Update: The HP Chromebook 11 has been voluntarily removed from sale while HP and Google are investigating an overheating charger problem. The units still work fine but it is recommended that you use a different USB charger. The details are available in an HP blog post.
The HP Chromebook 11 has arrived with many similarities to Samsung’s ARM-based Chromebook. What the HP variety adds is an IPS display and what appears to be a higher quality casing. There are some additional accent colors and a clean exterior. The full spectrum of wireless connectivity is available with 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 and Verizon 4G LTE will be available in a future version as well.
The HP Chromebook 11 comes in white along with various accent colors or all black. In an interesting move, this is the first Chromebook to charge via Micro USB but at 15.75W, even more than a 4th generation iPad’s 12W. Google is touting the ability of this Chromebook to use the same charger as your Android phone.
The CPU in this Chromebook is the Exynos 5250 GAIA Application Processor, which is either identical or very similar to what Samsung used in its ARM-based Chromebook. Also in line with Samsung, HP has provided 2GB of memory and a 16GB SSD. What’s lacking is any sort of SD card slot and USB 3.0 ports. The latter is really pointless in a device like this but an SD card slot was very useful. All four ports (2 USB 2.0, Micro USB, and combined headphone/microphone) are on the left side. The right side is completely lacking ports.
I like the design in many ways and this might make a good candidate for running Kali Linux or Ubuntu in the future if support emerges as it has for the Samsung ARM-based Chromebook. Chrubuntu or Crouton will likely be feasible before too long. Crouton, in particular, is very promising and provides an easier route than a full-fledged install in place of Chrome OS or on external media. The limiting factor for external media installs on this new Chromebook is the lack of a SD card slot. USB flash drives will have to do instead. The Sandisk Cruzer Fit might be an excellent option although speed may be somewhat lacking.
The HP Chromebook 11 will ship on October 20 and is available for pre-order from Amazon.com for $279.99. Google’s HP Chromebook 11 site also provides additional details on the device. I pre-ordered one and we’ll see how it works out with alternatives to vanilla Chrome OS. Hopefully some day we’ll see OpenBSD support for ARM-based laptops such as this one.