Samsung recently unveiled two of the first Chrome OS laptops with both a touchscreen display and support for stylus input. But the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro aren’t the only models with stylus support coming this year.
Google for Education says an Acer Chromebook Spin 11 with a convertible tablet design and an Asus Chromebook C213 convertible will both be available in late spring, and both will support stylus input.
They’re aimed at the education market, and Google says the Chromebooks were designed with input from educators.
Detailed specs aren’t available yet, but Google says both models will work with “low-cost pens” that don’t need to be charged or paired with a device, allowing you to easily replace a missing pen. They’ll also have an “eraser” function that allows you fix mistakes in a written note or drawing.
Update: Acer has provided a few more details. The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 R751T has a MIL-STD 810G compliant case that’s been tested for durability, a stylus that uses Wacom EMR (Electro-Magnetic Resonance) technology, and two Acer HD wide view HDR webcams, including a 1MP camera above the screen and a 5MP camera above the keyboard (which can be used in tablet mode).
The laptop will support the Google Play Store and Android apps out of the box when it launches this spring.
Acer will offer models with Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core or Celeron N3450 quad-core processors and between 4GB and 8GB of RAM and 32GB to 64GB of eMMC flash storage. There are two USB 3.1 Type-C ports, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, and two USB Type-A 3.0 ports along with a microSD card slot.
Acer’s convertible notebook measures 0.8 inches thick and weighs about 3.1 pounds.
Google is bringing support for handwriting recognition to Chrome OS to support pen input, using machine learning to improve text recognition. Some apps such as Google Keep will also support optical character recognition, allowing you to search for notes without first converting handwriting to text.
Both the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 and Asus Chromebook C213 feature 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel displays. According to Google the Acer model offers 10 hours of battery life, while the Asus laptop has a 12 hour battery.
There’s no word on the processor or other specs, and it’s unclear if these notebooks will be offered via retail channels, or if they’ll only be available through Google for Education, where Google says schools can get the laptops “with management and support for $30” per month.
Other features include USB Type C ports that are used for charging. That comes in handy because it allows you to use a standard charger for multiple devices and supports fast charging, allowing schools to quickly charge the batteries on multiple Chromebooks by connecting them to a charging cart.