Google finally unveiled its brand new Chromebook Plus selection, which was previously leaked as the mysterious Chromebook X project. It was also known as one of the industry's worst-kept secrets, to the point that it was even poked fun at during Google’s presentation in New York City.
During the presentation, we learned about how the specs have been at least doubled from older Chromebook models. Each Chromebook Plus model has the following guaranteed specs, (with more expensive versions having better specs): Intel Core (i3 or higher) or AMD Ryzen (7000 series) CPU, 1080p IPS display, 1080p webcam, 8GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. In fact, in order for it to quality to be called Chromebook Plus, said device must adhere to these strict specifications.
Not only will there be a host of hardware changes, but there are also tons of OS and Google software features like Google Photos Magic Eraser and other editing tools, offline file sync, AI-powered video conferencing improvements like lighting and noise cancellation, personal writing assistant accessible across surfaces via a right click, custom generated wallpapers, video conferencing backgrounds using templatized text prompts, a reading assistant, and more. These will either be available immediately at launch or come within the next few months.
There are also plenty of free perks coming to Chromebook users like a three-month subscription for Photoshop on the Web, three months of GeForce NOW's priority tier, and more. Though it would be nice to have a discounted subscription fee after the free trial ends, free months are still nice.
Thankfully, for users who already own Chromebooks that fulfill the hardware spec requirements, there will be a free update available in the coming weeks that will upgrade them to the Chromebook Plus software experience. It’s clear that Google is trying to push Chromebook Plus as the future of Google-powered laptops, especially since the tech giant has already pledged 10 years of Chromebook software updates.
The Chromebook Plus selection will be launching on October 8, 2023, with a starting MSRP of $399.
AI is a huge focus of Chromebook Plus
Google has also partnered with Adobe to bring Adobe Firefly to Chromebook Plus and Bard. Firefly is essentially Adobe’s answer to other AI art generators like Midjourney, Dall-E, and Stable Diffusion. It seems the tech giant is hard at work creating the next generation of the best Chromebooks on the market.
Adobe had previously expressed, and reiterated during the presentation, that Firefly has been trained on Adobe Stock images, openly licensed content, and public domain content where the copyright has expired. In fact, there was a specific term used in the presentation, “content credentials embedded,” that expressed that very same sentiment.
And because of that and AI being trained on what Google called “high-quality assets” any content users create is completely commercial safe. That’s a bold claim and how true that ends up being is something we’ll see played out in the future.
There’s also Adobe Express, which offers quick AI options and templates for graphic design that are powered by Firefly. You can use generative AI features like Text to Image and Text Effects to create content for TikTok videos, Reels, flyers, logos, cards, resumes, and more, which can be linked to Photoshop.
While AI has been the center of negative attention, companies have continued to invest in the technology with varying success. It’s clear that both Google and Adobe have created plenty of these features that aid users in a wide range of tasks, and while we should continue to be critical of whether they live up to their promises, we can at least appreciate the efforts.
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Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.