Google and Asus have recently announced two new products: the Chromebook Flip and the Chromebit. Both come with new form factors for Google’s web-based platform Chrome OS.
In the past year Chrome OS has seen huge growth in the education market, alongside personal users grabbing the low-cost netbook. Google has two providers Haier and Hisense launching $149 Chromebooks in the upcoming weeks, targeted at emerging markets that have not been able to pick up previous Chromebook models.
The Asus Chromebook Flip is the first convertible netbook running Chrome OS. It features a 360 degree wedge similar to the Lenovo YOGA line. This means it can be used as a tablet as well, by folding the keyboard on the back of the display, and also can be placed in the ‘hut’ position for watching movies.
Internally, the Chromebook Flip features an ARM-based Rockchip processor, 2GB or 4GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The display will be a 1280 x 800 resolution touch-screen display, one of the first on the Chromebook lineup. It will cost $249 and launches later this year.
This coincides with Google’s current update to the Chrome web browser, offering better touch-screen support. Google will be adding extra security to Chromebooks in an upcoming patch, alongside the addition of the Google Now launcher on the platform.
That wasn’t the only device launched by Asus today, in fact it might not be the most interesting. The Chromebit, a $100 USB stick, was launched by Asus alongside the Chromebook Flip.
The Chromebit looks almost the same as the Chromecast, but instead of streaming movies and TV shows from the web to the TV, it will turn any display into a fully fledged Chrome OS computer. Inside the small USB stick is 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage—enough to power Chrome OS.
This could be a massive product for classrooms with older displays, where the Windows license costs too much and the machines cannot be replaced. The Chromebit is an easy solution to an ageing fleet of computers, meaning instead of upgrading everything just throw away the Windows PC and stick the Chromebit inside.
The other major advantage of the Chromebit for schools is if every student gets one, they can plug it into their home PC and work from home. It is an excellent opportunity, but there is still no read on how well it performs tasks.
Asus will launch the Chromebit later this year.