Asus has developed the Chromebit, an affordable and ultra-mobile solution that brings the power of a PC with the Chrome OS to any screen with an HDMI port. The new dongle is due to go on sale this summer for less than $100.
WiFi and Bluetooth compatible, Chromebit is equipped with a processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and even its own USB port. The device echoes the concept of the Intel Compute Stick, which also acts as a mini computer (with Windows 8.1 or Linux) to be plugged into an HDMI port on any monitor or TV. A keyboard can be connected by Bluetooth or through the dongle's USB port, providing a complete PC setup.
Chromebit is also the logical follow-up to Chromecast, which brings content from a PC, smartphone or tablet with any operating system directly to the TV (streaming or downloaded videos, photos, games, etc.). Chromecast was launched in 2013.
The Chromebook range
In development at Google since 2009, the Chrome OS is a fairly bare-bones operating system based exclusively on Google's web apps including Gmail, Drive, YouTube and of course Chrome. Since 2011, the software has been delivered with a range of dedicated devices (Chromebooks) developed by Google and its manufacturing partners.
Altogether, Google has introduced a total of 18 models from nine different brands (Asus, Acer, Dell, Google, HP, Lenovo, LG, Samsung and Toshiba) in the US, many of which are also available abroad.
In the future, Google is expected to expand the line with a new 2-in-1 Chromebook, which would be halfway between a Chrome OS notebook and an Android tablet.
Available online, Chromebooks are now also sold at the first brick-and-mortar Google Shop, which opened recently in London. Two others are expected to open before the end of this year.