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Google Portables Technology

Google Unveils the Chromebit: an HDMI Chromebook Dongle 50

An anonymous reader writes: Today Google unveiled a new device: the Chromebit. It's a small compute stick that contains the Rockchip 3288 processor, 2GB RAM, and 16GB of storage — much like a low-end Chromebook. It connects to a TV or monitor through an HDMI port. (It also has a USB port for power and plugging in peripherals.) Google says the Chromebit is their solution for turning any display into a computer, and it will cost under $100. Google also announced a couple of new Chromebooks as well. Haier and Hisense models will cost $150, and an ASUS model with a rotating display will cost $250.
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Google Unveils the Chromebit: an HDMI Chromebook Dongle

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  • If it does not do transcoding, what is the advantage regarding a smartphone plus a Chromecast? Or a Smartphone plus an HDMI dongle? I still fail to see the advantage of ChromeOs.
    • If it does not do transcoding, what is the advantage regarding a smartphone plus a Chromecast?

      The price?

    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2015 @11:39PM (#49383677) Journal

      It's more convenient to plug in a dongle and be done than to plug in a dongle, connect a smartphone, and then hope your application works with the Chromecast. A real hdmi connection will outperform the Chromecast screencasting by a couple orders of magnitude. Since it's Chromebook-like hardware, it'll run Ubuntu or other Linux - the same OS running on everything from desktops and radios to super computers. Programs can be written in any language. It has full remote management capability (ssh etc.) so you can set it up and everything from your desktop, using the same methods you use to manage servers over a network, unlike a smartphone.

      I have one use-case right away. We want to hang a monitor or TV on the wall as a kind of digital bulletin board that has constant updates. This device would be perfect. We COULD use a smartphone and a dongle, but just a dongle (no smartphone needed) makes it simpler, and running Linux on the dongle means it's more powerful and flexible- I can program it in Perl, C, Ruby, or PHP rather than being forced to write an Android app in Java.

      • At "sub $100" what is it's advantage over a $35 Rasberry pi 2?

      • by unrtst ( 777550 )

        ... or you can just use any of the already available in much cheaper HDMI dongles and install linux on them. For example, here's one way to do it: [] []

        You can get an RK3188 based HDMI stick on amazon for $40 - $50 (I didn't spend much time searching... I'm sure there are cheaper ones and beefier and more expensive ones). Alibaba has them much cheaper too, if you're willing to wait for it.

        • I'll mention to the IT department that they could save $30 by buying a generic stick from a random Chinese guy rather than buying a popular product form the third-largest company in the world.

          If you're a hobbiest playing around, seeing what you can do with your new toy, you might want to save that $30. If you're a business spending $100 / hour to employ someone to set it up and maintain it, that Chinese stick is much more expensive. It's much less expensive to get something well documented and supported by

  • Well I personally have no use cases for something like this, but thinking about the economic low end I see this as a win. There are a lot more HDMI capable TV's than there are PC's, so if they can create a good input device / internet solution, I'd consider this a win. The problem is that inputs will most likely be non-ideal and internet's expensive (unless you're 'sharing' a neighbors connection). I wish em' luck finding new ways of getting computing resources into the hands of everyone though.

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

      For this exact thing, I agree with you. But it's hinting at something I definitely want to see: a computer in my pocket that can connect and conform to any screen/input available.

      While I'm out and about, I attach it to a tablet-sized dumb touchscreen (that costs much less than tablets do today) and jot down some notes. Then when I get home, I attach it to a 24" monitor (or two) with mouse and keyboard. I start where I left off, and everything is the same except the UI has adapted. Once I'm done with my

      • by Anonymous Coward

        While I'm out and about, I attach it to a tablet-sized dumb touchscreen (that costs much less than tablets do today) and jot down some notes.

        Motorola tried a similar thing with the ability to attach your smartphone to a dumb terminal, the problem was that without the smartphone attached you just had this useless terminal that you then had to carry and if you broke your smartphone you also broke your laptop.

        and everything is the same except the UI has adapted

        Or you could just have a program appropriate to the device on each device and sync the data between them through a USB stick or the internet. One of the biggest problems with your idea is that if you lose or break that device you lose everythi

  • Remember kids, just like all other dates, April 1st comes to Australia earlier than to most other countries - almost a whole day earlier than the U.S.
  • Meh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31, 2015 @08:40PM (#49382903)

    Go on Aliexpress and search for "Android Mini PC" and you will find tons of these. These specs are fairly standard for that price. $100 for 2G/16G with hardware H.265 4k decoding.

    Id rather have Android than ChromeOs.

  • Will it be able to access my Windows NAS (which coincidentally would be maybe 3 inches from the stick) to stream movies and/or music? Looking at WDTV now (, but it's lack of Netflix is disturbing.
    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      Of course you can. This is a mini-PC running a "real" Linux, not just android, and certainly not a chromecast dongle.
      Linux uses SAMBA to access Windows shares.
      These would make a great HTPC. You should be able to run a DLNA client or server. And Netflix will work too.

      • I though Netflix already works with Chromecast. So let me focus on other cases. I am worried that the Chromebit might not have enough muscle to play anything but H264 level 4.1 (Max level used in Blurays), as many other HW decoders have been doing in the past. Forget about higher H264 levels, or even H265 (not sure if there will be discrimination here). And I will not get into the discussion about 10b per channel video that is so popular with fansubbed anime these days.
        With no specs available, I am not con
      • no, it will not make a great htpc.

        its not open, no one can trust anything google does and there will be a catch, and then it will be eol'd and abandoned.

        have people really not been paying attention to all the things google has lost interest in, over time? why would this be any different?

        they are not a reliable vendor of anything. they change courses and leave you stranded. and there is always the spying, spying, spying.

        I'd never buy any more google based hardware. that would be stupid!

        • Not sure if you've wandered over to the Microsoft Privacy Policy: [] but they collect info about you too.

          Not really sure if you're a Microsoft employee, but it looks like one or two have visited based on some of the comments I see here. People rambling on about Google spying as if no other web service collects data about its users. At the same time try to lift up Microsoft as if they're the bastion of hope for a 100% private internet when they are really doing the same thin
        • by quenda ( 644621 )

          Wow, on what do you base that rant?
          I've been using a current Chrome-OS device (ASUS Chromebox) and it makes a great desktop and HTPC.
          You can run Ubuntu in a chroot, feels like native.
          Or if you want to wipe chrome-os, you can install Linux native. No hack needed, just switch to developer mode.
          This is not Android.

          Do you have some rational reason to believe the new device will be locked down? No developer mode?

  • If it also replaces chromecast by accepting screencasts from Android devices, then I'm in. I was going to buy a Razer Forge, but that was supposed to be out already and it isn't, so I guess Razer just sucks eggs like usual

  • At this point, why have both? Could you not just extend the ChromeCast to have the ChromeBit's features?

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan