Dell introduces its first Chromebook

Looks like all that negative advertising by Microsoft didn’t sway Dell. Earlier this morning, the PC maker introduced its first Chromebook, an 11.6" system aimed at the education market.

Look, students! Learning is fun!

The Dell Chromebook 11 features a 1366×768 display resolution, a Haswell-based Celeron 2955U dual-core processor, 2-4GB of RAM, 16GB of solid-state storage, and a 720p webcam. Connectivity includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, and USB 3.0. Dell quotes a battery run time of up to 10 hours, and it says the system is less than an inch thick and weighs just 2.9 lbs, which sounds plenty portable.

There will be two variants: one with 4GB of RAM, which will be available next month, and another with only 2GB of memory, which Dell plans to make available "during the first quarter of 2014." The Dell Chromebook 11 is "expected" to sell for less than $300 when it goes up for sale on Dell’s website, though the company doesn’t say exactly which variant will cost how much. It’s not clear whether regular joes will be able to buy this thing, either.

I think Dell may be on to something here—not with the Chromebook 11’s hardware, which seems pretty run-of-the-mill, but with the focus on education. Chrome OS is much too limiting for my personal use, but its limitations could be assets in the classroom. Just think about it: you could wipe and reset these things in a heartbeat, and there would be little chance of students installing malware or any non-approved software, since Chrome OS pretty much only supports web apps. Chromebooks also tend to combine low cost and solid build quality, which is always helpful when kids are involved.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Yay, another underpowered laptop with a limited OS, near-zero program compatibility, lousy screen and complete lack of local storage.

    I bet the schools are eagerly anticipating these…..

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    The best part about Chromebooks in the schools is that it begins the slow process of converting kids to not being Microsoft-oriented. Suddenly, OEM’s are not going to run into the problems in the workplace that everyone’s “trained in Microsoft” and “been using MIcrosoft for years.”

    This is the longterm play. Train everyone in something else and in ten years, suddenly no one’s saying, “We have to use Office since that’s what everyone’s growing up using.” Instead, they’ll be saying that about Google Docs and Chrome.

    That strengthens Google’s position. That’s the real danger for Microsoft. Low end PC’s are not really the concern. It’s people becoming comfortable with Google’s take on interfaces, software delivery, and a lowering expectation of price that will force Microsoft to either match the free pricing or flee the consumer space altogether for the greener (though also diminishing) pastures of business users.

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      The only windows computers in my high school were in the autoCAD lab, we had three other computer labs and a library all filled with macs, but because the hardware was ancient everyone was somehow convinced they were slow simply cause they ran OSX, as if installing windows on it would magically fix that

    • Zizy
    • 7 years ago

    Yup, this will be good enough for internet and reading school books, but that is about it. If they used iPads, why not one with keyboard and lacking school apps?

    • danny e.
    • 7 years ago

    No one wants a Chromebook. You might think you want one but you don’t.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      I didn’t think I wanted one, but once I got one, I found out I wanted one

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    so they are entering an already saturated chromebook market and looking to make a profit?

    • Milo Burke
    • 7 years ago

    I’m suddenly compelled to go back to college.

      • Pwnstar
      • 7 years ago

      You want to be in debt for the next 20 years?

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        That’s The American Way.

        In Northern Europe the government pays YOU to go to college

          • albundy
          • 7 years ago

          There are jobs in Northern Europe?

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            Continental Northern Europe, so not including the UK? Sure…north inclusive of Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria and Germany. The Scandinavian economies have done well, and have maintained a high standard of living and high happiness/life satisfaction rating, Germany has been the bailout savior of the Euro zone, and even the bordering ‘eastern European’ countries (Czech Republic and Poland) have bounced back quite nicely.

    • FireGryphon
    • 7 years ago

    What makes a chromebook so much easier to ‘wipe and reset’ than a standard computer? How do chromebooks’ restrictions keep students from installing things and going places better than a standard computer?

      • Pwnstar
      • 7 years ago

      You log into the school’s Google account and it downloads the allowed apps again after a wipe. It only runs Google software and web apps in a sandbox, making it harder to take control with malware.

      • WillBach
      • 7 years ago

      Secure boot + signed binaries + full disk encryption + self healing and updating + user/root separation with users being unable to modifying executables/system files or mark files as executable or access root. It’s a pretty complete package. Of course I should mention that you can configure Windows that way, too. I won’t speak to the web filtering aspects but I have worked first hand modifying Chromebook system images and I feel qualified to speak about their security features.

      • Zizy
      • 7 years ago

      Well, the proper comparison is modern UI of the Windows, not desktop. That modern has all the same secure features and could be set in the same way. Possibly even more secure with terminal mode (single app open), no idea if Chromebook has that. Might be useful for tests.

      Actually if you have a properly set up environment you can secure desktop to roughly the same level as far as school is concerned. You would lack some features like secure boot, sandbox and similar, so machines could get hacked if someone really wants to. But this is a school, not a military complex.

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 7 years ago

    The Asian guy is more black than the black guy.

      • metagaming
      • 7 years ago

      Not sure about that but the Asian guy could easily pass for Southeast Asian.
      The ad gets an A+ for diversity.
      Super smart black guy is lecturing to the Asian guy and white girl.

        • bittermann
        • 7 years ago

        And yet the white guys in the background will get the jobs when graduating. 🙂

          • frogg
          • 7 years ago

          They are already busy working on their open source project and don’t have time to be king of the show like super smart black guy at the foreground.

          • madmax718
          • 7 years ago

          And yet I can’t find a job…..need to cash in on this white privilege. USAF vet and just finish a bachelor’s in CS.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            You have a bachelor’s in CS and can’t find a job? Dafuq?

        • Duck
        • 7 years ago

        Looks to me like the asian guy and white girl are busy working and the black guy is slacking off and trying to distract them with his tomfoolery.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          Do you mean UNCLE TOMfoolery?!?

        • WillBach
        • 7 years ago

        I pegged him as a teacher from his sweater vest. I went through the New York school system and had black trackers and Asian (even southeast Asian) classmates so while that product picture strikes me as kitschy it still makes me think of home.

      • WillBach
      • 7 years ago

      Not sure if opening conversation on monitor calibration or …

      • Pwnstar
      • 7 years ago

      Either of them could be mixed race, changing their coloration, so not sure what your point is…

    • puppetworx
    • 7 years ago

    Why can’t I buy Chromebook hardware which runs Linux out of the box? Is Google paying manufacturers to put ChromeOS on or is it just knowing Google will sink a lot of dosh into advertising these things?

    I’ve considered getting one for light use but the crappy screen resolutions and limited OS have put me off so far.

      • Concupiscence
      • 7 years ago

      Do x86(_64) Chromebooks make it difficult to install Linux out of the box? If not, I’d just snag one, pave over it, and go. Though that doesn’t do anything about the screen resolution… or other corners possibly cut to fit into a low price point.

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Is Google paying manufacturers to put ChromeOS on or is it just knowing Google will sink a lot of dosh into advertising these things?[/quote<] I doubt Google is paying them outright, although Google is doing marketing that helps them. You have forgotten one vital thing that ChromeOS delivers: Outside of hardware failures that are OS independent, Dell has to provide little to no tech support for these things since they are limited use devices and are clearly marketed as such. Google would provide most of the software support service. Much much easier than installing a full-featured Linux distro and having grandma call to complain about this or that. Having said that, I'd slap a real Linux distro right on one of these. Even with the rather paltry 16 GB storage I could get a full-blown Arch installation with KDE running and have ~8 - 10GB of space to spare. Upgradeable storage would be awesome, but I'm not sure if it's possible.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      I didn’t know Linux could fix crappy screen resolutions.

      • WillBach
      • 7 years ago

      Dell does sell Ubuntu laptops. I think manufacturers see more demand (in this market segment) for ChromeOS than other Linux distros*. For the target market (low-end consumer/education) there’s value** in the management/security software that Google packages (integration with [url=http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/education<]Google Apps for Education[/url<], automatic restore and updates). There's also value** in the UI. My mother was able to figure out a Chromebook she bought herself with no help whatsoever. Setting up full disk encryption on Ubuntu (which I've done) is a little harder. * This thought is born out by those manufactures offering ChromeOS on low end, consumer/education focused hardware more than, say, Ubuntu. ** over other distros My opinion, not my employer's (Microsoft)

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    These make about a million times more sense for education than iPads.

      • Pwnstar
      • 7 years ago

      And much cheaper.

    • Vulk
    • 7 years ago

    And the fallout from surface comes into focus a little more clearly every day… Everyone is building almost everything as a web service first and native platform second… One day once ubiquitous LYE comes along, a device like this might make a lot of sense… Until then of course it’s a cut down computer with little upside. But as the face of consumer computing changes expect these types of computing devices to thrive specifically because geeks DON’T like them and why.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    What does a chromebook do well that a Asus Android Transformer doesn’t do better?

      • shaurz
      • 7 years ago

      Easier for schools to manage, no viruses and trojans to worry about or students installing crap and no windows update problems.

      • Vulk
      • 7 years ago

      Help get Dell out underneath MicroSoft’s thumb so that if they do completely implode over the next few years they already have experience making these kinds of devices?

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      Cost half as much?

        • Kurotetsu
        • 7 years ago

        You can get an ASUS Transformer T100 from Best Buy for $299 right now:

        [url<]http://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-transformer-t100-32gb-gray/1846005.p?id=1219066204580&skuId=1846005[/url<] At equal price I'd take the T100 over a Chromebook anyday.

    • WaltC
    • 7 years ago

    The problem, of course, is that for schools and universities the cost of the Chromebook hardware is a pittance compared with the cost of purchasing their own educational software to make available over a campus-wide wireless network. And unless students can download their applications to run locally, then they can forget about taking the things home for weekends/holidays. So, what if the student goes home where normally he could at least access the school’s online applications–but the network is down?

    Caption for picture above:

    Guy on left standing up: “…and as you can see, these things can’t actually do anything…”

    People sitting in front of open Chromebooks: “Cool!…” “Get out! Gag me with a spoon!”

    • hoboGeek
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]...with the focus on education[/quote<] Not to mention this will also work (at least in theory) very well within the school's WIFI range. So all the negative adds about it being useless when not connected will be rendered immaterial, since, by making it a school tool, it will always be connected.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 7 years ago

      but you can’t print out anything, lol.

      ~”I’m sorry professor my Chromebook is incompatible with the printers on this campus. Now if you could just look over my shoulder as I page through the assignment. Or better yet I email it to you then you print my assignment for me!”~

        • shaurz
        • 7 years ago

        Or they could just connect the printer to a computer running Cloud Print. Probably a lot easier than setting up Windows printer sharing, which of course always works perfectly…

        • slowriot
        • 7 years ago

        Print? Why in the world would you waste the paper? Email it. Read it on the computer/tablet/whatever. Why waste paper? Makes zero sense.

        I had a CS professor who wanted our class to print our code (5 years ago). My class decided to stop that silliness and simply refuse. It was easy to get administration to support our position. It still blows my mind when I see people where I work print emails.

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        To paraphrase Scotty: “Oh you want to print out the report? How quaint.”

        But if you really want to print, it’s already been taken care of: [url<]http://www.google.com/cloudprint/learn/howitworks.html[/url<]

    • flip-mode
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve been seriously considering a Chromebook lately. I don’t need a full-fledged laptop. I just need something to edit documents and do the email and Internet stuff. For anything more serious than that I can use my PC. My circa 2008 laptop is about toasted.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      Try it. I love mine. If you don’t love yours, you can always return it

        • flip-mode
        • 7 years ago

        Which model do you have?

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          I have Acer C720 (the $199 one with just 2GB of memory)

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 7 years ago

    Yawn…no needed…Dell Venue Pro 8 is more computer than this thing in smaller package.

      • RickyTick
      • 7 years ago

      So is the Dell Venue 8 (non-pro)

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        I guess you guys hate keyboards and fast CPUs

          • RickyTick
          • 7 years ago

          IDK Neely, maybe I’m missing something. I just don’t see the usefulness in these Chromebooks. They just seem so limited in what they can do.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            They are also faster, lighter, cheaper and/or better in what they can do than other options. And what they can do covers 90% of regular folks’ needs. Hell – it covers 80% of [i<]my[/i<] needs and I still consider myself an enthusiast

          • Pwnstar
          • 7 years ago

          Because they don’t make Bluetooth keyboards?

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