HP Teams With Google To Launch Business Chromebooks

Hewlett-Packard Tuesday extended its partnership with Google with the launch of two new Chromebooks targeted at the business and education market.

HP said the new HP Chromebook 14, which runs on the latest Intel Celeron processors, is targeted at business users looking for "simple, secure, mobile productivity" with an entry-level price of $299.

The HP Chromebook 14, which will be available through commercial channels, features a 14-inch screen with an HP TrueVision HD Webcam for dynamic chats. It also includes a multiformat digital media card reader for saving and sharing documents, images and video.

[Related: HP CEO Whitman: Expect More Partnerships Like Google Deal ]

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The new HP Chromebooks follow HP's June announcement that it was becoming a Google Apps For Business Reseller as part of an ambitious plan to dramatically redefine the small to medium-sized business (SMB) IT customer experience with HP SMB IT in a Box.

HP is billing the SMB IT in a Box as a "one-stop shop" technology solution that includes Google Apps For Business with what HP is calling its own "unique" management software layer combined with HP PCs and printers.

Paul Shiff, vice president of Hub Technical Services, an Easton, Mass.-based HP and Google partner that has been building enterprise-level private clouds for customers for the last seven years, applauded HP CEO Meg Whitman for "thinking out of the box" to deliver innovative offerings like the new HP Google Business Chromebook and HP SMB IT in A Box with Google Apps for Business.

"It's definitely a big model change for HP," he said. "I think it is awesome that they are thinking outside the box; although with SMB IT In a Box, they are putting everything in a box. It's good to see Meg Whitman doing such a good job of putting HP back on track.

"Google has been a big part of the education market for a long time," Shiff said. "The exciting part of the HP announcements is they are getting us set up to enable SMB and corporate clients to embrace Google."

Shiff said he sees the HP Google Business Chromebook and SMB IT In a Box opening the door for more small businesses with under 250 employees to embrace the Google platform.

"What's exciting about the HP Chromebook is they are still building a device that is unique to them," he said. "They are putting their own stamp on it."

NEXT: Google HP Partnership Is Changing The Game

As for HP SMB IT in a Box, Hub Technical Services' Shiff said the innovative offering is a game changer. "We are working on moving that forward as fast as we can," he said. "That's going to make small businesses more nimble and quicker to move as it pertains to IT."

Although the Google-based business is still less than 5 percent of total sales for 21-year-old Hub Technical Services, it is growing fast, said Shiff.

Under the Google education sales program, schools receive Google Apps for Education, which includes Web-based email, calendar and documents for collaborative study, for free and then purchase the Google Apps Vault archiving solution, said Shiff.

The Google Apps for Education offering has opened the door to a new wave of Web-hosted applications including Android- and iOS-based offerings, said Shiff.

Ira Grossman, CTO of end-user and mobile computing for MCPc, a nationwide technology integrator specializing in mobile solutions with its Anyplace Workspace, applauded the HP Chromebook as a breakthrough offering with the first to provide 4G speeds for the Chromebook.

"This brings to the Chromebook line a device that is compelling not only just for schools but to the enterprise looking to become more mobile," said Grossman. "My expectation is this device has the quality that we have come to expect from HP engineering."

MCPc is also moving forward with HP SMB IT in a Box, which is being "well received" in the SMB marketplace, said Grossman.

"The Windows 7 migration is a compelling event that is causing customers to evaluate both their hardware and software landscapes, which is opening the door to Google Docs," he said. "It is causing customers to explore alternatives to the traditional Wintel environment."

HP also announced an ARM processor-based HP Chromebook priced starting at $279.99 with an 11.6-inch diagonal screen and battery life of up to six hours.

HP said the ARM processor provides near instant startup with access to apps and documents. The ultra-thin ARM-based HP Chromebook is ideal for "students, teachers and on the go professionals or business users," according to HP.

HP said the wide 176-degree viewing angle display and built-in Web cam make it easier to collaborate with classmates or colleagues.

HP said the new Chromebooks come with optional 4G LTE connectivity, 100 GB of Google Drive storage free for two years, 12 free sessions of GoGo Inflight Internet and a 60-day free trial with Google Play Music All Access.