Google has launched two new chromebooks, one each from XOLO and Nexian, that fall in the sub Rs 15000 range. The company mentions ASUS will also release its chromebooks Flip and C201, along with Samsung, in the coming months.
The XOLO chromebook is available on Snapdeal for Rs 12,999, while the Nexian is available on Amazon at the same price. Both laptops feature an 11.6 inch 1366*768 screen, 2 GB of RAM, 1 megapixel front cameras, Wi-Fi, bluetooth and 16 GB of storage. Both are expandable via SD slots, and feature the ARM based Cortex A17 quad core processor.
Note that Google had initially launched chromebooks in India back in 2013, with the launch of Acer C720 which cost Rs 22,999 and the HP chromebook 14 priced at Rs 26999. Both these chromebooks feature x86 based Intel Celeron processors, USB 3 ports and full sized HDMI ports, although they cost twice as much. The rest of the features on these machines, are the same as on the new offerings.
This makes the current offering by Google pretty interesting. Granted the chromebooks run the less capable ARM based processors, but chromebooks do not run Windows based x86 applications anyway, so it should not make much of a difference. Additionally ARM based processors generally have better battery life (e.g in smartphones), with the new crop of laptops claiming over 8 hours of use.
Our biggest issue with the chromebook when it launched a couple of years back, was the abysmal offline support provided by the platform and the lack of proper apps. However, Google seems to be addressing both these issues, users can now write email, view, create and edit documents, view and edit photos, listen to music, view pdf and doc files and play games offline. The company mentions certain apps with offline support like the New York Times and web pages saved offline can also be accessed without connectivity.
As for the second issue, Google released ARC (app runtime for Chrome) which lets developers port their Android apps to chromebooks without having to rewrite the code. The company had initially partnered with Duolingo, Evernote, Vine and Slight Words in September last year, to release the first set of cross-compatible apps. This initiative should make Android apps more common on chromebooks, improving its functionality.