Back at CES, Samsung announced the Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro. The two machines are externally-identical magnesium-cased convertibles poised to fill the curious market niche of "high-end Chromebook." The only difference between them is the choice of processor. The Chromebook Plus uses a Rockchip-manufactured and Google-approved OP1 ARM-based SoC, while the Pro taps Intel for its processing power. The Plus model came out in February, but the Pro is only just hitting the market.
In case you haven't seen these machines before, here's what they look like: folding-type convertible laptops packing a 12.3" touchscreen with a resolution of 2400x1600 and pen input support. You get 4GB of LP-DDR3 shared memory and 32GB of eMMC storage—both considerable amounts for a Chromebook. Another unusual high-end feature is the presence of a 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter with 2x2 MIMO support.
The soon-to-be-available Pro model uses a Core m3-6Y30 CPU, a dual-core Skylake chip that starts out at 900 MHz and can turbo to 2.2 GHz. This processor should offer better single-threaded performance than the ARM-based OP1 SoC in the Chromebook Plus, though that characteristic might not necessarily translate into better application performance. However, it's possible that some apps may only support an x86 CPU. The choice of an Intel chip could also make the Chromebook Pro more attractive to hackers looking to install an alternative OS on the little laptop.
While the Chromebook Plus and its ARM SoC go for $450 as of this writing, the privilege of having Intel inside will cost you an extra $100. Samsung says the Chromebook Pro will be available for $550 on May 28 at Best Buy, Amazon, and Samsung.com.