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Google and Dell Technologies’ New Chromebook Is Designed for Business Users

August 26, 2019, 12:00 PM UTC

Google and Dell Technologies have partnered to debut a new Chromebook that will be part of Dell’s Latitude brand of business-focused laptops.

The new Latitude Chromebooks will come in two different versions. The 5400 model is designed like a traditional laptop with a 14-inch screen and 8th generation Intel processor, and pricing starting at $699.

The 5300 Latitude model is a 2-in-1 laptop that functions like a tablet when folded. That model, which includes a touchscreen, comes with a starting price of $819.

Both the 5400 and 5300 models will be available to purchase on Aug. 27. They come stocked with a 128 GB solid state drive with the option to expand to up to 1 terabyte of storage.

The new Dell Chromebooks underscore Google’s efforts to make its laptops, which run the company’s Chrome operating system, attractive to businesses. The business-focused Chromebooks are being introduced through the search giant’s enterprise unit, which includes its cloud computing business and G Suite workplace software. Google typically partners with companies like Dell and HP, and Lenovo to supply the Chrome OS while the other businesses build the laptops.

Chromebooks for the consumer and education markets have traditionally been far cheaper than conventional Windows- and Mac-based laptops, with some machines coming in at under $200. But, increasingly, companies like HP have been introducing more expensive and powerful Chromebooks, costing around $600. Google even introduced its own $999 Pixelbook-branded Chromebook in 2017.

Brett Hansen, a Dell vice president of client software and security, said that customers have been requesting more powerful versions of Chromebooks that are compatible with their corporate IT and security needs. Additionally, companies wishing to cater to younger employees like millennials are interested in Chromebooks, presumably because the devices are more appealing with young adults.

Some companies are interested in Chromebooks because they were designed to primarily work as online devices and that fits with the model of using business apps through cloud software, he said.

Hansen acknowledged that Dell could have released a separate business-focused Chromebook without the Latitude branding, but it chose to lump them into the Latitude family because of “consistency.”

He said customers wanted the new Chromebooks to look the same as other Latitude models. Compared to cheaper Chromebooks, the new models are built with carbon fiber and are sturdier, he explained.

“So from a user perspective, it is rugged,” Hansen said. “It will withstand the wear and tear of a knowledge worker who commutes every day.”

Currently, Microsoft’s Windows operating system remains the dominant OS for businesses seeking to buy Dell corporate laptops. That could change if Chromebooks continue to catch on with companies.

“We have high hopes,” Hanson said acknowledging that businesses can be slow to upgrade or change their corporate technology. “Over time this might grow into a big part of Latitude.”

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