Talking tech since 2003

On Tuesday, Google announced a batch of cheap new Chrome OS devices that might make even awesome looking devices like Microsoft’s Surface 3 or Apple’s rumored iPad Pro pretty much irrelevant. Priced to move and easy to use, there are three new Chromebooks to choose from without breaking the bank—and a brand new Chrome OS device called the Chromebit that is such a good idea, it’s a wonder no one’s thought of it until now.

Crack Open a Good Chromebook

The new Chromebook Flip from Asus.

The post links to two new Chromebooks from Chinese tech companies Haier and Hisense that are available for pre-ordering from Amazon and Walmart, respectively, for $149 each. Both have pretty similar specs: 11.6-inch screens, Rockchip RK3288 quad-core CPUs, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB or flash memory. Neither of these devices will impress anyone. But at under $200 apiece, that’s not the point. They’re here to let you get your work done using Google Drive, and then maybe play Angry Birds or watch a movie on Netflix.

Meanwhile, Asus has the new Chromebook Flip, an all-metal touchscreen-and-keyboard laptop that can rest on its keyboard like a stand if you want a more tablet-like experience. Google says that it’s only 15mm thin and weighs under two pounds. Priced at $249, it’s not clear what kind of specs it has under the hood, but chances seem good that they’ll be similar (maybe a little better) than the ones from Haier and Hisense.

Champing at the Chromebit

That’s not all Asus has on offer with Chrome OS. For only a hundred bucks, you’ll soon be able to buy a Chromebit, “a full computer” that plugs right into an HDMI port and has support for Bluetooth connected accessories. Again, like the Chromebook Flip, it’s not clear what kinds of specs live inside the Chromebit, like internal storage or RAM and all that good stuff. But there’s no reason it shouldn’t be more than enough to make things work well. For a hundred dollars, the Chromebit can pack in a lot of hardware, since it has no screen to power on its own.

Considering the recent craze of media streaming sticks, it’s a wonder this hasn’t happened yet before. Well, okay, it did happen in the form of the GameStick, an Android microconsole that found funding via Kickstarter a couple of years ago. But this is the first such device that might actually be useful, since it runs Chrome OS and isn’t simply a vehicle for playing crappy games on a TV.

Look for all of these Chrome OS computers to hit later this year. While these Chromebooks and Chromebits aren’t nearly as polished or exciting as the Surface 3, there are tons of users who don’t need them to be.

[Official Chrome Blog: More Chromebooks, for Everyone]

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