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Google Chromebit packs an entire Chrome OS computer into an HDMI stick

Google has a new type of Chrome OS device, one that's designed to make it easier and more discreet than ever to hook up a TV. It's called Chromebit, and it's a complete Chrome OS computer in an HDMI stick about the size of a candybar.

Chromebit is manufactured by Asus and packs inside a quad-core Rockchip 3288 ARCM Cortext-A17 processor with an ARM Mali 760 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a USB port, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.0. The thing even has a swivel hinge it so you can turn and twist the stick so it's not sticking straight out from the back or side of your TV. You'll need to provide a mouse and keyboard to make it all work, naturally.

Then there's the question of price, which is actually quite reasonable: $100, and launching this summer. And this is only the first Chromebit — Google expects other manufacturers to start making similar HDMI Chrome OS dongles as well. Chromebit is going up against Intel's $150 Compute Stick, which puts a Windows 8.1 PC into an HDMI stick, and any number of Android-powered HDMI sticks, not to mention an array of Chrome OS-powered desktop mini-boxes.

It does make for an interesting ecosystem for Google. Chromebit joins the Chromecast streaming dongle as well as Android TV-powered dongles and televisions in Google's living room line-up. So you could, in theory, plug a Chrome stick into your Android television. It's a wild world we live in.

Source: Google

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm (the old one), and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

120 Comments
  • I wonder how you pair a mouse /keyboard to it.. Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • It has Bluetooth I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • I wonder if you have to be an ass all the time.
  • He wasn't. A question was asked. He provided the answer of, "it has Bluetooth." It's just unfortunate (or hilarious) that his signature fits in like it does.
  • That last part is his signature. A sad (but kind of funny) coincidence Posted via the Android Central App
  • Signatures should be displayed in a smaller font to separate them from the content of the message,
  • Yeah I guess you're right. Signature ahead: No you are not. You're an idiot
  • YES! Seriously, we need this. Or at least a different color, or some sort of line in between the comment and signature.
  • look out the signature police has spoken
  • It's funny because he didn't read (or can't read, illiterate? ) the comment. How can you PAIR a Bluetooth device without any action first? Once you plug it into the TV, how do you navigate to the Bluetooth settings to pair the keyboard and mouse? I thought someone answered it below but they didn't after a second read. Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • also has a usb...
  • So usb dongle to get you going? Okay, yeah.. Let's go with that. Thanks Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • Funny...but not nise. Be nise.
  • The nursing agency? Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Hahaha....no fuzzylumpkin. I was making a funny myself.
  • No shit. How do you PAIR it? Bluetooth doesn't magically pair itself Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • Bluetooth or the usb port.
  • Has anyone in here used Bluetooth before? How can you PAIR it? Once it's plugged in, how would you control it to pair a mouse to it? Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • Its quite easy really, you plug the chromebit into the TV and turn the TV on. When you pair the keyboard, the code is displayed on the TV and you enter it on the keyboard. You then pair the mouse. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Interesting.. I never paired in that way. There was always a control device and a device to be paired. It always required manual pairing, never just displayed the pairing code without an action first. Thanks. Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • Um, thru Bluetooth since obviously there's no USB dangle on it sir..there's quite a few keyboard/mouse combos that support Bluetooth. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "...16GB of storage, a USB port, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.0." so there is USB hidden in that tiny stick somewhere (I have an idea of where)
  • $150 / £100 / €93. Very steep for what is essentially the size of a ChromeCast.
  • It's $100; it's Intel's that is $150. What does the price have to do with it being the size of a ChromeCast?
  • Given how much more storage and power the SoC provides I disagree... Though it would be better if they priced it at $80 or so instead of $100.
  • The Google article actually says it will be available for LESS than $100...so maybe its $99 ;p
  • Does size really matter??
  • I know right? Come to think of it the chromecast is ridiculously over priced! It's the same size as a box of matches, which I can get for 20p! ;p Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • The size in these pictures is actually deceiving... They are larger than a Chromecast, not substantially, but they are larger. Gizmodo has some pictures of a person holding one. http://gizmodo.com/googles-chromebit-turns-any-tv-into-a-chrome-pc-for-u... I know its not really the point you were trying to make, but I was curious about size as well so I thought I'd share.
  • so a diamond should cost the same as a piece of gum? this is a great addition to Google's arsenal and will be an inexpensive device to add to my Chromecast Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wanna test this out as a streaming PC plugged into an HDTV.
  • I might get one for the same idea, though it might conflict with what my Chromecast is for. Might plug it into my own HDMI monitor instead...
  • It'd be great for hotels. You can't usually use a Chromecast on hotel wifi, but this wouldn't have the same limitations that the Chromecast has. Edit: I didn't really think that through. It would require carrying a Bluetooth keyboard, which would be a pain in the butt. Posted via my Z3 Compact because I have tiny little baby hands
  • Would it not be able to pair with an Android phone or tablet out of the box since it's Chrome OS?
  • You could always go with Microsoft's foldable keyboards.
  • https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co...
  • The Amazon Fire Stick is now updating to be able to sign into hotel wifi. Unfortunately, so many hotels have crappy wifi that can barely support streaming in 480p, let alone the 720p or 1080p necessary to make it look good on a TV.
  • Wow....the possibilities Posted via Android Central App
  • I was considering a Chromebox for this very purpose.. Good thing I never bought Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • For what purpose? A Chromecast is pretty much exclusively a media player. Besides playing media and mirroring your device's display on a Chromecast, there's not really any more the Chromecast can do.
  • Good think he said chromebox.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • When will I be available and how much will it cost Posted via the Android Central App
  • First sentence in the 2nd to last paragraph : "Then there's the question of price, which is actually quite reasonable: $100, and launching this summer." Posted via the Android Central App
  • If only there was an article that discusses its price and availability, preferably somewhere on this page. Damn you, Android Central!
  • How cool would it be to connect it to an Android tablet for display/keyboard/mouse?
  • You can really just hook up a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse directly to an Android tablet have just as much (if not more) functionality.
  • I'm always a little bit confused by people that think android has more functionality than chrome. Maybe games but that's about it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Or, you could just turn off all your devices, go outside, lie in the grass, and watch the clouds pass...
  • I have it on good authority that there are bears outside.
  • Can confirm.
    Source: I went outside once.
  • I forgot owning computers and enjoying nature are mutually exclusive.
  • game theory bro
  • You're not from around these parts, are you? :)
  • ...and spiders. You forgot Spiders. Spring time!
  • I have no use for this but I want one!
  • That sums up my reaction exactly. It was basically "I need to get this! Wait, what would I actually use it for? Whatever, I'm still buying it."
  • Same here! Gotta find some use for it somehow.. :-)
  • Yeah, this thing just triggered the old "please take my money" gene. Now I just need to convince the GF that I won it in a contest. That is not going to be easy.
  • same, it's cool and it's cheap and I want one. I'll figure out what to use it for when I get it. there are some things I can't watch on Chromecast, like TV content on a&e/discovery, etc ... I can go to their webpage and stream from the chromebit so I can watch or on my TV instead of laptop Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm so buying a Bit :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Seeing as they have done the same thing with android and even full windows computers I don't see how this is very impressive. I like the design though but chrome OS used for my TV seems really dumb.
  • Meh. The only thought going through my head is "can I use it as a much faster ChromeCast with wireless a/c?"
  • Good thing I held out on getting a streaming device. I was highly interested in getting Windows stick but the Chrome stick will most likely have Google bundled add-ons plus the lower price is enticing and I'm a fan of ASUS hardware too
  • I'm possibly a bit naive, but to me, this is incredible! I'd never heard of the Compute Stick either. Amazing stuff!
  • This would be awesome if I could use it on an existing PC as an alternate OS besides Windows. Posted via the Android Central App on my DROID Turbo
  • Possible to put linux on it so it can run Kodi? then just add any bluetooth remote! this thing can be killer machine
  • Can't you already do that with any of the Android sticks on the market?
  • This is April fool
  • Actually, it is March 31
  • Not in Australia.
  • Finally, someone gets it! Way to go, here's a cookie! 800 retarted coments later.
  • This is the Chrome OS dream. Computing everywhere. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have a Chromecast so probably have no use for this device what so ever but I still want one! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Can I use it to stream dishanywhere through the chrome browser? You can't really cast dish to a chromecast. I want dish access on a second TV but refuse to pay the $7/month.
  • Please...please...make something with HDMI passthrough!
  • $100 seems a little high. I wanted something in the Chromecast price range. Plus, I want to use my phone as a keyboard and mouse instead of a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
  • just cause it looks like a Chromecast doesn't mean it should be priced like one. look at the device, there's a huge difference and when u consider what your actually getting $100 is excessively reasonable Posted via the Android Central App
  • My first thought was "I can use this as a Plex Media Server to transcode for my FireTV stick!"
  • I'm not trying to hate, but why would I buy this if I can buy a Raspberry Pi 2 for $35 and drop ***Insert Your Favorite Flavor of Linux here*** on it and have a superior setup. I could even buy 2 of them complete with cases for that cost and still win... I want to like the idea of portability using the stick, but I could do better for my money. Besides, I'm just cheap like that. LOL
  • Well this is a dongle. A raspberry pi is uh. A motherboard. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Uh, I knew that it was a stick. Did you read my comment? The size difference is negligible for me. Either option would just hide behind my TV either way. And my TV has powered USB ports to power a Pi... So, yeah... It (the Chromebit, in case you get confused) is a dongle. But money is better spent on a Pi... Nice try on the soft-troll, though, Captain Obvious.
  • Do you get bluetooth and wifi included in your $35 or even a case to cover it? Rpi's price can be deceiving.
  • Nah, I it doesn't, but neither really matters to me. My router lives next to my TV so my pi stays connected on the wire, and I have already have a Bluetooth dongle connected to my Pi 2B. And I bought a pretty sweet case for it off amazon. It just works out better for me than the stick does. Your mileage may vary, though... Posted via the Android Central App
  • How do you type on it? Raspberry Pi cost of ownership can add up once you buy all the I/O for it. I'd say the $100 price is still pretty competive even vs. an RPi. BTW, does the Pi run Chrome or any recent browser with any kind of decent performance yet? I don't have the RPi 2 yet, but the "B" model was really not a great browsing system.
  • Any person with his salt has keyboards on deck. I know I do. Wait, why is everyone trying to make my setup not be a good fit for me. Like I said, YOUR mileage may vary. My setup works great for me. And I can do it on the cheap. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Never said it didn't work for you. Just pointing out that the price is actually quite competitive considering the complete package.
  • You do have a point. For some it may be costly. But for the initiated, additional cost isn't too bad, if it exists at all. Keyboards and some other peripherals, depending on your situation, you'd have to buy extra whether you use a Pi or a stick anyhow. The Pi 2B is a good choice for my situation, so I roll with that. What distribution did you run BTW, my browser is smooth as silk... I didn't experience any problems as of yet *knock on wood*... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Running Raspbian. The only browsers that run decently are the crummy browsers that don't support plug-ins, extensions or any kind of extensive Javascripting.
  • Have you tried Snappy. Browser preformed better for me. It's a Ubuntu variant. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nope. Will have to buy another SD card to try that one. Ooops! There goes some more money!
  • Oh, my bad. I don't use the standard 8GB microSD card and assumed you didn't either. I have a drawer full of 32GB cards that I bought off amazon for like $13 a pop a while back when AC posted about it. And they have those sales a lot. Looks like I'm the only tech hoarder on AC... It's cool. You guys enjoy the stick. I'm not hating... It's just not for me... Lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • I guess ASUS should have checked with you before they designed this. What were they thinking.
  • Your comment is pointless... You've made absolutely no points or arguments... At least these other guys had something to say... Troll! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ouch. That one stung. Here's a point: you railed against this device because it doesn't suit YOUR needs and then went on to elaborate how a different device better suited what you wanted. This article is about the ASUS Chromebit but your comment seems to focus on the Raspberry Pi. Does that comment better meet your requirements?
  • Still pointless... I was stating a comparative opinion. Even engaged in discussion with a few folks to elaborate. Didn't know I couldn't compare. Was unaware that you made the rules. Just kidding... Still pointless... Try again, sir... Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, I don't think I will try again. Conversing with you is the pointless part, so I won't continue doing it. Good day sir.
  • How about because Linux sucks? Personal preference I know but since it isn't close to mainstream after all these years, many agree Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • Well, you're entitled to an opinion. I don't agree, but meh... I never knew that an OS is only good if everyone uses it. Do you even know anything about Linux? Or anything for that matter. That has to be the most narrow minded logic I've ever heard. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why would you buy a Raspberry Pi when you can buy a Beaglebone Black? Because of OPTIONS.
  • *yawn* Posted via the Android Central App
  • If I can stream soccer games with this on my tv, I'll be the happiest man on the planet. I wonder if those sketchy streaming websites that show games will work on this.
  • Try whatever websites you stream from from a computer and Chrome web browser. If the sites are accessible through Chrome for Win/Mac, they will likewise be accessible from this stick.
    I got a Chromebox to stream TV on, and while most sites work, because they use Flash or HTLM5, one international network provider only works on Android, iOS and Windows PCs.
  • -"Google expects other manufacturers to start making similar HDMI Chrome OS dongles as well."- Why would they? I understand different chromebooks, as a manufacturer can choose a different screen, keyboard, surface finishes, etc. This pokes behind your TV and serves up the same interface as everyone else. Why would you bother copying what the mothership is already shipping out?
  • I like the idea and all, but I'm just not sure what I'd do with it right now, as my Chromecast already handles most all my needs. Or my C720... Well, I'd bite at the Bit for $50 or less...
  • Take my money please. I like this for the travel potential, especially since I have bluetooth keyboard and mouse already and hotels already have HDMI port equipped tvs. No need to drag it out of my bag for the airport goons.
  • ...and my Nexus Player has 8GB of storage. ...8. :smh:
  • If this had been out last year, I would not have gotten a Chromebox. Same use case scenario if you don't need the microSD slot and instead want portability.
  • Meh, has no one ever heard of Rikomagic? The HDMI pc is not new, only difference is the OS
    rikomagic.us/index.php/mk802-ii-black.html
    Had one of those for years now, don't even remember how long ago I got it exactly Posted via the Android Central App
  • Is there any reason I can't plug a thumb drive into the USB slot for additional storage?
  • This would be my solution to cutting the cord. Install a torrent browser. Download whatever then hit play Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • So, how about plugging this in to a GeChic On-lap as a Chromebook alternative? I'm not sure why one would necessarily choose this over a Chromebook. Maybe the ability to use the other components (bluetooth keyboard & mouse, portable monitor) for other purposes? Maybe I'm just rationalizing my own "take my money" moment. Posted via Android Central App
  • Hey, that's terrific! Why haven't I heard of the GeChic On-lap before? Now if they would just make one that is a full clamshell with quality keyboard/touchpad and a battery, we'd be in business!
  • Better not be some sick April fools joke...
  • Count me in. I would love to try this out.
  • For the love of all that is technical, why can't I buy a Chromebook style shell with a battery, HDMI input, Quality Display, Quality Keyboard/Touchpad, and USB hub? Then I could run it off a ChromeBit, Intel Compute Stick, Android Stick, or whatever else I decided to use and just pay a marginal upgrade fee whenever I decide my device needs more get up and go.
  • How is it powered? Since HDMI doesn't support charging. Or am i mistaken...
  • usb doggle
  • How exactly is this thing used?
  • I am interested in one of these to plug into the spare HDMI on my monitor. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am not sure I see the same use case for this as I did for the Chromecast. It's just another set top box basically in stick style around the same price as I understand it.