Intel and Google are Partnering on High-End Chromebooks

Posted on January 8, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Chrome OS, Chromebook, Mobile with 37 Comments

With Chromebook sales stagnating, Intel is partnering with Google to bring more premium Chromebooks to market, a strategy that’s seen some success with Windows PCs.

“We’re deepening our partnership with Google to bring Athena to Chromebooks,” Intel executive vice president Gregory Bryant said in an interview with TechCrunch. “We’ve collaborated very closely with Google [so that device makers] can take advantage of these specs.”

As you may know, Intel announced its Project Athena logo program for high-end mobile PC last August. The goal is to visually identify those premium PCs that combine the historic performance benefits of Intel’s microprocessors with the mobility benefits that customers now expect, including battery life, power management, and, optionally, cellular connectivity. It is, in other words, a reaction to the rise of PCs based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset line.

Well, it turns out that Project Athena is no longer limited to just Windows-based PCs. At CES this week, Intel revealed that it is working with Google to bring the logo program to Chromebooks, sales of which are nearly non-existent outside of education. And the first two Project Athena-certified Chromebooks, from ASUS and Samsung, were announced this week.

While the ASUS pricing and availability are currently unclear, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, a 2-in-1 design that will debut later this quarter, is predictably expensive: Prices start at $1000.

“This is a significant change for Google,” Google vice president John Solomon said. “Chromebooks were successful in the education sector initially, but in the next 18 months to two years, our plan is to go broader, expanding to consumer and enterprise users. Those users have greater expectations and a broader idea of how to use these devices. That puts the onus on us to deliver more performance.”

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