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originalThe Chromebook army marches on, and it’s headed straight for the low end of Microsoft’s consumer Windows PC business.

HP announced today that it’s launching the Chromebook 11, an 11.6-inch laptop running Google’s Chrome OS, and selling for $279. It’s the second such portable in HP’s lineup, joining the company’s previously announced Chromebook 14.

The Chromebook 11’s design is reminiscent of Apple’s now-discontinued plastic MacBooks, and is powered by an ARM processor. While the laptop isn’t much to look at in terms of power, HP has lined up a few perks for buyers, including a 60-day free trial of Google Play Music All Access, and 12 free sessions of GoGo inflight internet for frequent travelers. In addition, users who want 4G connectivity can get a Chromebook 11 with a LTE modem pre-installed.

While Google is no doubt thrilled by computer manufacturers bolstering the ranks of its notebooks, Microsoft can’t be too happy about the new development. Windows 8 hasn’t been a huge driver of PC sales like Microsoft hoped it would be. While this isn’t a high-powered machine, it integrates well with Google Apps for Business, which is being adopted by an increasingly large number of companies.

While the move by OEMs to expand to Chrome OS seems vaguely reminiscent of when manufacturers tried pre-installing different flavors of Linux on some of their computers, things are different this time. The PC market is shrinking, and computer manufacturers are looking for any way to bolster their sales, including turning to Google. According to NPD data cited by Bloomberg, Chromebooks have expanded to 20 to 25 percent of the PC market under $300, and they are still growing, as opposed to the rest of the PC market.

If you’re interested in picking up HP’s new portable, it’ll be available for $279 at “select retailers” this week, and online at on November 10.

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