What just happened? Google has introduced a new Chromebook certification system known as 'Chromebook Plus.' This system will outline minimum system requirements aimed at providing users with a more consistent experience with their laptops. Devices bearing this new certification will also gain access to exclusive software and AI features that complement their enhanced performance.
The introduction of minimum system requirements for a Chromebook to qualify for the new badge is expected to enhance their appeal relative to most entry-level Chromebooks currently available. As outlined in Google's official blog post, these minimum requirements are as follows:
- At least Intel Core i3 12th-gen or AMD Ryzen 3 7000-series processor
- At least 8GB of RAM
- At least 128GB of storage
- At least 1080p IPS display
- At least 1080p webcam Temporal Noise Reduction
John Maletis, Google's VP of ChromeOS product, engineering, and UX, asserted that Chromebook Plus laptops will deliver "double the performance" compared to last year's best-selling Chromebooks. The company has also confirmed that existing Chromebooks meeting or surpassing the stated standard will be elevated to Chromebook Plus status "in the coming weeks." These upgraded devices will receive all the relevant new software enhancements.
According to Google, the new software features that will accompany Chromebook Plus laptops include the AI-powered editing capabilities of Magic Eraser in the integrated Google Photos app. Additionally, users will have the ability to apply portrait blur to existing photos and access an HDR effect that enhances brightness and contrast.
Another AI feature set to arrive on Chromebook Plus devices is the capability to improve clarity and lighting during video calls. This includes features such as background blur and background noise reduction, which will be available in all teleconferencing applications, including Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and more. Chromebook Plus devices will also receive File Sync functionality, automatically downloading Google Drive files onto the device for offline access.
Google has also stated its intention to periodically introduce new features to Chromebook Plus. One of the features reportedly in development involves AI-powered image generation with personalization options accessible in ChromeOS' settings menu. For instance, it will enable the creation of custom wallpapers using easily customizable text prompts. The company is also working on incorporating generative AI backgrounds into video calls.
Chromebook Plus laptops will be available in the US through major retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, and Target, with sales commencing on October 8, starting at $399. In Canada and Europe, they will be available for purchase from October 9. Several prominent Chromebook manufacturers, including Acer, Asus, HP, and Lenovo, have already announced their own versions of the Chromebook Plus.