Google announces the Chromebit, an easy way to bring Chrome OS to your TV

by: Jimmy WestenbergMarch 31, 2015

Group_Asus_Chromestick_V1 (1)_1000

Google has just announced a new and affordable way to bring Chrome OS to your television. The Chromebit, which is essentially a Chromebook packed into an HDMI dongle, will turn your TV into a fully-functional computer for a pretty low cost.

The first Chromebit device is manufactured by Asus and actually packs quite the punch. It has a Rockchip 3288 ARM Cortex-A17 processor, 2GB of RAM, a Mali 760 GPU, 16GB of internal storage, one USB port, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11ac. The device is a bit bigger than a Chromecast, but the Chromebit actually swivels around allowing you to hide the device from sticking out of the side of your television. Google says the device will become available sometime later this summer for less than $100 in silver, blue and orange variants. This first generation device is still in testing, so the company couldn’t comment on its battery life quite yet.

The dongle made by Asus is just the first of many that will eventually make their way to market, though. Google says its hoping other manufacturers will jump on board, so we’ll likely see a few more of these devices launch with varying price points and different features sometime in the next few months.

So what do you think? Are you interested in the Chromebit?

  • Mayoo

    3 colors! Yay! How often do you see your Chromecast? Point has been made.

  • Ben

    Battery life? Its a dongle! XD

    • Erik Patrón

      Well it is posible that it needs extra energy because it’s a whole computer with bluetooth and wifi. Probably the additional 5v from a USB can’t power the whole thing, dont forget that the Cortex-A17 has 4 cores. Still weird for a dongle :/

      • MrMagoo

        That processor with wifi and bluetooth has been running in tablets, android TV sticks( which I have one ) and others for quite a few years. Works just fine with my TV USB quite nice actually. The Graphics in this Chomebit thing have been bumped quite a bit though. Mine only has a Mali450 GPU.

        • Erik Patrón

          Well, that processor, the Cortex A-17 was announced last year as replacement for the A-12. The first devices using this processor are still being announced for this year. The A-17 is more energy efficient but is expected to have higher energy peaks as it is considerably more powerful.

      • gosbiker

        Would have thought it would have an external mains power source like the chromecast does

        • MrMagoo

          Well I’m sure it does. I’m sure it has a charging port. You could just keep it plugged in.

      • So, where’s the ‘Holy Grail!’ USB type C?

    • abqnm

      Or its meant to be portable, so you can take it with you and simply plug it in to any HDMI port with nothing else needed.

      So instead of carrying a Chromebook, you can just carry the tiny (compared to the Chromebook) dongle and charge it as needed.

      • quoderit

        No only very new HDMI 2.0 ports provide this and barely any monitors have this so it would be ridiculous to rely on this as the main power source

    • Lisandro O Oocks

      Right. My guess is you’ll have to give it some kind of constant energy source like you would do to the Chromecast

      • Dominik Pritchett

        I doubt HDMI ports have enough power to charge it or keep it running.

      • Elias

        What about just using two USB ports to power the thing?

    • Erik Patrón

      i would imagine the battery will recharge trough the HDMI when not in use… maybe?

      • Angel Leon

        Doubt it. Look at the Chromecast

  • toomuchgame441

    Hmm… Not bad at all, very interesting, but something I doubt I’d use. I’ll just jump on my chromebook for browsing, not my TV

  • Alex

    Battery life? No power over HDMI or included USB power adapter?

    • Jimmy Westenberg

      Not sure if Google is including a power adaptor or not… I’m assuming yes. There is a MicroUSB port to plug the device in, and Google has told other sources that the device will last all day on a single charge. Google’s release was unclear whether or not the device will need to charge or just stay plugged in at all times. We’re looking into it. :)

  • Torben Buck

    not real.

  • Navi

    April fool

    • YeOldeGoat

      when Google does an april fools joke, you will know…

    • Lisandro O Oocks

      But it’s March 31 on my calendar??

  • Bradley Uffner

    Ahh, the day each year the internet becomes useless. Now expanded to 2 days to try and catch you off guard.

  • playingwithplato

    Joke from the Googsters

  • John Doe

    Happy Early April Fools!! lol

  • Paul M

    bit pricey, $100, considering you can buy a complete Atom based tablet for that.

  • wat

    Price is high, there are far cheaper Android sticks and boxes with same specs or better.

    • Chong Wen Hao

      This is not android. This is Chrome OS. It turns your TV into a computer and not a smart tv.

      • wat

        “A computer” because it can browse the web and use Google docs? Note: So can an Android stick/box and much, much, much more. Android is more of a computer than Chrome is.

        • Chong Wen Hao

          It is not whether it can do it or not but how well it does it. The experience you get is really different. It is like using a surface pro. It looks like a tablet but the experience is not tablet experience at all. And which type of android stick are you talking about? There are those that have custom UI for TV and there are some that are like the normal android on phones and tablet.

  • Joshua Stevenson

    Huh? how do you operate it?

  • Johan

    I do not care whether this is a joke or not. Chrome OS should be the joke in focus. Chrome OS (computer) is to Android (mobile) as Windows RT (mobile) is to full Windows (computer). They are just bad compromises, leaving out key features to fit a new format.
    Google should learn from Microsoft, who discontinued RT to make the coming full version of Windows (10) compatible with both computers and mobile devices, by making it adaptable to different input methods, to create a more unified experience.
    The weird thing is that Android already does this by being compatible with an external mouse and keyboard. So well that I am in fact using my phone as my main computer, by also connecting it to my TV.
    It will not replace a powerful desktop PC if that is what you need. However, for 99% of the population (me included) a powerful Android phone will be more than enough to handle anything they can imagine doing with a PC. Especially if that PC is a Chromebook.
    So why exactly do we need Chrome OS?
    Atleast Microsoft had a reason for having the RT version of Windows. Since the full version was too demanding on the limited hardware in mobile devices.
    Android never had this problem, since it was designed specifically for this.
    As far as I know Chrome OS is not better suited for any level of hardware.
    So what is it Chrome OS does, that Android does not? Because I can think of a lot of things that Android does, that Chrome OS does not.
    Again: Why exactly do we need Chrome OS and a segregated, instead of a unified experience?

    • AbbyZFresh

      Android is a mobile OS. Stop comparing it to Windows.

      Even if it gets tailored for PCs, just like Windows, Android is a memory hog. That’s where Chrome OS(and Windows 10) comes in. They’re going to be more lightweight.

      • Johan

        I am not comparing it directly with Windows. I am comparing the relation that Chrome OS has to Android with the relation that Windows RT has to full Windows. I am also comparing how well Android would do on hardware adapted for Windows to how poorly Windows would do on hardware adapted for Android.

        How well Windows function on a PC is usually more reliant on the hardware, while the hardware in a mobile device usually is more reliant on how well Android function. In other words: you increase the hardware resources in a PC, while you decrease resource consumption in Android’s software. This usually means that Android easily can run on hardware adapted for Windows, while Windows (not counting W10) is not near capable of running on hardware adapted for Android.
        In which world is Android even remotely enough of a “memory hog” to cause a problem on PC hardware, even if that PC is a Chromebook? You have to try hard to fill 2 gb of RAM with Android.
        Even if that was a problem, RAM is probably the cheapest and easiest hardware to expand.
        That Chrome OS also is supposed to be more lightweight than Windows, I understand. That Chrome OS is supposed to be more lightweight than Android is news to me.
        In what why is it that?
        Why does Google not attempt to scrap Android in favour of adapting Chrome OS for multiple platforms in that case?

  • Piotr Bagniewski

    April 1!

    • abqnm

      I’m actually thinking this is real. It was announced on the same page as the 3 new Chromebooks, which have actual product pages at Amazon and Walmart taking pre-orders.

      Now the new Smartbox by Inbox by Gmail by Google is definitely a joke.

  • crutchcorn

    Now that’s a great idea!

  • dumdedumdum

    why do people say “price point” instead of just “price?”

  • REimund

    Google? Never!