After a brief announcement earlier this year, ASUS and Google has finally launched the Chromebit, a tiny HDMI stick that essentially turns any HDMI display into a working PC running on ChromeOS.
Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen operating systems on sticks, but the Chromebit is something more than just a stick with a lightweight OS slapped inside. The Chromebit comes with ChromeOS, the same operating system which powers Google’s many Chromebooks and Chromebox’s.
Why is that such a big deal? Well out of the box users will be able to plug it in and get going without the need for any knowledge of shell commands, such as those needed for Linux builds in order to install certain applications. It’ll come with the Chrome Store as well as Chrome, Google Docs, and more all ready for you to use.
The Chromebit costs $85 and weighs just 75 grams. It comes with 16GB storage and 2GB RAM. It resembles a much chunkier version of Google’s first Chromecast, but with one main difference, it comes with a USB port allowing you to add USB peripherals to the device, or if you have a USB hub, multiple devices.
As it comes with Bluetooth, you’ll be able to pair your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to the device so you can use it as you would any other computer. It’ll also let you run any web-app on it too, so you can play movies and TV shows from Google Play, Netflix or Hulu, to name a few.
It could essentially act as a media center in your home, but would likely more be suited in a school, enterprise, or work environment. Essentially it’s a fairly affordable and minimal way for users to create a fully working PC terminal without additional hardware. It can also remotely connect to a much more powerful system if you so wish using Chrome Remote Desktop.
The device will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK. Google for Work and Education customers can also opt to add a new single-app kiosk mode option for $24 per user, a year if they so wish too.
Though it won’t likely be your next big PC purchase, it’s a perfect way to provide options to those who need a lightweight minimal PC to run simple web apps.