To further place their stamp on mobility, Google has unveiled a few new devices that look to extend the usage of what is quickly becoming one of the most popular mobile platforms on the planet. But this time around, Google isn't just content with the standard Chromebook. Instead, the search juggernaut is adding a few new pieces to their "world domination" puzzle. Let's take a look at each and see what they add to the Google arsenal.
Chrome on a stick (called the Chromebit). These will be sub-$100.00 usb devices that plug into a TVs (or displays) HDMI port to turn that device into full-blown Chrome OS computer. The Chromebit (Figure A) is created by Asus and comes equipped with a Rockchip RK3288 processor. This isn't a new idea. You can already by USB devices that turn a display into a full-blown Windows or Linux machine. The biggest difference, from my perspective, is that Chrome is far lighter weight than the other platforms, so it should be a much more efficient experience.
But if the chip and the OS aren't enough to make the package attractive, check out the full specs:
- 2GB of RAM
- 16GB of solid state storage
- 2x2 dual-band 802.11ac WiFi
- Bluetooth 4.0
- A single full-size USB 2.0 port
Now that's pretty impressive list of specs for a dongle PC. And since this is ChromeOS, you can quickly sign into your Google account and work directly from Google Drive, giving you a sizable cloud storage solution.
Chromebits should be available summer 2015.
Asus Chromebook Flip
There has yet to be a Chromebook tablet released. The Asus Chromebook Flip is going to be able to fill that gap. The touchscreen-enabled Flip can be used in either laptop or tablet mode.
Retailing for around $249.00 USD, the Flip will include a 10.1 inch display, is .6 inches thick, and weighs under 2 pounds. There will be two models:
- $249.00 model—2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage
- $279.00 model—4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage
Both models feature:
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 1280 x 800 pixel display
- Up to 10 hours of battery life
If you've been anxiously waiting for a ChromeOS tablet, the Flip should serve you well.
That's right. Cheap. If you thought the standard Chromebook fare was already inexpensive, two companies plan to release $149.00 Chromebooks. The Haier Chromebook 11 (available for pre-order on Amazon) and the Hisense Chromebook (available for pre-order from Walmart) will be offering up decent spec'd laptops at very low prices. You'll find a lot of plastic and less-than-stellar displays, but if you're looking for bargain basement mobile devices, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything cheaper.
Finally, in the mix of cheap Chromebooks, Asus plans to release the $169.00 USD Chromebook C201. The C201 features:
- Rockchip® quad-core processor
- Either 2GB/4GB RAM
- WiFi 802.11ac
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 13 hours of battery life
The battery life of the C201 alone should appeal to anyone looking for a mobile device that can go the distance without needing a charge.
This C201 will be available on Amazon in May, 2015.
Google continues to up the ante with newer and more imaginative ChromeOS devices. With the addition of the Chromebit and the Chromebook Flip, the ChromeOS ecosystem becomes even more flexible and powerful.
Has Google enticed you to migrate to ChromeOS? If not, will any of these devices do the trick?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.