Two weeks ago, Acer made an announcement of the first tablet running Chrome OS and today, HP announced the second. It is a lot higher end.
It is known as the Chromebook x2, and it is very much designed to go after the iPad Pro. It comes with a 12.3-inch screen (the larger iPad Pro comes with a 12.9-inch screen), supports stylus input, and docks with a keyboard cover.
The biggest benefit here is that the entire package is available for much, much cheaper: the Chromebook x2 costs 599 dollars in its base configuration and arrives bundled with the keyboard cover and stylus. The iPad starts at 649 dollars for the smaller tablet on its own, and the consumers have to spend 1,067 dollars if they want the 12.9-inch model with a keyboard and pen. So if the users are thinking about using a tablet (with a non-traditional operating system) as a portable computer, HP would get them there for way cheaper.
The Chromebook x2 possesses a Core m3 processor from Intel’s prior generation of Kaby Lake chips, 32GB of storage, 4GB of RAM (it can be configured with 8GB, too), a 2400 x 1600 resolution, a 13 megapixel rear camera, a 5 megapixel front camera, stereo speakers, two USB-C ports, a headphone jack, a Micro SD card slot, and an estimated 10.5 hours of battery life. It weighs a little bit more than an iPad Pro, and it is a little bit thicker than an iPad Pro, but not by much.
In a brief statement, HP also emphasized that the keyboard was made to hold firmly enough to the tablet that it must feel like a clamshell laptop when the two are connected. People have not seen the Chromebook x2 in person, but the images of HP make it appear relatively nice, like a combination of Google’s Pixelbook, with its glossy white and metal top, and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, with its colorful and soft keyboard.
The Chromebook x2 appears to have a lot of potentials, but there are a few big question marks — and not just around if the hardware is as good as it appears. The real open question is that if Chrome OS is cut out to function on a tablet. Google has been overhauling the operating system to function better with the touchscreens for a couple years now, but it is still very much like a desktop system (it is based around the Chrome desktop browser and it’s the display of desktop websites, after all). That is likely to limit as to how useful it is, especially as compared to an iPad that was designed for touch from the ground up.
While the Chromebook x2 appears like a bargain in comparison to the iPad, it is expensive for a Chromebook that the people often purchase for around 300 dollars. At 600 dollars, the consumers enter into the world of lower-cost Windows computers that this product would have to compete with, too.
HP has plans to launch the Chromebook x2 sometime in the month of June. From the appearances of it, a few more Chrome OS tablets before then could be seen.