Google has announced the development of a mini Chrome OS dongle that when plugged into your television will transform it into a full Chrome OS PC. The dongle known as a ‘Chromebit’ is rumoured to have a Rockchip RJ3288 using Mali 760 graphics, 2GB of ram, 16GB of storage, 802.11 Wi-Fi and a full-size USB 2 port. You’ll be able to plug it directly into any HDMI socket without any other necessary hardware. It is going to be developed by Asus.
I have a strange feeling this is meant to challenge Intel’s recent announcement of the ‘Intel Compute Stick’ – Which is a similar offering but it’ll be running Windows 8.1 pre-installed or a flavour of Linux.
Google has confirmed that the Chromebit is not a replacement for the Chromecast dongle it currently offers, as they are aimed at different areas of the market, so both products will be readily available. They are hoping the dongle will perform well with schools, small businesses and 3rd world countries because of it’s low cost, and almost zero maintenance, as well as extreme portability.
However Google was quick to add that they will be limited to the US on release with no definitive release date for the EU. Dongle style PC’s are not exactly a new thing. Chinese manufacturers have been making Android based dongles for a while now, but the difference here being that Google have opted to use Chrome OS rather than Android. Google sold approximately 5 million units running ChromeOS over the last 12 months, so some might see this as an opportunity for them to promote and sell the idea of their cloud based operating system
Look out for further news on this one, once they become readily available we’ll be looking to see if we can get our hands on one for an in depth test and review.
Most importantly what do you guys think? Can Google or Intel latch onto a niche part of the market here, or will be another fad that comes and very quickly disappears? – All comments welcomed.