First announced last year, the initiative covers both the design and technical specs of new laptops and Chromebooks with end goal of building the high-performance laptops of tomorrow. Some of the specs include requiring 'fast wake' using fingerprints or push buttons, using Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, improved battery life and charging, WiFi 6, touch displays, narrow bezels and more.
The first two Chromebooks built to Athena specifications were also announced at CES 2020 by Samsung and Asus. However, Intel says that there will be more devices to come and Google even joined the chipmaker on stage during its keynote to show how committed the two companies are to the mission.
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EVP and GM of Intel's client computing group, Gregory Bryant provided more details on its partnership with Google in an interview with TechCrunch, saying:
"We’re going a step further and deepening our partnership with Google to bring Athena to Chromebooks. We've collaborated very closely with Google [so that device makers] can take advantage of these specs."
Project Athena Chromebooks
While Intel will benefit from more of its chips being used in Chromebooks, the partnership is also important for Google as it looks to grow its Chromebook business. VP of ChromeOS at Google, John Solomon explained to TechCrunch how the company plans to expand Chromebooks beyond the classroom, saying:
"This is a significant change for Google. 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."
Until now, all of the laptops built to Project Athena specs have been Windows PCs though Intel has always said from the beginning of the initiative that Chromebooks would eventually be added as well.
Recently Google has begun to market Chromebooks as devices that not only appeal to students but also to business users as well since they start up quickly, have longer battery life than many Windows devices and come with virus protection built in. Expect this push to continue especially now that the search giant has Intel in its corner as well.
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