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Google Hardware

Google's Chromebit Micro-Computer Launches (techcrunch.com) 60

An anonymous reader writes: Back in March, Google announced the Chromebit, a small computer crammed into an HDMI stick that runs Chrome OS. The device, built by Asus, has now launched for $85. It weighs 75 grams, runs on a Rockchip ARM processor, and includes a USB port. It has 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, and connects via 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. According to Tech Crunch, the Chromebit is not particularly fast, but it's usable for basic tasks. "As long as the work only involves web apps (or maybe a remote connection to a more fully-featured machine), the Chromebit is up for the job and can turn any screen into a usable desktop."
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Google's Chromebit Micro-Computer Launches

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  • They crammed nearly everything else into that connector, why not a power source?
    • The HDMI automotive spec includes power.
      For regular HDMI, I wonder if you could jam some extra electrons through it via power over ethernet. Find the dumbest device that pipes ethernet through HDMI and the dumbest device that does PoE and slap em together.

  • No keyboard, no mouse, no screen ... cheaper to just buy a laptop, or even a full Chromebook.
    • What're you buying for a screen, a 52" Plasma TV?
      • You can buy a chromebook for $159.99. That includes a screen, touchpad, keyboard, wifi, and power supply (battery) that doubles as a UPS, bluetooth, 2 usb ports, hdmi port, audio in/out, takes micro sd cards for extra storage, webcam. In terms of both value for money and usability, the chromebit fails.

        Have fun using the chromebit stick at school, work, or someone else's house - it's not like many people are going to want you to fiddle with their TVs or have monitors just sitting around ready for you to plu

    • But sometimes you dont need a laptop. I was thinking about using this instead of Chromecast and being able to access all my google play + amazon prime movies at the same place. My friend owns a store and he was thinking of using it as a transaction service station.
    • by rsborg ( 111459 )

      No keyboard, no mouse, no screen ... cheaper to just buy a laptop, or even a full Chromebook.

      Except if you already own these - especially in plentiful supply. If your chromebook/laptop keyboard breaks, you just replace it with another cheap one, right? Oh wait, you have to replace/fix the entire unit.

      • No different than having to replace the entire unit if you break your chromebit (or more likely use it if you're carrying it around from place to place), so what's your point?

        Just buy a cheap tablet - you get all that the chromebit offers, plus a touch screen and portability, for $50 bucks.

  • by bradgoodman ( 964302 ) on Tuesday November 17, 2015 @02:53PM (#50949699) Homepage
    I bought my daughter a decent Chromebook (new) for $150. For $85 (as this thing is) - add the cost of of a keyboard and mouse - and you're close to that. I don't think this is going to fly too heavily for $85.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can't stick my Chromebook behind my TV as easily.

      • That's what I was thinking, I'd plug one into my telly, install ServiiGo, and use it to watch the stuff on my media server.

        At least I would if it wasn't so expensive. I've got a Raspberry Pi that can do all that for less than half the price.

    • I feel like the draw here is that you can just put this thing into a port rather than have a notebook hanging around the entertainment center. Same setup, just less bulk and cables floating around, portability if you're traveling. It's niche, but I don't think they have any illusions about that at all.
    • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday November 17, 2015 @03:11PM (#50949805) Journal

      This isn't for a replacement to a Chromebook. This is to run Chrome Apps on your 60" TV

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Tuesday November 17, 2015 @04:32PM (#50950509)

      I am wondering if it can run XBMC. If so that would make it useful as you could control it with an Android phone.

      • Chrome OS is just linux, so yes it can run XBMC. The issue is, can it run it quickly enough to decode high resolution video properly?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, including hardware H.265 (not just H.264) decoding, all the way up to 4K resolutions and full HDMI 2.0 (so yes, 4K@60) support, and even supporting 30-bit "deep color" mode just for gits and shiggles:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockchip_RK3288

          Honestly I'm considering grabbing one as a video-player for one of the Seiki 4K's I picked up back when they were $250, as this looks to be an ideal pair for a 'dumb 4K' TV to give it useful 'smart' features.

          - WolfWings, way too lazy to login to /. in way too ma

      • I am wondering if it can run XBMC. If so that would make it useful as you could control it with an Android phone.

        It can (it's called Kodi now, BTW) but so can a $35 Amazon Fire TV. The fact is that for only half again more money you can get an Intel Compute Stick...

    • by J053 ( 673094 )

      I recommend this: http://www.jide.com/en/mini [jide.com] - it's an Android device with HDMI out, 2X USB, Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth. Works great as a device for Amazon Video/HBO/Hulu (Netflix is broken, but a patch is due within the next week or two). It has a local filesystem, and all the Android apps are available for it.

  • Not worth it (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Not when you can get something like the Kangaroo for $15 more:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/... [newegg.com]

    Has an Intel cpu, 2gb memory, 32gb built in storage and comes with Windows 10 (home) but can run Linux also.

  • There about eleventy-billion VGA displays sitting in closets, storage rooms etc. Our office still uses VGA for everything despite the displays supporting HDMI. A female HDMI to female VGA adapter is about $6 in bulk. Skylake finally dropped support for analog VGA but I suspect these 32 bit stick computers still do VGA out over HDMI. You could really provide some serious value to users with old "garbage" 17" VGA flatscreens that you would otherwise have to pay to get taken away.

  • male genitalia.

    Wonder if there's going to be a chatroulette for Chromebit ?

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday November 17, 2015 @03:42PM (#50950087) Homepage

    The ability to add a USB webcam and USB Microphone. This device would be the PERFECT way to get Google Hangouts into the corperate world of small "Huddle" type meeting rooms.

    Why is it that Apple and Google never ever thinks of the corporate and company uses for their products?

    • ..so there's still the possibility to add a webcam that has a microphone using that (or hook up the keyboard/mouse with that and use a USB webcam) but you're going to need to power. Perhaps for such a setup a Chromebox would be better?

    • It has USB. Plug a in hub (which can also be pocket sized) and you've got four or five USB ports. Of course, some keyboards have a USB hub built-in, so you don't need a separate hub.

    • The ability to add a USB webcam and USB Microphone. This device would be the PERFECT way to get Google Hangouts into the corperate world of small "Huddle" type meeting rooms.

      Perfect? I doubt it. It's kind of low-powered for that application. You can add the webcam and microphone, but I doubt the result would be particularly outstanding.

      Why is it that Apple and Google never ever thinks of the corporate and company uses for their products?

      You mean like Chromebox for Meetings [google.com]? I have this setup [goo.gl] in my home office. Audio and video quality is excellent, automatic integration with Google calendaring is slick, it's very nice. The background photos when not in use are a nice bonus. If you take a look at the photo I linked, you'll notice the on-screen keyboard. That's there only because I

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        $229? The chromebox for meetings START at $999. where are you getting them for $229?

        • $229 is for the Chromebox only, from Google [google.com]. You can actually get the same thing for $150 or so at Newegg, and elsewhere [newegg.com]. The meetings package also includes speaker, microphone, camera and a remote control. I'm not sure why that stuff adds over $700 to the price. I expect you could buy the parts yourself and configure it for considerably less. I'd guess the package price is set based on comparing with competitive options, rather than on the cost of the components. Most companies wouldn't blink at $999 to eq
          • $200 gets you only a lower-powered i3 or Celeron-based Chromebox. The Chromebox for Meetings bundle includes i7-based boxes, which sell for $600-700. So $999 for that plus the peripherals is a fair price for the hardware BUT it is only sold through resellers and includes $250 annual support contract.
  • We've had all these micro computers for over 2 years already running Chrome, linux and now Windows. Just go to Amazon, you have plenty to choose from (My favorite was the MK808). You can run Netflix, hulu, amazon prime, whatever on it just the same. What changed? What's so special? Seems Google is way late to the party on this when there are WAY better offers and devices just on Amazon alone.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Those ship with shitty broken Android releases and that's pretty much all they will run. Don't expect updates, and don't expect any 3rd party system images without a lot of luck and a lot of hacking. And like with every Chinese mystery android device expect pre-loaded malware.

      This ships from google, with chromeOS that will work reliably and will get updates.

      • by nnull ( 1148259 )
        Really? Seem to have plenty of support with quite a lot of devices using the latest android. No need for luck or "a lot of hacking". They all work great for me.
  • crazy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday November 17, 2015 @04:07PM (#50950313) Homepage Journal

    "Don't expect blazing performance from the quad-core Rockchip SoC that powers the device, but it's perfectly usable."

    The device in question is the size of a pack of gum. It's nice to be living in the future.

    • In the future, you're going to get computers as prizes in breakfast cereals. You'll throw them out because your house will be littered with them.

      How relevant!

    • "Don't expect blazing performance from the quad-core Rockchip SoC that powers the device, but it's perfectly usable."

      The device in question is the size of a pack of gum. It's nice to be living in the future.

      No, buying a Quad-Core Rockchip the size of a pack of gum for $85 is living in the past, not the future. I know, because I did it, and I regret the money I spent. It wasn't this model, it was an older one, but their support has been sporadic and annoying and I wish I'd given my money to someone else.

      WTF 5 minutes between comments again? FU /.

  • Why not just buy a Windows 10 stick for about as much? At least Microsoft won't abandon Windows.

  • Sounds like good specs. Any chance this thing can run an X server? Could make any TV network connected computer monitor!

He's dead, Jim.

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