Many paragraphs have been posted on the internet over the last few months about Google's efforts to enable Chromebooks to run Android applications from the Play Store. TR took one of the few Play Store-enabled Chromebooks on a test drive a while ago, and while it's clear that Google has some work to do, the preliminary results are promising. Samsung's Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro look poised to help the browser-centric OS work more smoothly with applications written for Google's OS.
The Chromebook Pro and Chromebook Plus look largely identical on the outside. Both are convertible laptops with 12.3" 2400x1600 touchscreens that can rotate 360° and offer pen input. The screens' 3:2 aspect ratio is the same found in Microsoft's popular Surface tablets. Both of Samsung's newest Chromebooks pack the same 4GB of LPDDR3 system memory and large-for-a-Chromebook 32GB of eMMC storage. The connectivity options are the same on both machines, with support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The big difference, then, is the presence of a more traditional Intel Core m3 6Y30 2.20GHz CPU in the Chromebook Pro and an OP1 ARM SoC with two Cortex-A72 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores in the Chromebook Plus. Samsung says users can expect eight hours of battery life on a single charge, regardless of which model they choose. Along with the digitizer inputs, the machines pack accelerometers and gyroscopic sensors, further helping compatibility with Android apps.
The machines measure 11.1" x 8.7" x 0.5" (or 28.2 cm x 22.2 cm x 1.4 cm) and weigh in at 2.38 lbs (1.1 kg). Samsung says the ARM-powered Chromebook Plus will start at $450 when it goes on sale in February. Pricing and availability for the Chromebook Pro with an "Intel Inside" sticker wasn't provided.