The original HP Chromebook 11 has definitely turned out to be a fantastic device which showcases Google's Chrome OS. The device boasts of a great display, compact size and the capability to charge through a micro-USB cable. The original HP Chromebook 11 is available for $279 and now - thanks to Altair - you can purchase an LTE enabled variant of the device, which supports Verizon's LTE network - only for $100 more. However the device cannot connect to the 3G wireless network.
Altair Semiconductor announced that its FourGee-3100/6202 chipset powers the LTE capability of the new Chromebook 11. The chip has however been tweaked to only work on Verizon's LTE network - which is to say, if you're not on the Verizon LTE network, this upgrade means nothing for you. However in that case you can still use the inbuilt Wi-Fi connectivity. But if you rock on Verizon's LTE, you should definitely opt for the Chromebook 11 data subscription which costs an additional $10 a month to maintain, however activating the device will provide users with a rebate of up to $50, which brings the price of the device to $329.
In terms of specifications, there seem to be no changes to those of the original HP Chromebook 11. The device boasts of an 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 pixels resolution display, 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 16 GB Solid State Device (SSD), the aforementioned LTE connectivity, Wifi connectivity and two USB 2.0 ports. The device can be charged using a micro USB cable and weighs in at a mere 2.3 pounds.
Since the Chromebook, by design, relies on an always-on internet connection to reach its full potential, adding LTE connectivity does make sense, however, the effective increase of $50 in the price (you get a discount of $50 on activating it on Verizon's network) still feels a little on the high side. What needs to be seen is how customers are going to respond to this upgraded version - after all the original Chromebook 11 had run in to issues including overheating of the supplied chargers.
For now the HP Chromebook 11 LTE can only be purchased from Best Buys' brick and mortar stores. There is no clarity as of yet regarding its availability online. If you're heading off to Best Buy to get one for yourself, do let us know about your experience with it in the comments below.