ASUS Chromebit—Chrome OS in HDMI stick. But what's the point?

Awesomesauce, as long as you don't ask too much of it

ASUS Chrome OS Chromebit
ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

ASUS and Google are proud to announce a Chrome OS stick that plugs into a TV or monitor: The Chromebit works via HDMI, like the Intel Compute Stick and others.

The difference here is Chrome OS is a lightweight platform, better suited to the sort of hardware limitations you’ve got to put up with in this form factor, and at this price point.

At $85, it's significantly less expensive than the competition. Does this open up interesting new use cases? Or is it just a race to the bottom?

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers give the idea a whirl. Not to mention: The Good of the One...

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Developing story: Updated 12:52 pm PST with more comment]

Frederic Lardinois gets piggy with it: [You're fired -Ed.]

The Chromebit [is] a full Chrome OS-based computer on [a] 2.6 ounce stick that you can plug into any HDMI port.

It comes with 16GB of onboard...eMMC storage...2GB of RAM [and] a USB port. [It's] Rockchip-based.

Because it’s a full Chrome OS machine, you can pretty much run any web app on it...or maybe a remote connection to a more fully-featured machine.

[It] can turn any screen into a usable desktop.  MORE

Brad Bourque barks, “No frills, no excuses: [It] doesn't disappoint”:

The Chromebit is powered by a Rockchip RK3288...SoC with a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU...paired with a quad-core Mali-T624...GPU.

$85 [is] less than the Windows 10-powered Intel Compute Stick and similar competitors.

[It] includes USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0...802.11ac Wi-Fi [and] an HDMI extender. Power is provided by an AC adapter instead of a USB port.

Performance is in stark contrast to some of the Intel Atom-powered systems. ... This Rockchip processor gives...Atom a run for its money.

At idle it pulls just 1.5 Watts, and hovers around 3.5 Watts under normal use. Stress the Chromebit, and that number rises to just under 8 Watts.

It’s hard to go wrong with this bargain-priced computer.  MORE

Google’s Vidya Nagarajan sounds like a proud parent:

Today we’re introducing a more streamlined console just for digital signs and kiosks...priced at $24 per device per year. [It] offers ongoing reporting that monitors the health of your kiosks and signage.

Single App CDM can be used with a variety of Chrome devices – like the ASUS share relevant content quickly and simply.

Combined with our rich partner ecosystem of...apps from StratosMedia, Telemetry, Arreya, SignageLive, Wondersign, Nutrislice, Chrome Sign builder and many others, we [can] support any scenario.  MORE

But wait. Enough with the back-slapping, already. Javier Pastor is back, to rain on this parade:

[The] Intel Compute Stick and Splendo are two good examples of this kind of...HDMI dongle...miniPC (in this case, based on Windows). Now we’ve got another alternative.

What are the user cases here? If you’re traveling, you’re better served by your own smartphone or tablet. ... As a mediacenter the Chromecast can deliver, and if you want to get a more ambitious desktop [there are] sticks based on Windows.  MORE

And Chris Velazco reckons it’s a matter of expectations:

It's not that powerful, and it's far from perfect, but the Chromebit is just cheap and just good enough to find a home in classrooms and tinkerers' dens.

Buy it to be your kid's first computer, a terminal for Airbnb guests or a way to breathe life into an extra monitor. If you're looking for anything more than that, you'd best look elsewhere.  MORE

More? GiraffeGhost agrees, like, more:

For anything more serious you should probably get an intel compute stick for, like, $40 more. Although it will probably be more of a pain to use.  MORE

Update: This commentator iss cowardly anonymous:

It is great for TSA-regulated travel. Fits in a coat pocket, a camera bag,

No laptop indicate that you have a computer with you.

If they steal it from you, you can easily get another one and not hand anything over.  MORE

But SQLGuru sees a flaw in that argument:

If you don't have a mouse or keyboard, how do you plan on using it when you get to your destination?

Also, with web apps and storage, they don't need your hardware...they just need a warrant provided to Google.  MORE

And nnull isn't impressed:

We've had all these micro computers for over 2 years already. ... You have plenty to choose from (My favorite was the MK808).

What changed? What's so special? Seems Google is way late to the party.  MORE

And Finally...
The Good of the One

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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