Google just released its new Chromebit CS10 device, an HDMI stick that can transform any external display into a Chrome OS-based PC.
The Chromebit stick, which was announced back in March, is made by ASUS, and currently retails at only $85.
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The device connects to any screen or display that has an HDMI port and transforms it into a Chrome OS personal computer. It is considered to be a cheaper and smaller Chromebook, except that it does not have its own display and keyboard.
Google is pitching the Chromebit as an ideal gadget to be used on TVs, particularly flatscreen LEDs, and the possibility that these can be transformed to working PCs is quite nifty.
However, there may be some problems reading text from a TV that is on the other side of the living room. Fortunately, settings on the Chromebit can be changed to make font size bigger for people who are reading from their couches.
The Chromebit does have a decent set of specifications that let it run like a portable computer. Both Google and ASUS think that that the HDMI stick will work better with a Bluetooth keyboard and a wireless mouse.
The new Google device weighs just 75 grams and packs a Rockchip RK3288-C chipset with four Cortex A17 cores. It has a Mali T764 GPU for discrete graphics processing. This SoC has also been used in ASUS’s recent Chromebooks.
Take a Peak at the powerful Chromebit specifications
Other specs include 2GB RAM, 16GB of NAND solid state storage, Bluetooth 4.0, a single USB 2.0 port, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Unfortunately, the provided HDMI 1.4 is not capable of powering up an entire display.
As a result, the stick requires a separate power adapter.
In spite of the measly storage space, the Chromebit CS10 HDMI stick comes with 100GB of Google Drive storage space for one year.
While the new Google device shows some promising functions, it can only do so much due to its limited processing power. Browsing the Internet and opening some web apps may work seamlessly even with multiple tabs open.
However, sites that use flash players may pose some performance issues for the Chromebit CS10.
In addition, the device would require a reliable Internet connection in order for its users to enjoy its full potential.
Chromebit can run most web apps because it runs on Chrome OS, which means that it really shines in an online setup. It may be left at home as a media center, or at school to be used with kids in an online education setup.
This is not the first time Google has made a drastic but unique move to promote its Chrome OS. Back in 2012, the search engine giant launched the Chromebook, which was originally made by Samsung.
Before Chromebit, there was the Chromebook
It only cost $250 at the time of its launch, and it allowed users to have a PC experience in a slim and lightweight package.
Another attempt by Google is the Chromecast dongle, which allows users to browse the Internet as well as play music and videos on their TVs, using their Android phones and tablets as the remote control. The dongle costs $35.
As for the portable Chrome OS stick, it comes in two color options – “Cacao Black” and “Tangerine Orange,” although a blue color option has been shown on some marketing materials for Chromebit.
For people who are interested in getting the Chromebit CS10, it can be purchased through Amazon, Fry’s, and Newegg. The device is currently available in the U.S. but will soon launch as well in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the U.K.
[Image via Asus USA]