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01 December 2015
The Age of Chromebit

November saw the release of Chromebit: a computer not much larger than a memory stick running Chrome OS. It’s only mini but it’s a great piece of kit for mobile working, and one that has begun to create waves in the market.

In the past we’ve assumed we’d all replace computers with our phones, which to some extent has happened. We use them for email, video, social networking and with Google Apps we can even open up and edit docs and sheets. A huge amount of work can be done from our phone, so why the need to champion a wholly new device?

Well there’s always been a lot of love for miniature hardware so we can see why stick PCs would pique people’s interest. By comparison have you seen the iPhone 6? You could surf on it! Rather than size however, we posit that the interest surrounding Chromebit is about cost, as it so often is with such things. Consider big organisations like schools and universities; how many leftover monitors are there sitting in storage? Without the funds to update to a swish, new system, they’re left to take up space. That is until Chromebit which revitalises old monitors by simply plugging in to an HDMI slot, adding a keyboard/mouse and you’ve got yourself a ChromeOS computer. While it might not challenge Macs or Dells in terms of speed and storage, they’re perfect for organisations looking to utilise the Cloud where the budget just isn’t there for significant IT spend.

In the same way imagine the potential for these devices in developing countries. Lightweight and portable, the fact that they cost south of $100 means they can easily travel to startups and organisations learning on their feet without masses of financial support. Easy access to Chrome allows them to interact with other businesses and compete in an arena that would otherwise be out of reach. A vote for Chromebit is a vote for equal opportunities!

So Google for Work allows us to work at any time and in any place, right? Then essentially Chromebit is built for purpose, just with the extra mouse weight shaved off. Still some detractors have taken issue with this lack of equipment, deeming access to the Cloud not enough to make the stick PC relevant. However, as the team at C Net so succinctly put, ‘the argument for the utility of an online-only computer is a persuasive one’. For the price, access to Chrome seems enough of a win.
We can’t yet call it but we’re fascinated to watch the trajectory of USB-based OSs.They’ll either be the future of the modern workforce or gone in a year’s time. Place your bets now.

The ASUS Chromebit.