‘Computer on a stick’ launched by Google & Asus

‘Computer on a stick’ launched by Google & Asus

Google and Taiwan's Asus are launching a "computer on a stick" which can plug into a display to turn it into a PC.

                                                   Image credit: Matt Weinberger

The Asus Chromebit, announced by Google today, packs a lot of computing power into a little itty bitty form factor and a sub-$100 price point: Plug this stick into any display with an HDMI port, like most big-screen TVs nowadays have, and suddenly you have a Google Chrome desktop at your disposal.

It has uses limited only by your imagination. Like:

-Upgrade an existing PC by plugging this into the monitor.

-Use it for art projects or to build interactive displays using cheap TVs.

Google cites the example of a retail store that can use it to manage all of their digital signs, changing a sale on shorts to a sale on umbrellas instantly once it starts to rain. Google said in a blog post that the Asus Chromebit would be arriving mid-year with a low price tag. "Smaller than a candy bar, the Chromebit is a full computer that will be available for less than $100," Google said.

"By simply plugging this device into any display, you can turn it into a computer. It's the perfect upgrade for an existing desktop and will be really useful for schools and businesses." The statement offered no other details on the device, but Google also announced its lowest-cost Chromebook laptop computers at $149 in partnership with Chinese electronic groups Haier and Hisense.

With a display of 11.6 inches, the Haier computer is being sold through Amazon and the Hisense PC through Walmart. Google has produced Chrome devices with other manufacturers including Acer, Lenovo, Dell and LG. Intel's soon-to-arrive $149 Compute Stick is going to be the most direct competitor to Chromebits, running Windows 8.1. Google's pitch has always been that the browser-based Chrome OS devices is the better, faster and simpler for low-horsepower computers like these sticks, and Windows can't keep up. Not to mention that the Asus Chromebit will be at least (they haven't announced final pricing yet) $50 cheaper.

Either way, the squeeze is on. Whoever can do more computing with less computer at the cheaper price point is poised to win this brewing tiny device war, and the Asus Chromebit is, at the very least, a shot across Microsoft's bow. (Source: Google)


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