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Dell comes out with its cheapest Chromebook yet

Dell comes out with its cheapest Chromebook yet

The $249.99 laptop is aimed at the education market

Dell's Chromebook 11 (1)

Dell's Chromebook 11 (1)

Dell has started shipping its least expensive Chromebook, a Chromebook 11 that starts at US$249.99.

Existing Chromebook 11 models start at $279.99 and have higher-end Pentium and Core i3 processors. With a dual-core Celeron chip based on Intel's aging Bay Trail architecture, the new Chromebook isn't a speed demon but it might work for some budget buyers.

The laptop has an 11.6-inch screen and is aimed mostly at students and educators, where Chromebooks have proven popular. Besides being inexpensive and fairly lightweight, Chromebooks offer long battery life and are capable substitutes for Windows PCs for those who do most of their computing online.

Dell's Chromebook 11 was so popular last year that it had to stop selling it for a while because it ran out of stock.

Acer sells the lowest-priced 11.6-inch Chromebooks, at less than $200, but Dell is providing additional software that could justify the higher price, including a tool that lets administrators monitor and manage PCs and applications remotely.

Beyond the software, the features in the Chromebook 11 are similar to those in lower cost models from Acer. The $249.99 model has 16GB of storage, 2GB of RAM and a webcam. The 720p screen displays images at a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. Other features include USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI ports. There's also a slot for optional LTE connectivity.

Also for education customers, Dell introduced the Venue 10 tablet, which will come with Android 5.0. A Windows alternative is the Dell Venue 10 Pro, which will run Windows 8.1. The tablets have 10.1-inch screens, two cameras and stylus support. Prices were not immediately available, but the devices will ship in the next month.

The Venue 10 Pro has Intel's Broadwell-based Core M processor, 2GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. It also has the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a slot for optional LTE connectivity.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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