The Google Chromebit will cost under $100 and allows for convenient computing on the move, capable of turning your TV into a workstation. The idea is not exactly a new one, but the product is still impressive, writes Sean Hollister for Gizmodo.
A growing trend towards dongle-PCs
Intel recently announced its Compute Stick, which for $150 comes with full Window 8.1 on board, and Android HDMI dongle-computers have been sold by Chinese companies for almost a year. The latter are based on the Rockchip RK3288 processor, which Google is now using in the next generation of Chromebooks.
The Google Chromebit is pretty much a Chromebook squashed onto a dongle small enough to fit in your pocket. The tiny gadget features Rockchip 3288 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of eMMC memory, a USB 2.0 port, WiFi 802.11 ac support, Bluetooth 4.0, a Smart Ready controller and an ARM Mali 760 quad-core GPU.
Chrome OS part of changing face of personal computing
The Chromebit is designed to improve the proliferation of the Chrome OS, which uses browser-based applications like Gmail and Google Docs to reduce our dependence on memory-eating local software found on traditional PCs, and allowing us to make the move to a cheaper generation of hardware.
One attractive feature of the Chromebit is that it attaches to any HDMI socket without the need for an extension cable. While the machine is not expected to be lightning fast, it should be fine for simple tasks, and Google predicts that small businesses and clients in third-world countries will be attracted because of its low price and manageability.
Google vice-president Caesar Gupta says that he expects other PC manufacturers to release their own dongle-PCs, and the sector could be set for rapid growth. The Chromebit does not signal the end of the Chromecast streaming stick either, because Gupta claims that it fulfills a different function than the new product.
The new dongle-PC, manufactured by Asus, is expected to go on sale in summer 2015 and will be available in silver, blue or orange.