Google and Asus have released the first Chromebit, an HDMI dongle that turns any TV into a PC.
The Chromebit concept was first unveiled back in March, but it’s only just become available to purchase in the US. The Chromebit is a compact stick that plugs into a TV or monitor’s HDMI port, rather like the first generation Chromecast.
However, rather than enabling media streaming, the Chromebit essentially turns the display into a complete ChromeOS PC. Just connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you’re away.
Naturally you’re limited by ChromeOS’s well-documented limitations. It’s a lightweight operating system that’s heavily reliant on internet connectivity and cloud services over traditional apps and programmes.
But it’s always been the most affordable way to access lighter desktop tasks through Google’s Chromebook devices, and the Chromebit is even cheaper still.
Now available to buy in the US (as reported by TechCrunch), the Asus-made device costs just $85. That works out to around £56.
Related: Google Chromecast 2 review
Of course, for that price you’re not getting much grunt. The Chromebit runs on a limited Rockchip RK3288 CPU with a modest quad-core Mali 760 GPU and 2GB of RAM. It also has 16GB of internal storage.
In other words, it’s far from a multi-tasking beast, and your average modern mid-range Android smartphone could outspec and outpace it.
But if you have a seldom-used second TV or monitor that you could envisage indulging in a spot of web browsing or Netflix streaming on – and provided you have a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to hand, of course – then it could be worthwhile watching out for a UK release some time in the near future.