Google is introducing a new Chromebook X or “Plus” certification program designed to offer enhanced premium Chrome OS devices. The initiative sets minimum hardware requirements and adds exclusive software features to qualify for the Plus badge.
Chromebook X or Plus aims to provide a more consistent and high-end experience compared to the broader range of Chromebooks on the market. Google won’t produce any models themselves, but instead partner with manufacturers to release certified Chromebook X devices.
To earn X certification, Chromebooks must include Intel 12th Gen or newer processors or AMD Zen 2 and above. Higher memory and storage requirements are also expected versus typical Chromebook configs.
On the software side, Chromebook X or “Plus” models unlock additional capabilities:
- Real-time captions and background blur on video calls
- Support for up to 16 virtual desktops
- Offline access to pinned Google Drive documents
- X or Plus Laptops may also see tighter integration with Google’s ecosystem and services like Assistant.
The goal is providing a more premium Chrome OS experience on capable certified hardware. Rather than a new Chromebook lineup, X establishes standards for manufacturers to build higher-end offerings.
For consumers, the X program offers an easy way to identify Chromebooks that deliver better performance, design, and features. Within the fragmented Chromebook market, Plus models should provide more consistency.
The X or “Plus” certification also gives Google more quality control over Chrome OS devices, especially at the higher end of the market. More oversight may lead to improvements in areas like trackpads, displays, and cameras.
However, one potential downside is the risk of fragmentation if lower-end uncertified Chromebooks get left too far behind on software support and capabilities. Google will need to strike a balance.
Nonetheless, the X program shows Google’s commitment to keep driving Chrome OS forward. As computing becomes more mobile and web-based, there’s demand for premium Chromebooks for power users.
Rather than just basic affordable laptops, Plus enables OEMs to create aspirational Chrome OS devices for business and consumer markets. Expect to see the first Chromebook Plus models in 2023.
With Chrome OS continuing its rise in popularity, X or “Plus” certification will help propel premium offerings to rival Windows and macOS. By partnering closely with manufacturers, Google aims to perfect the high-end Chromebook experience in both hardware and software.