HP is bringing some new competition into the Chromebook world
with the introduction of AMD processors. The company’s newly
announced Chromebook 14 is the first Chromebook ever to use AMD
processors — existing Chromebooks are largely dominated by
Intel, and even mobile-friendly ARM-based processors made their
debut before AMD.
The Chromebook 14 will go on sale later this month for $269
with AMD’s dual-core A4 processor inside (an A6 processor
option will also be available in some markets). AMD’s A line is
roughly equivalent to Intel’s Celeron line, which means these
are lower-end processors designed for simple, power-efficient
machines. HP estimates nine hours of battery life. The laptop
has a 14-inch screen with a resolution just above 720p, 4GB of
RAM, and 32GB of storage.
It’s not clear why HP made the jump to AMD
I asked HP why the company wanted to put AMD processors in a
Chromebook, and the only answer I got was that it was “past
time.” But that doesn’t really answer the question: it’s not
clear whether switching to AMD allows for cheaper Chromebooks,
improved performance, or just creates more options. It’s not
clear that this is better in any way — just different.
More competition for Intel is a good thing and likely will lead
to cheaper choices (AMD has already been positioning its chips
as the better value), but it’s not entirely clear what the
motivation is to make the change now. A
report from Chrome Unboxed indicated that HP might
not be alone here — the site spotted references to up to three
in-development Chromebooks with AMD processors back in August.
So it might not be long until HP has company.