Google's thin-client Chrome operating system will be available on a new desktop computer from LG Electronics. The all-in-one Chromebase, announced Wednesday, provides another form factor for the Net-oriented platform and is the first Chrome-based computer from LG.
The new product, which is being compared in style to Apple's all-in-one iMacs, will be shown at the International CES show next month, Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas. It features a 21.5-inch full HD 1920x1080 IPS screen with a 178-degree viewing angle, a fourth-generation Intel Celeron CPU, 2 gigabytes of memory, 16 GB of storage, a 1.3-megapixel webcam with microphone and up to 720p output, and built-in 5W speakers. Ports include a USB 3.0, three USB 2.0, Ethernet and HDMI-in.
As with other Chrome-based computers, the Chromebase comes bundled with a variety of Google apps for writing e-mails and documents, reading e-books, sharing documents, editing videos or photos, and playing games, including Gmail, Drive, Search, Maps and click-access to Google Play and Google+ Hangouts. LG did not indicate if the unit will come with a given amount of Drive storage, or if there will be options to add additional storage.
Consumers, Schools, Businesses
LG said it is targeting consumers, schools and businesses with this new product, for which pricing has not yet been announced.
While the Chrome OS has been largely centered around Chromebook laptops, a desktop unit could find a place in libraries, classrooms, hotels and offices, where visitors or regular users need quick access to a machine that is ready to use.
This kind of occasional use allows people to jump in, surf the Web or conduct some quick activity, and leave, with little IT maintenance. Key arguments for Chrome-based machines include automatic app updates and centralized security in the cloud.
Chromebox, Chrome OS
HP, Samsung, Dell and Acer already offer laptop Chromebooks, and there have been some small desktop units called Chromeboxes, but LG will largely have the full desktop version to itself for at least a while. Caesar Sengupta, Google vice president of product management for Chromebooks, told news media that the Chromebase "is an exciting new form factor that expands the options available to customers who want a fast, simple and secure computing experience for the home, school or office."
The first Chrome OS-based desktop computer was launched in spring of last year by Google and Samsung. Called the Chromebox, it came without keyboard, display or mouse.
The Chrome OS, which was announced in 2009, offers a lightweight, browser-based platform that allows devices to boot up almost immediately and emphasizes cloud-based applications and storage. In July, a report from Forrester Research found that, while the platform will not replace all or even most Windows PCs, Macs or tablets, there was a beachhead of interest among enterprises, including schools. In addition to low maintenance, other advantages include the ability for anyone to use any machine and relatively low pricetags.