Once upon a time, when Google first talked about Chrome OS and the Chromebooks that run the mobile operating system, it pitched them as business tools. But when Chromebooks finally started to catch on, it wasn’t in the workplace. Except for a few higher-end machines such as Google’s own Pixel, Chrome OS systems have mostly catered to consumers and schools on a tight budget.
Now Google is turning its attention back to business users. At an event this morning at its San Francisco office, it demoed a variety of features aimed at enterprise users, including the ability to hook a Chromebook up to a 4K external monitor, run Windows apps such as Photoshop and Office through virtualization, and access corporate printers and files. And along with Dell, it announced a pretty slick-looking new system.
The Dell Chromebook 13 has a 13.3″ screen (available with touch capability, or without) which uses IPS technology for a wide -angle view and is protected by Gorilla Glass. It has an aluminum and magnesium body, a carbon-fiber cover, and, as Dell’s spec sheet calls it, “minimized plastic.” You get a choice of Intel Core i3 or i5 processors, and can configure the machine with up to 8GB of RAM. The keyboard is backlight, and at 3.23 lb. and .72″ thick, the package is reasonably portable.
The system will be available in versions ranging from $400 (without the touchscreen) to $900, spanning the yawning gap which currently exists between the low end of the Chromebook market and the Pixel. It will be available starting in September.