vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

Google Chromebit starts to become available

by Mark Tyson on 17 November 2015, 10:06

Tags: ASUSTeK (TPE:2357), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Chrome OS

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacwdg

Add to My Vault: x

We first saw the Google/ASUS Chromebit back in March. At the same time Google announced a range of new Chrome devices, mostly clamshell laptops, and new manufacturing partners, to expand the reach of Chrome OS. Today the Chromebit has become available, at least in the USA, I can't find it available in the Google Play Store devices section in the UK as yet.

The Chromebit is one of the increasingly familiar HDMI stick form factor computers. On HEXUS we have covered news of various HDMI-stick computers since Intel put its considerable weight behind such devices with its Compute Stick. Check out our review of the Intel Compute Stick STCK1A32WFC, from May this year. Other firms following Intel's lead and making Windows-based computers sticks include Mouse, ASUS, Lenovo and Archos. Updated versions of these sticks are on their way with newer SoCs.

Google's new ChromeOS device isn't just going to be facing competition from the Windows-based HDMI stick computers, there are also shedloads of Android-based HDMI sticks and diminutive boxed from various brands and Chinese white box manufacturers readily available at cutthroat prices. Interestingly there was talk last month about ChromeOS being folded into Android but that would not happen until 2017 or so.

The Google/ASUS Chromebit is priced at $85 in the US. This stick format device with rotatable connector weighs 75g and is being made available in Cacao Black, Sky Blue or Tangerine Orange. A dedicated charger is provided. Inside the processor is a Rockchip SoC, aided by 2GB of RAM, with 32GB of eMMC storage built-in. Users are probably expected to use Bluetooth keyboards/mice to operate the Chromebit but it does have a USB port so it would be possible to add a hub and plug in multiple peripherals.

What you then have is a ChromeOS machine, similar in operation to one of the early ChromeBox computers. Rather than add it to your TV for media centre duties, which it is capable of, Google expects buyers to seek out Chromebits to "upgrade" old and slow desktop computers to ChromeOS machines. That might sound reasonable but I have two old monitors, neither of which have HDMI sockets and four old keyboards, none of which have USB (or Bluetooth), and a Wireless mouse which was bundled with my laptop and never used. So I couldn't make a new Chromebit-based computer trivially, but am not sure if my old tech stuff is 'typical'.

US customers might be first to get their hands on the Chromebit, at Amazon, Fry’s and Newegg but it is also coming to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK.



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Rather than add it to your TV for media centre duties, which it is capable of, Google expects buyers to seek out Chromebits to “upgrade” old and slow desktop computers to ChromeOS machines. That might sound reasonable but I have two old monitors, neither of which have HDMI sockets and four old keyboards, none of which have USB (or Bluetooth), and a Wireless mouse which was bundled with my laptop and never used. So I couldn't make a new Chromebit-based computer trivially, but am not sure if my old tech stuff is ‘typical’.
Think the mouse & keyboards would be best sent to CeX/skip, but I did a quick look around and you could certainly “enable” the monitors if they support DVI.

There's quite a few HDMI-to-DVI adaptors available, such as this one which is a wallet-friendly £2.50. Then for input I'd pick a Logitech K400+ keyboard/trackpad combo, which PC World has for less than £30.
My old monitors, yes with DVI, will likely go to Gumtree. Three of the four keyboards are Mac classic ones, I was using the ‘Made in Ireland’ Apple Extended Keyboard II with an SVHS cable and USB adapter until recently (on my PC), it's not being thrown out, the Alps switches are very nice. As for Chromebit, I'd rather have a no-name Android box or a Windows HDMI stick attached to the TV. Currently I have a black Now TV box, based on the Roku 3, which is good enough though.
With ChromeOS being dissolved into Android OS next year, don't see the point in this considering Android sticks are available for half that price.
Brewster0101
With ChromeOS being dissolved into Android OS next year, don't see the point in this considering Android sticks are available for half that price.
Good point ;)
Yeah, I actually expect it to at least have some kind of an LCD screen at this pricepoint.