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Acer Releases Pair of New 11-inch Chromebooks for Education

Acer today announced a pair of new 11-inch Chromebooks for the education market with well-rounded features intended to make it as easy as possible for a school to go digital: military durability standards let parents trust that the devices are reliable, Zero-touch enrollment makes it easy for IT to roll them out, and students will enjoy the intuitive responsiveness of Chrome OS.

The Acer Chromebook 511 (C741L) is an 11.6-inch notebook computer that simplifies the process of establishing a digital learning environment, with a number of features that will benefit both the students using the devices and the school administrators rolling them out. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c compute platform allows for up to 20 hours of battery life between charges on top of offering an efficient performance to keep up with students' learning needs. Utilizing Snapdragon 7c, the Acer Chromebook 511 also delivers built-in 4G LTE connectivity to help protect the security of users' data and to provide fast, reliable access to learning apps in the cloud -- enabling students to take the classroom with them and learn from virtually anywhere. Weighing in at just 1.3 kg (2.87 lbs), this thin and light device is portable enough for students of all ages to easily transport between classes.

HP Powers Digital Classroom Experiences with New Chromebooks

HP Inc. announced five new Chromebooks to help teachers and students stay connected, productive, focused, and secure whether at home, in the classroom, or a blend of both. The PC has never been more essential in education. There has been a 46% increase in device shipments for teachers and students over the past year and 66% of teachers expect blended learning to continue after the pandemic. With nearly 70% of teachers and students feeling less connected to each other during the pandemic,4 HP's technology solutions foster collaboration and community during this time of unprecedented change, ensuring teachers can find new ways to connect with students, and students can be seen and heard regardless of their location.

"HP is committed to enabling better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025. With education no longer confined to the four walls of the classroom, HP is creating technology that helps teachers, students, as well as parents, thrive in blended learning environments," said Bill Avey, General Manager and Global Head of Education, Personal Systems, HP Inc. "HP's innovative Chromebook lineup gives educators and students access to flexible, engaging, and personalized devices that are critical to ensuring a quality education."

Premium Comes Standard with Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 - World's First QLED Chromebook

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today introduced Galaxy Chromebook 2, the newest member of the Galaxy Computing family. Since 2011, Samsung has been a leader in the Chromebook market, finding new ways to elevate the Chrome OS experience—and the ultra-premium Galaxy Chromebook represented a path-breaking leap forward. The 2-in-1 Galaxy Chromebook 2 builds on that legacy, offering the leading features from its predecessor at a more accessible price. Boasting the first-ever QLED display on a Chromebook, reliable hardware, and seamless integration into the Galaxy and Google ecosystems, Galaxy Chromebook 2 represents yet another high-performance option for users who love the flexibility of Chrome OS.

"Many kids grew up using Chromebooks in school, and as they enter the workforce, their needs evolve, they're looking for premium, powerful hardware that can elevate that intuitive Google experience," said Shoneel Kolhatkar, General Manager, Head of New Computing, Samsung Electronics America. "We designed the Galaxy Chromebook 2 with these users in mind, taking the popular features from Galaxy Chromebook—incredible visuals, great specs, and gorgeous design and color—and bringing them to a wider base of customers."

Acer Announces Chromebook Spin 514 with AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors

Acer today unveiled its first Chromebook with new AMD Ryzen 3000 C-Series Mobile Processors and AMD Radeon graphics—the new Acer Chromebook Spin 514. This power combined with a durable, stylish design and long battery life make the Chromebook more than capable of handling all the applications consumers need as they work and learn from home. Also, Acer will offer the Acer Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514 which comes with the latest AMD Ryzen 3000 C-Series Mobile Processor and the business capabilities of Chrome OS unlocked to support business customers.

"The pairing of AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with a durable design makes the new Acer Chromebook Spin 514 an excellent choice for users that need to get work done at home," said James Lin, General Manager, Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. "Users will be blown away by the new level of responsiveness and performance provided by the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 with AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors. Plus, the Ryzen 7 3700C Processor offers the best graphics available in an AMD-powered Chromebook, so our customers can take advantage of the growing range of apps and extensions to tackle even more challenging projects."

Prices of NAND Flash Controller ICs Poised to Rise by 15-20% due to Tightening Production Capacity for Foundry Services, Says TrendForce

In the upstream semiconductor industry, the major foundries such as TSMC and UMC are reporting fully loaded capacities, while in the downstream, the available production capacity for OSAT is also lacking, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Given this situation, suppliers of NAND Flash controller ICs such as Phison and Silicon Motion are now unable to meet upside demand from their clients. Not only have many controller IC suppliers temporarily stopped offering quotes for new orders, but they are also even considering raising prices soon because the negotiations between NAND Flash suppliers and module houses over 1Q21 contracts are now at the critical juncture. The potential increases in prices of controller ICs from outsourced suppliers (IC design houses) are currently estimated to be the range of 15-20%.

With regards to the demand side, demand has risen significantly for eMMC solutions with medium- and low-density specifications (i.e., 64 GB and lower), for which NAND Flash suppliers have mostly stopped updating the NAND Flash process technology, while maintaining support with the legacy 2D NAND or the 64L 3D NAND process. This is on account of strong sales for Chromebook devices and TVs. As older processes gradually account for a lowering portion of bit output proportions from NAND Flash suppliers, these companies are exhibiting a lowered willingness to directly supply such eMMC products to clients. As a result, clients now need to turn to memory module houses, which are able to source NAND Flash components and controllers, to procure eMMC products in substantial quantities.

Oversupply to Continue Affecting NAND Flash Prices, with 10-15% QoQ Decline Expected in 1Q21, Says TrendForce

The percentage distribution of 2021 NAND Flash bit demand by application currently shows that client SSD accounts for 31%, enterprise SSD 20%, eMMC/UFS 41%, and NAND wafer 8%, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. TrendForce expects NAND Flash ASP to undergo QoQ declines throughout 2021, since the number of NAND suppliers far exceeds DRAM suppliers, and the bit supply remains high. As Samsung, YMTC, SK Hynix, and Intel actively expand their NAND Flash bit output in 1Q21, the oversupply situation in the industry will become more severe, with a forecasted 6% QoQ increase in NAND Flash bit output and a 10-15% QoQ decline in NAND Flash ASP in 1Q21.

NAND Flash Revenue for 3Q20 up by Only 0.3% QoQ Owing to Weak Server Sales, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion in 3Q20, a 0.3% increase QoQ, while total NAND Flash bit shipment rose by 9% QoQ, but the ASP fell by 9% QoQ, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The market situation in 3Q20 can be attributed to the rising demand from the consumer electronics end as well as the recovering smartphone demand before the year-end peak sales season. Notably, in the PC market, the rise of distance education contributed to the growing number and scale of Chromebook tenders, but the increase in the demand for Chromebook devices has not led to a significant increase in NAND Flash consumption because storage capacity is rather limited for this kind of notebook computer. Moreover, clients in the server and data center segments had aggressively stocked up on components and server barebones during 2Q20 due to worries about the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain. Hence, their inventories reached a fairly high level by 3Q20. Clients are now under pressure to control and reduce their inventories during this second half of the year. With them scaling back procurement, the overall NAND Flash demand has also weakened, leading to a downward turn in the contract prices of most NAND Flash products.

AMD Ryzen 3000C-series Processors Based on Existing "Zen+" IP, Heavy TDP Optimization

AMD earlier today announced its Ryzen 3000C-series processors targeted at Chromebooks, a segment where the company feels it can bring more to the table than Intel's entry-level Celeron, Pentium Silver, and Pentium Gold mobile processors. Responding to a questionnaire by TechPowerUp, AMD revealed a handful details about these processors. The Ryzen 3000C-series processors are based on the 12 nm "Picasso" silicon, while the Athlon Gold and Athlon Silver parts are based on 14 nm. The "Picasso" based parts combine up to 4 "Zen+" CPU cores, with an iGPU based on the "Vega" graphics architecture, with up to 10 NGCUs. AMD has optimized all SKUs for a 15 W TDP target.

Responding to a question on storage specification or possible collaboration with MediaTek on WLAN controllers, AMD responded that it wishes a diverse hardware ecosystem for its OEM partners, without getting into specifics. There was no denial on the MediaTek bit. The Ryzen 7 3700C practically maxes out the "Picasso" silicon within the 15 W TDP envelope, which got us wondering if AMD has its eyes on the premium Chromebook segment, possibly even Google's first-party Chromebook Pixel brand. To this company responded that while the 3700C has a solid feature-set for premium Chromebooks, there are no first-party Pixel products on the anvil. AMD has just entered the market, and possibly wants to make a dent on the bulk of the Chromebook market first.

NAND Flash Revenue Rises 6.5% QoQ in 2Q20 Due to Pandemic-Induced Demand Growth for Cloud Services, Says TrendForce

The NAND Flash industry benefitted from strong demand for PCs and servers in 2Q20 as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a demand surge for cloud services and technologies that are related to working from home, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. This, in turn, kept demand high for SSDs. However, the smartphone and consumer electronics markets had not recovered from the impact of the pandemic. The demand for these products therefore declined compared to the previous quarter. In 2Q20, total NAND Flash bit shipment and ASP both experienced a minor increase of about 3% QoQ, while NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion, a 6.5% increase QoQ.

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for Second Quarter Fiscal 2021

NVIDIA today reported record revenue for the second quarter ended July 26, 2020, of $3.87 billion, up 50 percent from $2.58 billion a year earlier, and up 26 percent from $3.08 billion in the previous quarter.

GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $0.99, up 10 percent from $0.90 a year ago, and down 33 percent from $1.47 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $2.18, up 76 percent from $1.24 a year earlier, and up 21 percent from $1.80 in the previous quarter. NVIDIA closed its acquisition of Mellanox Technologies Ltd. on April 27, 2020. "Adoption of NVIDIA computing is accelerating, driving record revenue and exceptional growth," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "Growth in GeForce gaming accelerated as gamers increasingly immerse themselves in realistic virtual worlds created by NVIDIA RTX ray tracing and AI.

Dell Announces Latitude Chromebook Enterprise

Chrome OS has accelerated its expansion within businesses amid the shift to work from anywhere. The new Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise, a 14-inch premium business laptop or 2-in-1 from Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL), boosts productivity with on-the-go power, sophisticated security and fast connectivity features employees need. With the Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise, Dell expands its Latitude Chromebook lineup - now offering a mainstream and premium option - to give companies more choice in devices without sacrificing enterprise-class scale, manageability and security. With EPEAT Gold registration, the Latitude Chromebook Enterprise joins the industry's most sustainable commercial PC portfolio with recycled materials, sustainable packaging, energy efficient designs and EPEAT Gold registrations.

"This is not just another Chromebook," said Rahul Tikoo, senior vice president, Commercial Product Group, Dell Technologies. "Our latest Latitude Chromebook Enterprise is designed equal parts for employees and IT managers adopting Chrome OS in the enterprise. Employees will appreciate its sleek design and collaboration features that help them navigate new work dynamics, while IT managers have the management and security features they expect when deploying devices in a corporate environment."

Gartner: Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 2.8% in Second Quarter of 2020

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.8 million units in the second quarter of 2020, a 2.8% increase from the second quarter of 2019, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. After a significant decline in the first quarter of the year due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, the PC market returned to growth as vendors restocked their channels and mobile PC demand increased.

"The second quarter of 2020 represented a short-term recovery for the worldwide PC market, led by exceptionally strong growth in EMEA," said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. "After the PC supply chain was severely disrupted in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the growth this quarter was due to distributors and retail channels restocking their supplies back to near-normal levels.

Mozilla Starts Offering VPN Service called Firefox Private Network

Mozilla, the maker of popular web-browser Firefox, has announced that it is now offering virtual private network (VPN) services. Available for right now as a beta product, the company is promising that it will soon release the software as a fully-fledged application. Firefox Private Network's Mozilla VPN is designed to help users gain more control and safety over their internet traffic while offering protection for a whole device. if you wish to try it out, you would need to join a waitlist. There you can get the VPN app while it is still in beta for iOS, Android, Windows, and Chromebook devices. Support for macOS and Linux is coming soon. The service costs $4.99 a month, while if you own a Firefox browser, you can get it free of charge as an extension.

Parallels Brings Fully Featured Windows Applications to Google Enterprise Chromebooks

Parallels and Google have partnered to bring enterprises and cloud workers full-featured Windows applications to Chrome Enterprise this fall. Remote work is a new reality, making efficiency, connectivity, speed, reliability, security and undisrupted access essential elements of a successful organization. At this key moment, our two organizations have formed a landmark partnership to equip enterprises with solutions that optimize their businesses and teams to meet the evolving challenges of modern work environments.

Parallels brings more than a decade of cross-platform solutions experience, seamlessly integrating operating systems and features, to its partnership with Google. Parallels' award-winning software solutions make it simple for enterprises, businesses, organizations and individuals to access and use the applications and files they need on any device or operating system.

Doom & Doom II Currently Free For Some Chromebook Owners

Chromebook owners may be eligible to receive free copies of Doom, Doom II, and The Elder Scrolls: Legends Fall of the Dark Brotherhood expansion. These are android ports of the original Doom and Doom II, not the updated 2016 game however they are still great games and will run on anything including your old Chromebook given it has Android support. The games normally cost 4.99 USD and 19.99 USD for The Elder Scrolls: Legends Fall of the Dark Brotherhood expansion, so you're getting some good value. These perks are only available for a limited time and may not be available for all Chromebooks or regions.

You can check if your Chromebook is eligible: here

Google Stadia Adds Support for 1440p Streaming In Chrome

This week Google Stadia added the option to stream games on chrome at 2560x1440 resolution so that users with QHD monitors can now stream games at their monitors' native resolution compared to just 1080p or 4k previously. To play in QHD resolution users will need an active Stadia Pro subscription, a network speed of 35 Mbps or greater, and a Windows computer or Chromebook with VP9 hardware decoding and a QHD monitor.

In other news, this week the Stadia Store gained two new games those being Jotun: Valhalla Edition, and Sundered: Eldritch Edition. Stadia Pro subscribers are also set to receive The Elder Scrolls Online for Free on June 16 along with the Morrowind Chapter as free content. Stadia players can enjoy crossplay support with PC, which means you'll be able to play with friends across Stadia and PC.

Lenovo Announces Chromebook Duet in North America

The wait is over. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet, one of the thinnest, lightest and most hotly anticipated Chromebooks in the world, hits the North America market today. Designed for mobile productivity, the 2-in-1 detachable Lenovo Chromebook Duet has a 10.1-inch screen and comes with an ultrathin, detachable laptop-grade keyboard to help you get work done from the kitchen, to the home office or couch. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet runs Chrome OS - the powerfully simple operating system that boots up fast, and stays secure with seamless automatic updates for up to eight years.

HP Announces New Chromebooks with 10th Gen Intel Core Processors

HP Inc. today announced new laptops and solutions designed to address the evolving needs of business users everywhere, demonstrating the company's effort to help businesses and remote workers stay productive wherever they may be.

While businesses have been adopting cloud-centric solutions and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to increase security and save costs, the recent pandemic has escalated the need for devices that empower those who primarily work with web applications and virtual desktop tools. In a recent survey, HP discovered that nearly 60% of users working from home during quarantine are doing so with personal machines, presenting significant security risk from unmanaged devices. The average employee is also using 22 cloud-based apps to do their job.

Google to Design its Own SoCs for Pixel Smartphones and Chromebooks

Google is planning to take the Apple route in designing its own SoCs for its hardware. The company kicked off "Project Whitechapel," an initiative with technical assistance from Samsung (and possibly silicon-fabrication), to design Arm-based SoCs with specialized hardware to power Google's machine-learning tech. The first such chip will be 8-core Arm SoCs powering next-generation Pixel premium smartphones, but in the future, Google could use Arm-based SoCs to power Chromebooks.

Google has, in the past, collaborated with Intel and Qualcomm to put specialized hardware on smartphone SoCs, although the resulting chips would still be supplied by the two. "Project Whitechapel" would see Google play a dominant role in the SoC's design, with Samsung only providing technical inputs. It wouldn't be far-fetched to predict Google using lightweight variants of the SoC on its own IoT hardware, such as Chromecast and Home smart-speakers.

PWAs Taking Over the ChromeOS Software Ecosystem with YouTube the Latest Addition

PWAs, or progressive web apps, are web-based software whose functions are dynamically fetched from the web. Twitter and WhatsApp Web are examples. Their Windows Store editions are essentially UWP Chromium containers that run the PWA. When it debuted in 2011, Chrome OS was intended to be entirely web-based, with a Chrome web-browser running web-based services such as Google Docs or G-Mail. Eventually, there arose a need for a larger software ecosystem, and Chromebook manufacturers pressured Google to add Play Store, and bring the Android software ecosystem to the Chromebook.

A trend over the last couple of years is PWAs, and YouTube TV is the latest addition, with a PWA added to Play Store, replacing the Android app. The PWA creates a lightweight Chromium container without Chrome's bulk, to run the PWA on. It also gives the user the impression of using an app outside the web-browser. The addition of the YouTube TV PWA is a strong indication that at least for Chrome OS, Google is phasing out locally-stored apps in favor of lightweight PWAs, as it rightfully should. Chrome OS was intended to be an evolutionary next-step to PCs with locally-stored software - a lightweight OS for lightweight clients that serve as edge devices, with much of the processing and storage handled by the cloud.

Mysterious AMD Ryzen 3700C & 3250C Benchmarks Surface

Two unannounced AMD Ryzen chips the Ryzen 7 3700C and Ryzen 3 3250C have recently appeared on Geekbench in a device codenamed "Google Zork". These two CPUs bare resounding similarities with the Ryzen 7 3700U and Ryzen 3 3250U APUs, sharing the same core configurations and clocks. The main difference between these chips is the 15 W TDP of the C versions.

These chips are likely adapted versions of the Ryzen 7 3700C and Ryzen 3 3250C intended for use in a upcoming Google Chromebook, not the "C" which could possibly stand for Chromebook. The codename "Google Zork" first appeared last year in reference to a reference board with the AMD Picasso chipset, it's not confirmed but NotebookCheck suggests that "Google Zork" may a 2-in-1 Google Pixelbook.
AMD

Microsoft Shifting Near-Term Focus away from Windows 10X Dual Screen Solutions, Surface Neo delayed

Microsoft has decided to shift its focus away from Windows 10X dual-screen laptop solutions in the near term, according to the report from ZDNet. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has happened recently, Microsoft's Chief Product Officer Panos Panay internally informed his team that Microsoft will not be focusing its efforts on delivering the Windows 10X based dual-screen laptops this year. However, Microsoft is committed to that idea and will not shift away from it completely, it is just taking a rest for now. This is bad news for everyone that was hoping to get Surface Neo dual-screen laptop that was meant for the Holiday season of 2020. In addition to Surface Neo not shipping this year, Microsoft isn't enabling any new Windows 10X dual-screen device to ship this year either.

What Microsoft is focusing on, however, is to get Windows 10X firstly on single-screen devices. That means that regular laptops should be getting the Windows 10X treatment sometime this year so vendors can launch products to compete with Chromebook devices, based on Google's ChromeOS.
Microsoft Surface Neo

ASUS Announces Chromebook Flip C436, Powered by Intel "Project Athena"

ASUS today announced the launch of the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436, the latest in the ASUS Chromebook Flip family that pairs premium features with uncompromising performance. The ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 introduces an eye-catching and elegant convertible form factor, featuring a frameless NanoEdge touch display that's designed to maximize screen size in the smallest form factor possible. The C436 is housed in a durable yet lightweight magnesium alloy chassis, which measures only 13-inches diagonally at a weight of approx. 2.58 lbs - perfect for on-the-go productivity.

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 is verified by Intel's Project Athena innovation program and co-engineered for mobile performance. It brings unparalleled power in a convertible and ultra-portable form factor by integrating 10th Gen Intel Core processors with up to 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and cutting-edge Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) connectivity.

Samsung Announces Galaxy Chromebook Convertible: A "Project Athena" Chromebook

Samsung today announced the Galaxy Chromebook, a premium Google ChromeOS 2-in-1 device that converts between a conventional notebook and a tablet with a stylus. This is the first time Samsung is bringing its Android-focused Galaxy brand over to its Chromebook family. The $999 price-tag may look like a tall ask for a Chromebook, until you look at some of its specs. The star attraction is the 13.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen with 4K UHD resolution. Samsung developed the Galaxy Chromebook in close coordination with Intel as part of its ambitious "Project Athena" initiative of developing next-generation portable computing devices that defy conventions on performance and battery-life.

Under the hood is an Intel Core i5-10210U "Comet Lake" processor with 8 GB of LPDDR3-2133 memory, a 256 GB NVMe SSD, UFS + microSDXC card slot, and 802.11ax + Bluetooth connectivity (at this price we'd have expected at least 4G cellular modem). It dumps type-A USB ports and instead features a couple of type-C ports, one of which doubles up as a power input. The 4K UHD display is pulled by integrated Intel UHD 630 graphics. A 47.9 Wh battery powers the thing, with Samsung claiming 8h 20m of run-time. Measuring 30 cm x 20.32 cm x 0.99 cm (closed), the Galaxy Chromebook weighs 1.03 kg. The included S-Pen stylus slots into the body. The Galaxy Chromebook is available in two color options, red and gray, both priced at $999.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
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