP Inc. today announced the HP Chomebook 13 , an ultra-thin Chromebook for home and office use. The device reinvents the Chromebook experience to deliver:
  • A modern, all-metal design measuring only 12.9 mm thin
  • The first docking solution for a Chromebook , enabled through HP's USB-C Docking Station to deliver dual high-definition displays, full-size keyboards, wired networks and charging
  • First Chromebook to use 6th generation Intel Core M processors
  • Category-leading sound and video capabilities, custom-tuned in collaboration with audio experts from B&O PLAY, and a 13.3 inch diagonal QHD+ (3200 x 1800) resolution IPS display for optimal collaboration using apps like Google Hangouts

Acer Readies Skylake-Powered Chromebook 14 for Work

Acer today debuts its new Chromebook 14 for Work, the industry's first Chromebook with 6th Generation Intel Core processors, available with a durable design to meet the demanding needs of enterprise, government, small business and institutional users. The Acer Chromebook 14 for Work is powered by a 6th Generation Intel Core processor to provide exceptional performance and long battery life of up to 12 hours.

It is also the world's first notebook to feature Vibrant Corning Gorilla Glass, providing corporate customers with the flexibility to design the top cover with photorealistic images that are highly durable and scratch-resistant.

CTL Announces Rugged, Flip Convertible Chromebook

CTL has announced the new CTL J5 Rugged Convertible Chromebook today. This Chromebook is ideal for schools or mobile professionals who want the versatility of a Chromebook and tablet in one. With a 360-degree hinge, users can choose to type on the keyboard in laptop mode or fold the keyboard under and angle screen back for presentations. By rotating the screen all the way around, this Chromebook can be converted into a tablet (optional stylus available).

The CTL J5 Rugged Convertible Chromebook is durable enough for the rigors of student use and includes a splash-proof keyboard and drop-resistant design. "CTL is excited to introduce this new rugged, convertible Chromebook," said CTL President, Erik Stromquist. "This is a great choice for those who want a Chromebook with tablet capabilities."

HP Unveils New Chromebook Designed for Education

HP Inc. today announced the HP Chromebook 11 G4 Education Edition (EE) -- a durable, lightweight Chromebook designed to meet the needs of students and educators. "The popularity of Chromebooks in the classroom offers a simple, secure, and manageable solution to enable technology-based learning," said Gus Schmedlen, vice president of Worldwide Education, HP. "With the HP Chromebook 11 G4 Education Edition (EE), we are bringing innovation, design and HP's legendary quality to students and teachers in a durable device built to survive the rigorous school environment while enabling students to achieve more both in and out of the classroom."

Because students can be some of the most demanding users when it comes to technology, HP designed the HP Chromebook 11 G4 EE with their environment in mind. At 20 mm thin and just 2.7 pounds, the fanless HP Chromebook 11 G4 EE is the thinnest rugged Chromebook for Education designed to pass MIL-STD testing. With rugged construction accents like co-molded rubber edges, the device passes HP's 70 cm drop test to help protect it from occasional bumps with lockers and drops from desks.

Toshiba Updates its Chromebook 2

Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today announced the successor to its award-winning Chromebook 2. Now available with a 5th Gen Intel Core i3 or Celeron processor and up to 4GB of RAM, these two new models deliver better performance for loading content-rich webpages quickly, providing brilliant video playback and effortless multitasking. Both models come with an all-new LED backlit keyboard for a more seamless experience when web browsing, watching movies, listening to music and getting work done, even in low light environments.

"As more people use Chromebooks for productivity and rely more often on the web for content creation and entertainment, devices need to be better equipped for these higher processing demands and built with hardware features that optimize Chrome OS," said Philip Osako, senior director of product marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "With the launch of our latest Chromebook 2 models, Toshiba delivers brilliant performance for an outstanding experience on and off the web with entertainment-inspired hardware features that make the most of Chrome OS and enable customers to get things done faster wherever their Chromebook 2 takes them."

Conexant Launches Next-Generation HD Audio CODEC

Conexant Systems, Inc. introduced an ultra-low power, high-performance HD Audio CODEC: the CX8200. Targeted to mobile PC applications including notebooks, ultrabooks and tablets, the new CX8200 intelligently drives speakers to optimize sound pressure level (SPL) while providing best-in-class speaker protection and eliminating background noise. Part of the AudioSmart 2.0 product family, the CX8200 features a fully integrated Class-D smart amplifier and interfaces directly with Conexant's innovative software to deliver flawless speech recognition and audio output that is up to several times louder using existing PC/tablet speakers.

Voice and speech communications play a critical role in people's personal and professional lives; however, the background noises and echoes that occur during Skype or Lync calls can effectively shut down communication and ruin collaboration. Conexant's AudioSmart 2.0 solutions improve the audio experience in noisy, real-world conditions and allow for a more natural collaboration experience with crystal clear playback and no background noise. The CX8200 allows users to hear what others are saying, speak naturally, listen to multimedia content at higher volume levels, make use of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) for dictation and virtual assistant applications (such as Cortana), and much more.

Patriot Develops Type-C USB Flash Drive for New MacBook Users

Patriot, a leading manufacturer of mobile accessories, computer and USB memory, announces the development of a Type-C USB Flash Drive for the new MacBook, Google Chromebook Pixel and other Type-C equipped notebooks and systems available on the market. With the recent release of the latest MacBook, which has been upgraded with the new Type-C port, consumers will now be able to use the Type-C USB Flash Drive to transfer data from any other form factor using a single robust and small solution.

Outfitted with a polished metal exterior, the dual-sided Type-C / Type A USB Flash Drive will feature both a small Type-C at one end and a standard USB 3.0 connector at the other end allowing seamless data transfer from traditional devices to the new Type C based device. Patriot solves the problem of compatibility, providing a solution that is compatible with all devices.

Lenovo Launches ThinkCentre Chromebox

Lenovo today, announced at its Accelerate 2015 Partner Forum in Las Vegas, the newest addition to the ThinkCentre Tiny business desktop family: the ThinkCentre Chromebox. Purposefully-designed for education and small business users looking to leverage the benefits of a cloud-based solution. This space-saving, one litre desktop is versatile, easy to manage and has a full ecosystem of optional accessories while Google's Chrome operating system offers a wide range of easy to use applications to learn, share, and collaborate in a highly secure environment. Furthermore, the new ThinkCentre is the first and only Chromebox on the market that can combine with the ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One to instantly offer a 23-inch all-in-one experience.

ThinkCentre Chromebox helps education institutions and small businesses who want to deploy secure and easy to manage technology within manageable budgets. The simplicity and flexibility of Chrome OS devices offer a fast and easy way to manage computing and provide access to the web's vast education and collaboration resources. Teachers and IT Managers can also take advantage of centralized device management providing asset tracking, easy deployment of new applications, system updates or enabling safe-browsing policies for users through a simple management console.
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