HP Announces Chromebook x2, First-Ever Chrome OS Detachable
While the first Chromebook tablet, announced by Acer just last month, is aimed squarely at the education market, HP's new Chrome OS detachable has a wider audience in its sights. In fact, early previews of the Chromebook x2 indicate it could pose a threat to Apple's iPad Pro.
HP is touting the $599.99 Chromebook x2 (pictured above), set to hit the U.S. market in June, as a premium device that's built for both work and entertainment. The company said it's also designed for both flexibility and durability and includes an HP Active Pen and a magnetic hinge design that allows the device to be used effectively as either a laptop or a detachable tablet.
By comparison, Apple's 10.5-inch, iPad Pro starts at $649, not including the additional cost for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories.
Detachable tablets will be the bright spot in an otherwise stagnant or declining market for personal computing devices over the next five years, according to a recent forecast from the analyst firm IDC. The organization predicts that by 2022 detachable tablets will account for 9 percent of all personal computing devices shipped, compared to 5.2 percent in 2017.
Detachable, ChromeOS, and Android 'Trifecta'
Today's news from HP underscores the growing importance of the tablet and detachable market to equipment manufacturers, as well as the solid appeal of Chromebooks, particularly for use in schools. It also follows two major tablet announcements from Apple and Acer made on March 27, when Apple unveiled an updated $299 9.7-inch iPad for school buyers and Acer launched the $329 9.7-inch Chromebook Tab 10, the first-ever tablet to run Google's Chrome OS instead of the Android operating system.
In a statement, Kevin Frost, HP's vice president and general manager for consumer personal systems, described the Chromebook x2 as a "trifecta" that combines a versatile form factor with the productivity capabilities of Chrome OS and the benefits of access to Google's platform for Android mobile apps.
"As the world's first Chromebook detachable, it will unlock new ways for people to create, collaborate and consume within Chrome and the Google Play Store," Frost said.
While Google Chromebooks currently dominate the K-12 mobile device market, with a 58 percent share in the U.S., Apple remains the overall leader in global tablet sales. The market for traditional PCs remained weak in the fourth quarter of 2017, in part because of the growing popularity of mobile computers in various forms, according to IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, released in January.
HP leads the overall global market for PCs, while Apple is in fourth place and Asus is tied for fifth with Acer, which has the edge in Chromebooks and gaming PCs.
Arriving June 10
Powered by 7th-generation Intel Core processors, the HP Chromebook x2 features a 12.3-inch touch display, with 10 hours of battery life, a total width of just 15.3 millimeters, and a weight of 3.14 pounds. Detached for use as a tablet, the screen is 8.2 millimeters thick and weighs 1.62 pounds.
In addition to providing up to 8 GB of memory for browsing and running Android apps, the Chromebook x2 also comes with up to 32 GB of built-in storage and can be boosted with a MicroSD card to support up to 256 GB of storage. The device also offers 100 GB of free Google Cloud storage for two years.
Two USB Type-C ports enable data transfers, charging, and other connections, while there is also an audio jack for headphones and other sound system accessories. The Chromebook x2 is scheduled to be available on June 10 through HP.com and Best Buy.
Image credit: HP/Chromebook x2; iStock/Artist's concept.