With the advances made by Google and Samsung in the mobile sphere, it makes you wonder whether we can get buy with a computer based on smartphone style technology: The answer is possibly
Google’s Chrome OS has changed a lot in recent years. Unusable in its infancy, slowly we began to see its maturity through netbook computers produced by the likes of Samsung and Asus, and other Chromebooks first launched in June of 2011. Now, Google is bringing you the same product, with mobility not known on this scale in any Chromebook. This is basically a mini computer, similar to a Mac Mini: rounded corners, flat and broad, short, and relatively light weight.
The Chromebox was first unveiled at CES in January last year, and has had to undergo a number of transformations via Samsung, the Korean electronics giant who launched a number of variations of the product: XE300M22 and A01US that launched a year later where the major difference between the two being the only the weight (1.2 kg compared to 0.8 kg) of the device, and the A02US, which came with an Intel i5 processor, offering speeds of up to 2.5 GHz and priced at $499.
A daily computer with a low price
The original idea behind Chrome OS in general, and Chromebooks in particular, was to create an operating system based on Linux, needing nothing more than a browser and Web apps. Advantages of such a system include the ability to be up and running from anywhere in a matter of seconds, using a lean operating system that works quickly, while maintaining access to most of the tasks that a modern user would need available to them in the Web era.
Another big advantage underlying the system is price. According to estimates by iFixit, to manufacture a Samsung Chromebook Series 5, costs approx. 334 dollars. Considering they price it starting at 499 dollars, the profit margins are not that large, and we haven’t even begun to factor in marketing costs, R&D, distribution etc. This low cost, high volume approach has been at the foundation of Google’s product strategy for a long time, offering its smartphone and tablets at low prices to encourage developers to purchase devices, and quickly develop an extensive ecosystem.
Powerful with a minimalist design
The Chromebox comes with plenty of hardware options, immediatly integrated into the system.The Chromebox has no less than 6 USB ports, two DisplayPort outputs, an Ethernet port and a DVI port – allowing you to connect to your computer every accessory you can imagine while still havuing plenty of room for your screen. According to Google, the Chromebox supports connections of up to two 30-inch screens and supports HD viewing. However, the lack of a VGA port and HDMI, which have become fairly standard on desktops and even laptops, is a noticeable omission.
Underneath the hood one finds a lot of cool features. The Chromebox model A01 runs an Intel Celeron B840 dual-core with speeds of 1.9 GHz. In addition to 4GB of internal memory, the computer also comes with 100GB of cloud based storage through Google Drive, and 16GB of SSD memory to store files offline. In addition, the computer comes with Wi-Fi capabilities, Bluetooth 3.0 and an internal sound system.
Software and Performance
Given the fact that Chromebox comes with 16GB of SSD hard disk, starting the computer from the operating system takes only a few seconds. The Chrome OS is based on an extended version of the Chrome browser by Google, so if you have a Google Account and you use plugins and applications from the Chrome Store, you will be amazed to find that after you log in, all the apps you’ve downloaded from your store will already be on your browser, ordered conveniently for you with Android app drawer system activation.
Also, any downloaded browser plugins, including supplemental passwords, favorites etc. automatically synchronize and are available within seconds on the new device. In other words, after logging in, no configuration is required by the user, except for adding an option to type in other languages and other trivial settings. Using the the browser, it was found to be convenient and fast, so it seems unlikely that there’s any serious strain on the CPU. Also, when tasked with running a 1080p YouTube video, the computer never encountered any particular bugs or crashes.
You should have a very clear agenda of what you want from your computer before you choose to buy any computer running the Chrome OS operating system. If all you need to do amounts to basic computer operations, this computer is definitely for you. 100GB of Google Drive is a generous amount of cloud storage for you to edit and create documents, while there’s a huge amount of network applications for pretty much every need you can think of.
Rapid speed combined with its compact size, and the fact that it synchronizes with your Google account so easily, makes this the ideal solution for small organizations that do not need to rely on big business software and deal mainly with content.
However, for people who heavily rely on Microsoft or Adobe products for things like advanced editing of text, presentations, graphics, or for any serious programming activity, the Chromebox won’t have all the tools or power that you need. The price, however, is not sky-high, and stands at $329 at select stores in the United States.