The $85 Asus Chromebit plug-in PC stick is now available from Google and Asus through Amazon.com and NewEgg.com for $85, giving users simple and inexpensive computer capabilities in a small and portable package.
The Chromebit is an innovative computer dongle that plugs into an HDMI-equipped monitor and transforms it into a basic computer that runs the Google Chrome operating system. The Chromebit, which was announced by Google back in March, includes a quad-core ARM Cortex-A17-based Rockchip 3288 processor, 2GB of memory, 16GB of eMMC storage, an ARM Mali 760 quad-core graphics chip, a single USB 2.0 port, 802.11ac WiFi capabilities and Bluetooth 4.0.
The device is made and marketed by Asus and is now available for preorder for $84.99 through NewEgg.com with a release date of Nov. 24. It is also for sale for $84.99 through Amazon.com, but is listed as being out of stock. The Chromebit is available for sale as of Nov. 17.
The Chromebit is capable of Web browsing and other basic tasks, according to Google.
The latest dongle is Google's second such device in the last few years. In July 2013, Google unveiled its Chromecast dongle, which is a phone- and tablet-controlled dongle that lets users plug Google into their television-viewing experiences. Chromecast plugs into the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) slot on an HDTV, enabling users to direct video content to the TV via a smartphone, tablet or PC, whether it's running an operating system from Google, Apple or Microsoft. Plus, while the phone is busy "casting," it can still be used for other things, like emailing.
Chromecast works with a continuously expanding assortment of services, including Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music. Content is broadcast from the cloud to the TV using a user's smartphone or tablet as a remote control.
Google has been working to encourage more apps for Chromecast with the release of a Google Cast Software Development Kit (SDK) in February 2014, which allows a wide range of innovative software creations to be inspired and built for the devices. The SDK is aimed at developers who want to build Chromecast support into their new and existing apps and Websites.
Google has been continuing to expand its line of Chrome devices, including Chromebooks, dongles and more. In March the company announced the all-metal Asus Chromebook Flip, which starts at $249 and is the first Chromebook that can easily convert from a tablet to a laptop with a simple flip.
The Asus Chromebook Flip includes a Rockchip 3288 processor, a choice of 2GB or 4GB of memory, a choice of 16GB of eMMC storage or 16GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, a 10.1-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) display, an ARM Mali 760 quad-core graphics chip, battery life of up to 10 hours on a charge, an integrated trackpad, Bluetooth 4.0, and built-in 802.11ac WiFi.
Chromebooks and their desktop brethren Chromeboxes run Google's Chrome operating system and feature a wide range of preinstalled, cloud-based Google services and products, including Google Docs and Google Calendar. Chromebooks allow users to do their work online or offline.