Extra-tiny, extra-cheap computers have been carving out a niche for themselves in the past several years, highlighted by the success of Intel’s Compute Sticks and a couple research projects that ask “just how small can we get a full computer?” The answer has been a category of sticks that you can plug into your TV, screen, or (Inception-like) into your favorite laptop to turn any of them into a basic computer: and the Chromebit is one of the strongest new contenders.
A project between Google and Asus, these Chromebits are equipped with enough tech to turn any screen with an HDMI port into a Chrome-fueled mini-PC. Using the Chrome OS, this mini-PC will allow you to wirelessly connect a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, run any of the expected Chrome apps, and do ordinary computer things. There’s even one little USB port for connected wired devices like external hard drives, useful when creating a full computer set-up.
On the inside you get 2GB of RAM, 16GB of eMMC storage, and a RockChip 3288-C for a processor. Hey, when you fit a computer into a dongle, you can’t expect that most dazzling specs, but these do get the job done for a variety of app tasks and information sharing – as well as some media-centric capabilities.
The Chromebit was announced some time ago as the next step in the evolution of stick PCs, but release dates have been a bit iffy: It appears that Google and Asus were waiting for the holiday buying mood to hit before releasing the product for sale. computer, which is very attractive pricing compared to models like the Compute Sticks, which tend to sell near or over $100.
Now the question is: “Is the Chromebit too late?” The average consumer has little need for a mini-PC if they already have a smart TV, a media dongle, or one of the other many smart device electronics in the entertainment ecosystem. Sticks like the Chromebit can help address student or office needs more easily, but will this be enough to declare the model a success?