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Chromebox (google.com)
367 points by zoowar 1580 days ago | hide | past | web | 297 comments | favorite



This is a terrible page and the product manager of this thing should be ashamed.

The inmates are truly running the asylum. The technical specs are completely irrelevant to the interests of the majority of consumers. This page needs to show what this is capable of without the foreknowledge of what Chrome OS is or is capable of or what Googles other offerings are.

Sell me a story! Tell me why my life is going to be better with it.

What most people going to ask: Can I use my social networks? Can I do my internet banking? Can I get my photos off of my camera and share them? What about my music? Can I watch movies? How about spreadsheets and word documents?


https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/features-key.h...

Is that better?

edit: To explain, I think how they expect you to experience the website is: http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/ (from www.google.com/chromeos)

http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/features.html

http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/features-key.ht...

http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/features-device...

http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromebox.html

So, we're looking at a relatively deep link, which assumes the reader has been shown the main OS features and is looking for which specific product to buy. That said, I agree that this page doesn't do much except show pretty pictures and throw out a few tech specs, and won't sell the product on its own.


edit: To explain, I think how they expect you to experience the website is: http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/ (from www.google.com/chromeos)

When I search Google for chromebox the first result is the link that was submitted. I concur: it is a terrible landing page for a product. Consider the first page results for things like macbook, ipad, or mac mini and you can see where the failure lies. They do, after all, have control of search results, don't they?



Not sure how that's obvious from your links. It'd be helpful if you gave some explanation.


It's nuanced UI-related. There's a lot of psychology involved to understand the holistic effects. You need to include things like someone's brand perception into deciding how effective a UI will be, such as trusted brands will let someone assume that what they are looking at is trustworthy - and therefore of enough value for them to care and look further into it / to get interested.

Hope that helps?


The two products are incomparable. One is unknown, the other is known by pretty much anyone who would be interested in buying a smart phone.


It's the brand of the company that matters; It's the foundation for what a user will expect, and will let them trust what they are seeing in front of them as valuable to them - prior to even knowing anything specific about it.


I'd say you should compare Apple's and Google's sales reports.


I'd say a lot more goes into a company's revenue than two single product landing pages. Don't use Apple's earnings as justification for all it's actions.

McDonald's sells the most burgers in the world, that definitely means it's the best in everything burger-related right?


> Intel Core Processor

Why not specifying what processor and hardware is in the box ?


It's marketing. The emphasis is on the simplicity of the product.

That being said, it's a 1.9ghz Celeron CPU. That can give negative connotations since Celeron is Intel's cheap line of processors.


Good to know. I just got a quad-core desktop for US$377. The Chromebox w/ Celeron would have to print gold to compare to that.


Most likely, your desktop would have to print gold to make up for the difference in your power bill compared to a ChromeBox too. My desktop needs a couple hundred watts; my Google TV box needs closer to 10. Running a full-size desktop where you don't need the power is equivalent to a voluntary subscription fee versus a one-time payment.


I'd be curious to compare your time from power off, to viewing a web page.

They're very different machines, with very different goals. If you compare the components, then yes, it probably doesn't make any sense for you to get a Chromebox. If you look at the features they both have, then it might make more sense.

If I were buying a machine for my grandmother, I'd buy the Chromebox over your $377 desktop, in a heartbeat.


I have a chromebook with 1.66 ghz Atom CPU. ChromeOS is lightning on it.


It's easier to switch parts if you don't specify them.


At least it informs that it's not an ARM processor, so it should be a magnitude faster (more like a PC than a phone).


It's still not good enough for me, though it is a million times better.

"Go fast". The set top Androids are also pretty fast. Also, as someone said, who reboots these days? (though it's a selling point for a media player replacement)

"Stream HD movies without a hitch", ok, that's a selling point, though my cheap Android phone does well enough on "good enough" quality, so I'd expect the Android set top boxes or equivalents to do just as well.

"Go straight online to creating, sharing and enjoying. Chrome devices come with built-in apps for editing photos, creating documents and presentations, and video chat, so you can get everyday tasks done right out of the box."

Ok, though the Android boxes do that too.

"Google+ Hangouts. You can also integrate multiple chat accounts with apps like imo or eBuddy. "

Not a selling point for me (what is a Hangout?)

Edit: I tried explaining myself. Why the downvote instead of a rebuttal? (I can accept those)


Why are you comparing this to Android? Also, I've never heard of an Android set-top box.


I'm comparing them because the form factor and use case look to be exactly the same (heck, the UI looks very similar too, both being made by Google).

Examples of Android set top boxes (the first one has 4 GB):

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/google-android-2-2-hdmi-tv-set-...

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/mele-1080p-android-2-3-internet...

They were featured recently by a local supermarket chain.


What, because they're square? By that measure, an Apple TV, Mac Mini and Airport Extreme are all in the same category.


From a consumer's perspective, isn't an Apple TV or a Mac Mini a substitute product? Especially at the 400 dollar price point of the Chromebox.

I mean, the sales pitch for the Chromebox is: surf the internet, stream movies and use some apps...


The Mac Mini - yes, the Apple TV - no. I don't think there's a lot of consumer confusion between set top boxes and desktop computers.

My point was it's like saying you don't understand why Apple sells the Mac Mini when the Apple TV is only $99.


> Also, I've never heard of an Android set-top box.

Google TV (aka Logitech Revue, Sony Internet TV, LG Smart TV). They've been at your local Best Buy type store for years.

They're Android 3.0 STBs, or in the case of the Smart TVs starting to come out, built into the TV.


The "LG Smart TV" box isn't (usually) Android, it's LG's own Smart TV platform.

(LG has announced GoogleTV/Android support, and showed samples at CES this year but AFAIK isn't shipping them yet).


http://www.google.com/tv/get.html

The LG TV with Google TV (Android) has been available for ~5 months at least. Amazon started selling it in February.


[dead]


Can an admin or somebody fix this comment? It's breaking the page layout.


Just a tip for those who aren't web devs: the page layout can be fixed by removing the comment/element via Chrome's inspector.

Right-click on the comment, choose "Inspect Element", and delete it.

And of course the same could be done with any modern browser's inspector.


FWIW, it's also useful to use something like "HN Collapse": https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bbkfcamiocfccgmcjn...


Yes, Apple shows that showing specs is not necessary: http://www.apple.com/macmini/ </sarcasm>

If specs help sell the things, by all means Google should include them. Whether they are "relevant" or not.

Also note that the info that it is _not_ an Intel Atom CPU is highly relevant IMO, because the Atom is slow as molasses.


Agreeing with you here.

Apple is great at identifying context. A lot of people don't realize that Apple does "sell specifications", because they're mostly exposed to Apple's advertising, which rarely uses specification. However, when you get to their website, they recognize that you're probably looking for more detail. That shows an understanding of context.

There's another contextual difference they play as well. Have a look at their pages for traditional computing hardware, then have a look at their pages for iOS devices.

Traditional computers:

http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/

http://www.apple.com/macmini/

iOS:

http://www.apple.com/iphone/

http://www.apple.com/ipodtouch/

http://www.apple.com/ipad/

Notice the difference in pitch? There are even identifiable differences in the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad pages. Which one is closer to a traditional computing device? The iPad. Which page is more specification oriented? The iPad.

A lot of lip service is given to Apple's avoidance of specification, but I think too many people treat it as a black & white scenario: you either do talk about specification, or you don't. Like many stereotypes, this focuses on the wrong distinction. It's not a matter of do or don't, but a matter of when and why. Specification isn't the best way to get customers interested in your product, but once the customer is in the door, you do need to be prepared to communicate the specifications clearly and in a relatable way. Apple is very adept at identifying that transition and guiding the customer on their way to a sale.


I love it how one of the titles for iphone is simply 'Mega megapixels.'.

"What does your phone have?" "Oh yeah, it's got Mega megapixels."


Most consumers don't even know what an Intel Atom CPU is. A large portion might have some vague brand awareness of Intel, though, so mentioning Intel is good in general. For a consumer product to succeed you can't sell it and market it to only people who know the difference between different processors. That's a very small group of people.


Intel "Core" is a brand that's got nice soft rounded-rectangles and friendly blue lettering. It's designed to appeal to consumers. They don't have to know what it is exactly, they just have to recognize it and buy it.


But Apple's page doesn't give nearly as much focus to the tech specs as Google's does. Most of the page "above the fold" is given over to a description of what it can do and the details they do give are more about relative improvements (2x faster, etc.) than raw numbers. The specs are available and it's clear where to see them but they're not the first thing the eye is drawn to.


This https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromebox.html is equivalent to that: http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html

This http://www.apple.com/mac/ is equivalent to https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/

You have to click "Explore", then the "Devices" tab and then on the Chromebox image. Or you have specifically click "Chromebox" in the top-menu.

Using a deeplink and complaining it provides no general information about the whole ecosystem is imho a little bit silly.

Let's talk about the base url: https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/ that's bad. It should have its own domain.


Apple spends time on different kinda of specifications.

Instead of listing how much it can compute, they talk about how big it is (x inches by y inches by z inches), relative speed improvements (which aren't useful since the consumer may have no idea how slow or fast the prior one is), lots of specs around the price (price is a specification), what kind of I/O it has (thunderbolt), the processor (just not the Ghz), the graphics part (just not which model, but strangely they list the CPU speed over there -- and of course it's the rated speed for the more expensive model) then some generic statements about which Apple software you can run on it.

But because some people still want to have an idea of what it can compute they still offer

http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html

I'm not particularly interested in either device, but it's clear that Google's sales page is almost a copy of Apples page.


Perhaps they should change the emphasis. But IMHO they should change it in the way that maximizes conversions.

What I took offense at was the suggestion that the specs are irrelevant and by consequence should not be shown _at all_.

(Also note that on my screen, the "fold" is below the Core i5/i7, Radeon HD and Thunderbolt blurbs. Meanwhile even above that, it emphasises "2x faster processors", "Thunderbolt I/O", "upgradeable memory", as well as physical size and software.)


Good spotting. But I think Apple's desktop OS is already quite familiar to most people. Chromebox is offering quite a radically different experience that needs to be communicated.

I really would like to know 'what' a Chromebox does as opposed to 'how' it does it. Whereas with a Mac product I'm more interested in the 'how'.


No one thinks the iPad 3 is too slow and any modern Atom processor is quite a lot faster so it shouldn't be a problem at all. These machines are extremely limited by the OS so hardware limitations are a distant concern in my opinion.


It's still early (in the life of this device).

Early adopters will be techies. It's OK to be geeky at this stage.

They can dumb-it-down later.


Ummm, I'm pretty geeky. But I haven't been following Chrome in detail, so I don't have a clue what this box is for or what it actually does.

Reminded me of this: http://www.theonion.com/video/sony-releases-new-stupid-piece...


You weren't immediately aware that this was a desktop version of the Chromebooks that you've probably heard of?


Is that what it is? That's certainly not clear from the "landing page". I assumed from the form factor that it was some sort of Home Theater PC (HTPC). Honestly.


no, I had assumed it was an HTPC from the landing page.

I've completely forgotten that Chromebooks even exist because I've never heard of anyone buying one.


Chromebooks?


Not at all.


But the complaint (and a legit one I feel) is that this page is the opposite. This page has very little information that techies want (as seen by all the complaining here.)


I think he's agreeing with the parent...


... Oh! I did not read it that way at all!


Lol, yeah, it wasn't very clear but I don't think they can dumb page down any more at a later stage, lol


Are we reading the same complaint, or is this more a catch-all of complaints? The root of this thread says-

Sell me a story! Tell me why my life is going to be better with it.

Those are not details that techies want. It is clearly extolling the mythical Apple advertising (the one where they aren't talking about quad core GPUs and retina displays and 5MP "iSight" cameras) that, supposedly, is lifestyle focused.


The Chromebox is a fast, compact home or office device.

The first sentence describes this as a device not a computer. This seems like a poor choice, as is that the page mentions the word 'computer' not once.


And "device" without context is as appalling word without context. When I was an editor I always banned it without context, telling the writers "Would you use the word 'thingy'? Because that's what you've just called it."


I can't even figure out what it is/does.

"The Chromebox is a fast, compact home or office device." That means nothing to me.


> "The Chromebox is a fast, compact home or office device." That means nothing to me.

Fast, compact device used in homes and offices. A microwave maybe? Or maybe a novel type of stapler?


The inmates are truly running the asylum

Exactly, this is why I always tell people that if you let technical people run companies you'll run into huge failures like you see with companies like Google and Facebook.


That's not the first page of the site, It's a link to a spec page comparing the different models available. IMHO, it doesn't differ significantly from this page: http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/


I disagree (mostly). Technical specs do tell you what a device is capable of.

However, putting the specs up front and not under the specs tab (which is strangely almost empty) is poor. The overview should be pushed up to the top and expanded upon a la Apple's products pages.

Even with all the specs, there's one I care about that's not on here, how much can I store on the device? All the USB ports aren't doing me any good if I can't jam my photos or some movies onto it.


how much can I store on the device? All the USB ports aren't doing me any good

I think you're completely missing the point of ChromeOS. You're not supposed to jam photos or movies onto it. It's a web browser in box. Google Docs/Drive, Youtube, Picasa. These are all available on the first boot. Ford doesn't advertise how far their cars can go when driven off a cliff because it's a car, not an airplane. You can't fault them for that.


16 GB SSD. You can find it on amazon -> http://goo.gl/oFXeA


That's seriously underpowered. My phone holds more than that and considering the expectation that they've set (not mentioning cloud storage at all) horribly low for what looks like a home computer.


Its also about half the "price" of a smartphone.


ok, 32gb ipod touch.


No, technical specs tell you what a device might be capable of. Only the software defines what computer-like devices can actually do.


Lets face it the technical specs are needed because you are just going to hack this baby and turn it into a media server or something.


I wont lie, turning it into an HTPC was the first thing my mind went to.


You are assuming that mainstream consumers are the target audience. I think the audience is actually A) Businesses B) tech savy users.

I suspect both of those users care a little bit more about the tech specs than an average user.


Come on, it's clearly aimed at tech geeks. Nothing to be ashamed of.


As tech geek it's not clear to me what the "device"'s capabilities are. Is it running Linux? Can you install your own OS? Is it a PC? Is it a console? Is it a TV with with browsing capabilities? The page is very vague on that.

The only clear thing is that you plug mouse/keyboard/monitor in it, but that's it. I'm not sure what exactly that "device" is and does.

> The Chromebox is a fast, compact home or office device.

Oh, I see. It must be a printer.


Printers are either fast or compact, but not usually both. So that would be quite innovative.

I bet it makes a mean espresso, though.


If it's aimed at tech geeks, what does it do that we're not already able to do with our myriad of existing devices?

I noticed that it conveniently comes with a remote desktop utility.. you know, in case you want to do something other than use Gmail or Google Docs with it. And you're too comfortable in your chair to just go to your real computer.


Indeed.. Why would I buy this instead of, for example, a MUCH cheaper Android set top? (as in, four times cheaper).

Does it do anything different?

I'm in tech and I don't know anything about Chrome OS, and I wouldn't buy even if I had disposable income (and I do want a media player/home theater PC someday). Heck, I could probably buy an equivalent Windows-based HTPC for a similar price.

See http://s.dealextreme.com/search/android+set+top or alibaba prices.

Edit: once again, why the downvote? Also, I showed it to my coworkers, one of them was quite receptive to the Chromebox.


DealExtreme is kind of a crapshoot, quality-wise, IIRC... and this should have a larger community of English speaking users, in terms of community support.


Whilst I agree to an extent, it is still useful to have some idea what the machine is likely to be capable of.

For example, does it have enough USB to accommodate a mouse/keyboard as well as an external disk and a digital camera?

Can I plug it into my Monitor and my HDTV at the same time?

Or does it have sufficient oomph to run HD video or graphically intensive games?

At this point google will be targeting early adopters who will be more tech savvy, and also hoping that they recommend it to their family and friends.

Until we can offload close to 100% of our computing to the server, specifications for client side machines will still be relevant.


It reminds me "HP Invent" motto. One thing that Mark Hurd made very clear during his tenure was that "invent", at that point, was less than "sell" (or "market", maybe). Hurd's point was that people were spending too much time on the lab and less time talking to customers. "If innovation is fuel, selling it is oxygen".


The imagemap to the right of the specs is horrible as well, you have to hover over their tiny "+" icons to see the quick selling points which are actually of interest to consumers. Saying "boots in 7 seconds" is great, but only if the user can see it right away.


At this stage in its life, the Chromebox is most certainly geared to people who very much care about specs. It is not going to be Sally Average who's signing up for one, and really if they did they would likely be disappointed.

Every ad doesn't need to ape Apple, you know.


With advertising and spec sheets like this, you're right. But if they tried a little, their demographic could be massive.


Come on Google, use an ARM processor, make it a dongle with a HDMI plug that attaches to the majority of cheap LCD displays, and price it at $99 or free with the first year (per seat) of a Google Apps Enterprise Account. Now add a local ActiveDirectory proxy as a stadalone router-like box and hit Microsoft where it hurts. (Before Larry does).


No, no, that just makes too much sense to actually happen.


Add bluetooth to the dongle and add a wireless keyboard/mouse for $25


They already have a bluetooth keyboard and mouse set for the Chromebox, though I've not seen it priced yet.

Here's an image:

http://images.amazon.com/images/G/01/electronics/samsung/sam...


I used the Chromebook I got from Google I/O for a while. You have to understand that it's not designed to be a hacker's computer or even really a consumer device. It's designed to be a cheap, low-maintenance terminal for generic business computing. This is the new 3270.

I actually think it's a pretty good product for that purpose. The economics are compelling if you maintain hundreds of desktops. Instead of PC + Windows + Office + McAffee + a large desktop support organization, you just have ChromeOS devices and Google Apps. It's not sexy but 99% of the employees at the DMV don't need sexy, they just need to run a handful of basic apps.


There is a lot of crossover between the anti-power user at work and the anti-power user at home. The former gets a locked down machine managed by IT to keep it running and uses the browser and a contant handful of apps. The latter uses a machine that runs poorly because no one is managing it.

Making a disruptive improvement for one market would probably end up being compelling to both so you focus on either for a start.

I don't like the decision to focus on office staff first. Google's in a great position to sell to consumers. Also I think Apple demonstrated that going through consumers first encourages better products.


I've been using a chromebook at home as a mostly-primary computer, replacement for a 13" MBP w/ SSD (which cost ~$2000 when it was new).

The only thing that's weird is printing, but for 90% of "generic internet stuff" it works fantastic. ChromeOS just updated last night and I haven't even had a chance to mess with it.

It will even work mostly-ish as a web-dev terminal as it'll do SSH as well as chrome developer tools (although it is slightly hokey).

I'm a 15+ year linux user and I don't mind using the chromebook at all AS AN ADJUNCT TO A REAL COMPUTER!

A ChromeBook is ~1/10th the cost of a "real" computer, is SSD by default (only I think), is great for "kitchen computing", great for travel (just turn on password-protection and it gets very good battery life, and you don't mind if it gets lost, stolen, or damaged and it's very lightweight).

It's got a lot of advantages even for a power-user, although it doesn't (yet) replace a "real" computer / linux / osx box.

The things I've used my "real" computer for since then have been seashore (gimp), inkscape, video editing, printing, and some minor gaming, and I've had the MBP for 1-2 years and the chromebook for ~6 mo.


I don't see ~1/10th the cost. I'm on a netbook now, that I could re-buy for under US$300 with 2GB of RAM and 250GB drive. It's great for travel and runs 5+ hours on battery.


Those 2 comments really helped me understand where chromeOS and other browser-OS machines sit. The are the opposite of Raspberry PI, which is a tiny but all-capable thing for general purpose computing. They are limited by design, therefore might be more secure (not prone to OS-vulnerabilities) and suitable for anti-power users.


> PC + Windows + Office + McAffee + a large desktop support organization, you just have ChromeOS devices and Google Apps

I think if you put a Chromebook/Chromebox in front of most business users, the organization has to be using Citrix. Google Apps is not even remotely viable as a replacement for Office except in cost or for very basic work.


FWIW, I haven't used Office for 5 years and I don't miss it one bit. Google docs and gmail work fine and collaborative document editing is much easier.

The big challenge with business users are that they have established workflows and habits. Converting an existing Office-based infrastructure to Google Apps is a struggle mostly because it's expensive and difficult to retrain workers. On the other hand, if you start off with Google Apps, it works pretty well.

Certainly every now and then you have The Giant Spreadsheet Of Doom to maintain cost models or whatnot; this is more like custom application software that only a handful of users use. Give them Excel if they need it. There aren't many of these employees even in a large organization.


For only $70 more, Google also sells the Galaxy Nexus, which is a similar Samsung device but contains more storage, runs a lot more apps, can make or receive phone calls and data over a cell phone connection, and even includes a high definition display, and a (removable) battery, and NFC, and all in a smaller package.

Since the Galaxy Nexus can use a keyboard and mouse over Bluetooth and run a 1080p display over HDMI, the advantage of the Chromebox is that it can run multiple displays and connect external storage devices.

With Ubuntu for Android scheduled to be released later this year, a logical progression is that Google's future home appliances and mobile devices will run the same exact operating system, rather than two different ones.

However, Android is supposed to be open and has many different App Stores like Amazon Appstore that compete with Google's Android Play (Android Market), while Chrome O.S. will allow Google to own the entire purchase process (like Apple), which benefits the consumer by allowing them to purchase an app they already own on their iPad, Android phone, Mac, PC, and XBox a 6th time.


I think your point about the hardware is a good one. All these "small pc equivalent" boxes seem to be overpriced to me, especially the arm-based ones that are essentially competing with smart phones.

From the software side, it's a whole different animal. ChromeOS is intended to be very different from Android. I don't think you can compare some of the features like verified boot or integrated cloud services. Also, you can install apps on android as you like with the flick of a setting. ChromeOS doesn't have installed apps in the sense that they reside on the device. Apps are websites in ChromeOS, no difference. I'm pretty sure "installing an app" and "bookmarking a website" are the same thing in ChromeOS.


>I'm pretty sure "installing an app" and "bookmarking a website" are the same thing in ChromeOS.

Not quiet so. I write chrome apps myself and there is is difference between websites and installable apps. Mostly they have more API access and features such as background processes. But the underlying technology is exactly same as websites. It's essentially a local website that is not hosted on any server but in browser's environment.

If you are interested to know exact differences then allow me to make a shameless plug. This is a media player but is installable instead of hosted. This makes it possible for the app to have a background page which runs even if the browser is closed. Being instalable instead of hosted also has an advantage of more flexible file API. But that is bound to change soon.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/fddboknafkepdchido...


Thanks for clarifying. I'm a bit disappointed in Google about this. I would much prefer the apis to be shared completely between the 2 models and don't see why they can't be.

Also, installable web apps should be something not specific to Chrome. Why not make this an open standard so I can install my apps to other browsers without extra effort from the app developer.


As i said, the work is being done on APIs. Infact in developer channels of the browser, I think all the html5 APIs are accessible to everyone. As for background pages, there is no way of running a background page that is hosted somewhere else because there is an internal api that allows communication between pages's javascript in realtime. And such communication would not be possible with a hosted file.

And there is a thing known as installable web-apps. Which basically means you can install an app with just one manifest file hosted online. (it used to be in about:flags but now i think it has landed in stable release, but not sure). Which means no hassle of webstore or even maintaining a separate crx file, just upload a manifest.js once and forget :) Unfortunately background processing is not possible in hosted apps, just in installable ones.


> Android is supposed to be open and has many different App Stores like Amazon Appstore that compete with Google's > > >Android Play (Android Market), while Chrome O.S. will allow Google to own the entire purchase process (like Apple)

That's not true. You can install crx files from places other than the webstore. Infact there are a few app stores out there if anyone tries to google them.


> but contains more storage

Wait, doesn't that defeat the entire premise of the Chrome OS?

Also, what does this have to do with Android?


What a travesty of a launch.

What can it actually do? Stop telling me about "multiple USB ports and multiple display options". Should I get one instead of an iPad or a new laptop? Is it a new name for a Google TV device?

"Place it anywhere" ? As opposed to what?

Buy now? OK I'm in the United Kingdom, that's lucky. Let me buy it from...PC World? This leads to a page with a screenshot of a netbook/Chromebook and a Chromebox somewhere in the background. The word "Chromebox" doesn't even appear on the page.


Don't even try searching for a "chromebox" on bestbuy.com


Yeah I noticed that too. Plus when I looked (followed the links), the only Chromebooks on Amazon UK were Acer versions with Atom CPUs.


Yeah, and does it have internal storage... if so how much, and how much is free user space... if not, how do i add storage, usb?

I like how the specifications tab just gives us 2 pictures. Really, that's the specifications?

Now I know there was a /sarc comment aboce about Apple and sepcs... but even mobile phone websites have better specs than this!

Seriously Google, your average user is not going to give a sh!t about this at moment and only those more tech savvy will likely but this right now!


I used a Chromebook (Samsung Series 5) for an entire academic year as a student. The biggest benefits were having everything synced in the cloud (so you're not too attached to it), extreme portability (super thin and super light, instant on is fantastic) and ~10 hours of battery life. I charged the thing about once a week!

However, I question who would get a Chromebox though, because the portability + battery life + instant on are no longer relevant in this case, and those were by far the biggest benefits for the Chromebook. For a little more (~400), you could get a very respectable machine running a more powerful OS.

Some general thoughts on my experiences with the Chromebook: As a general computing device, I thought it was more or less completely sufficient. I used it to take notes (google docs / evernote) in class and it was awesome for that (light and portable).

With more than 7-8 tabs, things can get slightly sluggish (read: not instantaneous). Running more than 15 or so and you start getting serious performance issues. This is less of a problem than I thought because it forces me to maintain focus (I regularly can have >100 tabs when using my desktop). Full screen 1080p video also was sluggish.

It has a shell, so you can SSH and code also.

Frequently less technical friends would ask "but ... it only runs chrome?" to which I respond "well what can you not do in chrome?" and they have a very hard time giving an example. With gmail / calendar / docs / evernote / your music web app service of choice / etc, almost everything can be done in the browser.

To be fair, I also use a powerful desktop for more intense tasks (photo editing, coding, and occasional gaming). I doubt I would use the chromebook/box as my primary computer.


Yeah I used my Acer AC700 Chromebook for the same sort of things (research and keeping in touch) and I found it ground to a halt when I had more than 10 tabs open. The most recent UI update has rendered the thing useless for more than a few active tabs so im beginning to question what these are really for.

I honestly don't think these will get any market penetration they are just too under powered, sluggish and expensive. They are definitely no use as a primary machine but even as a secondary machine its basically useless (I mean you are paying 300 quid to open 10 tabs and nothing else!!!) Im reaching to my ipad for a second device.


> who would get a Chromebox though

Instant on is still a factor, maybe not for you and certainly not for me (my home PC runs 24/7), but there's plenty of people who don't leave computers running when not using them, and still would enjoy not having to wait while it boots up.

The biggest use-case I see for the future is as a media centre connected to your TV. Google are already trying to replace computer software with web apps, why not TV software too - think Boxee or any other similar device, but all through web apps. If it took off I think it would be awesome.


Is Intant-on really a feature now that suspension works reasonably well?


I think Google is still chasing a different crowd than is going to be found here.

Think of how many places have convenience computers that they have to manage from an IT perspective. Not with a Chromebox.


Try answering the question "What does it do?" by reading the copy on the website. Almost impossible. The questions I wanted to know were: Will VLC run on this? Can I download stuff and put on a hard drive? The website does not seem to indicate this.


I'd guess everything the Chromebooks can do. Which essentially means: run Chrome. They're meant to be (rather exclusively) always-connected devices, and not for heavy offline use. And you can run VLC if/when they target NaCl.

That said, I don't have a Chromebook, and haven't watched the changes for a while. Anyone have a link or something handy for what they're up to lately?



I agree, it doesn't even mention that it runs Chrome OS or offer links to more information about its operating system. Not all people even know that there is such thing as Chrome OS, or what it can do.


Interesting. Too bad the 'specifications' tab is so anaemic - I'm curious how this stacks up against e.g. a Mac mini, or other mini computers.

edit: Amazon has a lot more info: http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-XE300M22-A01US-Series-3-Chrome...

edit the second: it seems pretty competitive with a Mac mini, actually. 1.9ghz Celeron instead of 2.3 i5, same RAM, and same graphics card. The 16gb SSD vs 500gb HDD might make the Chromebox feel snappier, though. And at $329 vs $599, it's quite a bit cheaper.


Afraid a Celeron isn't very competitive with an i5, even at the same speed. At least not comparing to similarly clocked computers running here. A dual-core Celeron based PC here is significantly slower than a similarly clocked i5 Mac Mini.


They are both based on same sandybridge architecture, i5-2415M has 3MB L2 versus celeron B840's 2MB. i5 also has 4 threads.

So Clock frequency IS the main differentiator here, 1.9Ghz vs 2.3-2.9Ghz (with turbo), which probably corresponds to 30% to 60% difference in general.

Specs of both processors:

Celeron B840: http://ark.intel.com/products/59801/Intel-Celeron-Processor-...

i5-2415M: http://ark.intel.com/products/53449/Intel-Core-i5-2415M-Proc...


Oh interesting. The desktop I was referring to has a 4 year old Celeron at 1.9Ghz, so possibly its older architecture makes it more different, but not sure.


The Ars article said it's a sandy-bridge celeron, which are actually halfway decent.


It's not the same graphics card either, although they're both bad enough that you probably won't be playing intensive 3D games on them.

The main difference is that the Chromebox is limited to 4GB of RAM, whereas you can put upto 16GB in the Mini.


See the spec links I posted above, Graphics technologies are also similar. Seems like Intel disabled some extras on Celeron's GPU.


>it seems pretty competitive with a Mac mini, actually. . . . same RAM

Actually, the Chromebox has 4 GB of RAM whereas the mini with the $599 list price has only 2 GB. So, technically your statement "same RAM" is incorrect even though upgrading the RAM on the mini to 4 GB will not cost very much.


Ah, thanks - not sure how I missed that.


You can't possibly be serious.

There's a tiny little thing called the operating system which makes significantly more of a difference to the overall experience, performance and value of a computer than a few GHz.


For me first thing to do when I would receive either Chromebox or Mac Mini, I would format the disk and install my Linux distribution of choice.

So, also from my point of view the OS provided in the beginning is not interesting.


1. The Chromebox has 16gb of internal storage. I'm fairly certain it's using the same SSD model the Cr-48s and other Chromebooks used, which is not easily replaceable (difficult to find a fitting card)

2. Chrome laptops and (now) desktops use verified boot, you won't be able to install your own OS unless you literally crack open the case (there are physical implements to prevent firmware flashing) and flash your own BIOS.


I'm fairly sure I've seen guides to put Ubuntu on the various Chromebooks and it just took flipping some kind of dev switch to get access.


Just a note: there are three levels of access in the CR-48: regular (out of the box), dev mode (flip the switch), unprotected (open it up, take out the mobo, tape over a contact to disable bios protection).

The guides that don't require flashing the BIOS are nightmares. Awful, awful hackish nightmares. I say this as someone who did it. It's much easier to open it up, but a piece of tape over some contact, flash the BIOS and install whatever you like.

However, I flat out don't think the disable BIOS protection option is available on retail devices. (I have the cr-48).

If you want a lightweight Linux box, don't buy this, you don't want it, honest.


Shame really, you'd think that if you were producing a device that ran linux anyway, you'd be able to pick up a few extra sales by letting enthusiasts do their own thing with it. Since you're not paying Microsoft anything you've got a bit of wiggle room to be competitive pricewise too. (At the very least you'd think that Google employees might like something to run Goobuntu on).


It's all about trusting the integrity of the machine. With the signed BIOS, and the trust chain of ChromeOS, you can be quite sure that you're booting what you expect you're booting.


I'm serious. If you give a Mac Mini running Chrome and a Chromebox to someone who doesn't care about the numbers, and ask them to use them, how do they compare? If you cared about the OS and that you could install e.g. MS Office, you wouldn't buy a Chromebox in the first place, so you're not even remotely their target audience. And then there are always people who will crack the thing open and write their own OS into it, for whom the bottom price vs specs are the only real deciding factor.


Only for those that need it.


Yeah, nobody needs an OS


He worded his point badly, but no need to be so sarcastic when it's obvious what he means, which is that choice of OS only matters if you need it [for more than to sit in the background behind your web browser].


> I'm curious how this stacks up against e.g. a Mac mini

Easy… one of them is a full computer and one of them is a web browser with 6 USB ports and 16 gig of storage


This is absolutely perfect for my business' use case: 4 customer support advisers who currently use Win7 with just browsers open to our custom built web app. This will be so much cheaper and less maintenance. Only downside is that while it supports 2 screens currently (I'm hoping an update fixes this real soon) it can ridiculously only show the same thing on both screens! No extended desktop.

I was first to buy one at PCWorld on Tottenham Court Road in London yesterday for £279. Will be testing it out next week.


May I ask why you would run win7 on those machines and not a free linux distro?


Multi monitor support. Win7 laptop plus hdmi screen plus displaylink screen. Displaylink linux drivers are iffy. With chromebox really really hoping they get the extended desktop support in soon to use the 2 displaylink ports (would be great if could use the vgi too for 3rd screen but presume not possible)


>it can ridiculously only show the same thing on both screens!

Well, that pretty much kills it for me right that. That and the privacy implication of the Chome* line in general.


For $199 I'd consider it. For $329, no way.


I think $150-$200 would've been the sweet spot for a ChromeBox, and $200-$300 the sweetspot for a Chromebook, depending on the configuration, quality of materials, etc.

Also, I see no reason why these shouldn't be running ARM chips. All you're using is the web, so it's not tied down to the x86 architecture like Windows is.


>I see no reason why these shouldn't be running ARM chips.

Because there are no ARM chips as powerful as the Celeron in the Chromebox.


Desktop Chrome is definitely tied to x86.


Agreed. Just paid US$377 for a quad-core desktop.


I installed ChromeOS on my old VAIO recently. It is definitely not bad in the sense that things it cannot do don't fall in the 99%. I would be happier if Google manages to bring the Play store and run android apps on it. Anything I could imagine the machine couldn't do, there's an app on Android that does it.

If this could run Android apps too, $329 would appear to be a bargain.


Eventually there's going to have to be some merger. I think it could be Chrome OS becoming a variant of Android, considering there's now Chrome for Android.

That said, personally, I'd rather see Chrome OS on phones and tablets, and Android die off, since Chrome OS is the most web-first platform out there.


While Chrome OS is definitely the most web-first platform out there, right now that does not really work to its advantage.

Right now Android has the massive advantage in being able to work reasonably well while offline, something you can just forget with most web apps run on top of Chrome OS.

For a "desktop PC" I'm sure Chrome OS will be more than sufficient, since internet connectivity is not going to be an issue. For mobile devices however, you must always assume connectivity is missing, flaky or slow.

When web-apps finally get the whole offline thingie working a web-first option will become much more of a real option also for mobile, but it's the web which will need to drive it, not the other way around.


What are you implying? I think almost all modern browsers support app caching manifests, meaning web apps work offline.


I think joestink could've instead said:

When web-app DEVELOPERS finally get the whole offline thingie working, a web-first option will become much more of a real option...

/edit: Then again, I'm not positive if Google Chrome's "intalled web apps" often being shortcuts are developer's fault or Google's? I'd love someone with insight to tell us.


It's an awkward combination. By installing a Chrome App, the app can use more and newer (read: more privileged and untested) APIs. These can help make offline apps better. Sometimes they simply look like links but DO enable other functionality. This is the case with several of the Google Apps.

I agree that it's confusing and it's one area where Google could (and I'm not saying they will, I really hope they don't) exert themselves and use the Chrome Web Store as a way of gating "web apps" in Chrome (versus branded "Chrome Apps")


Not all apps have been designed to work when offline and use local storage, local services etc. Most web apps will expect you to have constant connectivity in order to work or be useful.

IOW: Just because web-browsers support offline, doesn't mean the apps does it.


Agree that Chrome OS is more web-centric than Android, but webOS is more web-centric than both.


I prefer to add 270 dollars and get a Mac Mini, that may even run as a server If I want to. (I can even install Chrome on it). There is maybe a market for Chromebox, but for sure we are not that market. :)


I prefer to subtract 100 $ and get a zotac zbox or acer veriton that may even run as a server if I want to. They also are "fast, compact home or office device[s] [that can be] Set up [...] the way you want with multiple USB ports and versatile display options."


While definitely an interesting development in computing, I find the advertising used disingenuous.

They advertise "built-in anti virus" all over, when the truth probably is that there is no anti-virus at all. You can argue that there is a lack of need for this and as such advertising for a device without mentioning anti virus at all would make it seem "unsafe" or confusing for the less technically inclined.

But still claiming it has things it doesn't just to make the marketing department's job easier is in my books disingenuous. It's factually inaccurate. It's a lie.

To me it sounds like "Macs can't have viruses" all over again: It supposedly is safe and "has anti-virus" because it isn't Windows. That's pretty cheap and far from factual.


The "built-in antivirus" probably has something to do with how heavily sandboxed Chrome is and Google's own virus detection for websites.


I wouldn't say that's strictly true. The Chromebook OS most likely has anti-virus in the same sense that Mac OS X does: A remote kill switch.


Why do you thik there's no antivirus? There are antiviruses that run on unices, like ClamAV for example - it's open source, they can include it for free - maybe they did.


ClamAV for Linux et. al. primarily targets Windows threats. It's primarily used to filter e-mail or scan SMB shares, not look for threats that might affect the machine they run on, so it'd seem a very odd choice to include.


Google Galaxy Nexus: ~400 usd (Play Store)

Menotek Micro USB to HDMI MHL Adapter: ~13 usd (Amazon)

Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000: ~50 usd (Staples)

Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000: ~50 usd (Staples)

Full Android ICS Desktop, battery, camera/mic, hspda+, 1920x1080, Chrome for Android.

EDIT: added camera/mic, format


Intriguing. Have you or someone you know actually used this setup?


Where is the target of this device? Certainly I won't buy this, but neither can I think of any reason for a sane people to pay more than 100$ for this box.

People will get an iPad instead, rather than paying 3xx$ for a dumb box.


I wish I got the new ipad that's for sure. The first generation ipad beats the pants off my Acer chromebook and its got even worse with the new shiny UI.

And remember $300 over here (sunny Britain) is more like 300 quid, which is more like equivalent $460!! over there ;)

No one I have shown this to would buy it and they think im insane for doing so.


Looks fun, but $329 isn't throw-away money. Given that I don't need another computer, the price just isn't cheap enough to say "yeh, why not:.


You are likely not the target


Who is? (honest question). I don't get the target from the page.


I see two main targets: Grandmas (sorry to stereotype the tech savvy grandmas out there) or rather tech savvy sons of grandmas which want something that just works for their mothers and that automatically backs things up for them. And enterprises who want to kick Microsoft prices in the nuts.


I see the Grandma use case, but it's so niche I can't see that being viable. As for enterprise, you'd have to have a pretty "progressive" company... and one that would be very sure that you'll never need a desktop app. Again, I would think very small numbers.

I realise Chrome OS is somewhat still a market experiment, but I think it would've gone a lot further at a better price point. For ~$200 I would put one in my living room for checking the web & controlling my home web apps. I see that as the perfect way to get people familiar with it (thinking of it more like a tablet, a limited utility), then once NaCl goes mainstream, you have a who market who's ready to start replacing their other PCs.


I can tell you that a huge international bank (as far as "progressive" as you can get) went Google Apps and ditched Office, so your thinking might be a bit off.


Why wouldn't they get an ipad with icloud? For $20 more you can get a referb ipad2 from apple.com This has a battery, is portable, big screen, etc


"...and don’t slow down over time." (https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/features-key.h...)

That is a huge claim and one that will be false as web technologies continue to need more power.


I think this is about software erosion. http://blog.heroku.com/archives/2011/6/28/the_new_heroku_4_e...


Exactly, I get to 10 tabs and it grinds to a halt. That's 10 sites with nothing more than text and a few images (hardly 5 plugins)....its seriously underpowered as is and with the new UI update its as slow as a dog on the Acer.


Being slow because it is underpowered is different to what I'm referring to - becoming slower over time because web technologies move past the capabilities of the hardware.


Well its creaking at the seams right now, I think given the progression of web technologies (even if they begin to use more hardware acceleration) it is going to become much slower over time as more intensive tasks are offloaded to the Hardware, its not an good indication at the moment that after a UI update its noticeably slower (at least for me) and a lot buggier.


The quote I was referencing is of course talking about the new hardware, not the old hardware you are referring to.

It just strikes me that 'never' is a long time.


Everything about this product is bizarre. My prediction: low sales. Google does not understand physical products very well.


There's no bad product, just bad pricing. I think Google and their partners really don't know how to price a new category product. They should be priced aggressively like the iPad was (when people expected it to be $800-$1000), and also as the iPhone, even though in the beginning Apple tried to sell to the "early adopters" with a higher price, too. But they quickly learned their lesson after just 2 months.

Google has already been through a few of these situations already ($300 Google TV set top box, $430 Chromebook at launch, $800 Honeycomb tablet at launch) and they still haven't learned anything. They haven't learned that the "early adopter price" tactic doesn't work well anymore. You need to price it for mainstream from day one, maintain the price throughout the year, and then just update the hardware for the same price every year. Consumers don't want to be cheated into buying a product that is twice as much at launch, compared to 6 months later.


I think this would be a great product, in a world where iPad and tablets with Android and Windows Mobile don't exist.

Google should work on fixing and polishing Google TV instead instead of this if they want to work on set top boxes. Even with the updates late last year, Google TV compared to the competition is still lagging especially in the UI / UX department.


You mean that weird box that's way more expensive than others and ships with a kludgey qwerty keyboard for use in your living room? They should just call it a wrap on that one too.


Yeah it is a piece of garbage compared to everything else. Now it looks like every TV manufacturer will be using it as their TV's OS, so things may change in the future. TVs will resemble the Android phone landscape.


I don't question the usability of this, but I really don't get the price, which I think is too high. I guess that for the same price one could buy 15" laptop with the roughly same components, so you would effectively get a screen and a keyboard for free. Where does the additional cost come from? Stripped down OS?


Small storage, cheaper Celeron processor, cheap amount of RAM. The additional cost I'm guessing would be a hefty mark up. Perhaps they are trying to achieve Apple levels of profitability.


How does Google manage to only have one retailer who actually sells the device in Europe. It feels as if every time they [Google] introduce something new and cool (phone, computer ...) it is only available for a selected few. Then when we all forgot about it they add a few more retailers.


That's not by accident. Exclusive partners gain that status by agreeing to help subsidize the product in some way, shape, or form. And they want their money's worth, so they (the partner) make sure the contract lasts just long enough for you to not care after the contract ends. Of course, the first party is hoping the product catches on, is insanely popular, and continues to drive demand after the contract is up. That doesn't always happen.

So, it's a catch-22. Do you as a first party go it alone, and incur more cost, or curtail your retail spread and take less of a hit up front? From the disinterest in the retail Chromebooks, Google made the right call there.

That said, I wouldn't have minded a CR-48... But it was a little costly, and the other models were a little too wimpy. I'd think Google would take a risk by taking a loss on one huge product push... But I guess not.


I guess my problem, as a consumer, is that I never expect to actually to be able to buy a Google hardware product. Compared to a hardware company like Apple, I know I can go to my local store to get that fancy device I just heard about on the radio. While, with Google, It's like their glasses, their autonomous car, their phones, their computers; it seems to only be some really polished R&D thing.


Oh no, I get you, and it sucks.


"Chrome devices are available in select countries."

2% of all available countries.

I wish Google understood how badly this undermines their international marketing. Apple understands this better.


Hope this works for Google, but my suspicion is consumer segment will be tough for them.

Iterative design methods ("lets release and see what happens") in consumer hardware, may not be as suited as the Apple method viz. highly designed, integrated (aka ecosystem) and engineered approach.


There is a second version (XE300M22-A02US) with Core i5 processor and 499$ pricetag: http://www.chromestory.com/2012/05/two-chromeboxes-second-49...


Advantages this version of the Chromebox has over the base-model Mac mini: slightly faster Core i5; more USB ports (6 versus 4); more DisplayPorts (2 versus 1); comes with more RAM (4 gigs versus 2 gigs); $69 cheaper (using the Chromebox's list price versus Amazon's current price for the Mac mini).

Advantages the mini has over the Chromebox: memory upgradable to 16 gigs (Apple says 8 gigs, but others report that 16 gigs works) whereas the Chromebox's memory does not seem upgradable at all; Firewire and Thunderbolt ports whereas to attach an external drive to the Chromebox your only choice seems to be slow USB 2; storage upgradeable (specifically, you can add an SDD or a second hard drive to the mini).

How repairable and upgradable the Chromebox is I do not know -- googling for "chromebox teardown" finds nothing interesting. iFixit gives the mini a relatively-high repairability rating of 8.5 (but adding a second drive to the mini requires an expensive custom cable).

Size and weight are very close. Both have the power supply inside the device.


The Chromebox apparently uses a verified boot, so no Linux unless you can replace the bios. It's a shame since a small footprint, low-power, turnkey Linux box would be just the thing for a number of applications, though the Chromebox lacks a way to add fast storage.


Thanks. I do not understand why someone other than Apple or Samsung does not make something like this (without the price premium Apple wants for OS X and without the verified boot).


The UK store doesn't have any of the new generation Chromebooks and especially not the new box. So, select countries means only one: USA.


I'm not seeing the new units for sale on Amazon.co.uk (though they do have updated copy and product shots for the Chrome device range) but the second-gen Samsung Chromebook is listed on the John Lewis website, which is one of the other retail partners.


This is true shame after the success of wall plug PCs and all-in-one boards. It should be ARM and cost 99$ For 330$ you can build a cheap but full scale PC. Why does it need 4G RAM? Is Chrome so bloated now?


1. Can I install Ubuntu on it?

2. Can I increase the RAM?

3. Will it run LibreOffice?

If the answer to all of those is 'yes', I forsee myself buying this in the future.


I’d assumed Displayport had died off in favour of mini-Displayport. Is this common any more?


Maybe they do not want to take the support calls from users who would have mistaken the mini-Displayport for Thunderbolt. (Not that I approve of the effect of such a decision on the proliferation of port types, just that I can see it from Google's point of view.)


I've not seen mini-Displayport on a non-apple desktop


Was It ever common?


Given the 16GB SSD, clearly Google assumes users will be storing most everything online. First question I'd have as a consumer, then, is, does it include some "cloud" equivalent of a Mac mini's Time Machine? Specifically, if my Google account is hacked and the attacker deletes all my music, photos, documents, email, etc., can I recover them?

If not, saving a couple hundred bucks plus the cost of a USB backup drive seems short-sighted at best.


Or if the attacker is Google just locking you out of your account one day?


I really wish they would have provided Google TV features with the Chromebox...that would make it compelling from where I sit.


I think it's a good choice in india. We have customers who bought our software but first they need a computer to use it. $329 is not cheap but there's the 'google' brand to it, so to customers 'we are not recommending something bad'. Wonder how much will it cost in india though.


I think it's too expensive to be a good choice in any country, especially India where I assume it will cost even more than in the US.

I assume you are selling some software solution to your customers and they also need hardware to run it. It might be a good purchase for some companies but at this price they can also get a standard desktop.


Currently, it's available in selected countries. And India doesn't seem to be one of them. :(


> We have customers who bought our software but first they need a computer to use it

Is your software a web app then?


Yeah


It'd be nice if it was just "Chromebox" and not "Samsung Chromebox." Seems like a product that could have been decent but got rushed out the door and manipulated by bureaucracy. Google needs to stop letting things like this leak out, it's embarrassing.


It'll be a very capable PC or thin client if that's at all possible.

I wonder how feasible it is to put a Linux distribution here and get it working. I know it is possible with the Chromebook, and if it's gonna work for the Chromebox, then shut up and take my money.


16gb SSD of hard disk spare really limits your options if you're loading up a Linux distribution.

But seriously you can something with cheaper and better specs for less that $329 to run Linux.


But seriously you can something with cheaper and better specs for less that $329 to run Linux.

But as small and quiet and that can drive two 30" monitors?

I have an Eee Box running Linux; it's physically larger, only supports one monitor (as far as I can tell), and the hardware video decoder can only do 720p. (The hardware video decoding is important because the Atom cannot decode 720p H.264 in real time itself.)


There are several things that puts the Chromebox ahead:

1, It is as small, slick and quiet as a Mac Mini. 2, It is designed to run Linux. 3, The hardware is backed by Smasung/Google. 4, It has a freakin' SSD? Unless you're compiling AOSP or put all of you music on it, 16GB is some space to spare. I guess there are ways to expand the internal storage too.


Sorry but for that price, no way.


I would personally not use this machine, but I would I definitely see my parents/kids using it. It comes across as a low cost, low maintenance PC, and this is just want I would like my kids to use (vs the Windows/OS X alternatives).


It reminds me of some other similar device I can't quite put my finger on…


Google's Chromebox page states: Processor: Intel® Core™ processor RAM: 4 GB RAM

Newegg's Chromebox page states: Processor: Intel Celeron B840 1.9GHz RAM: 2GB DDR3 1333

Amazon's Chromebox page states: Processor: 1.9 GHz Celeron B840 RAM: 4 GB


Newegg are wrong, it's 4GB.


I get that Google wants to try weird stuff. But how did Samsung green light this adventure? I can't imagine that it's easy/cheap to produce these things in small production runs.


Majority of these mini PC's used in conference or meeting rooms, as an easy way to hook up PC with TV. However, next month when Apple announce to open Apple TV as an development platform, there will be an interesting convergence of mini Pc's and tv boxes. Which will probably lead to long rumored Apple TV box.

You don't know what this Chrome box do because Google doesn't know either. Companies threw hardware and see what developers can do, and see where it evolves.


Not even my parents would want to use this. No Skype.


The website in no way makes this clear, but I think you can video chat through your Skype account using the built in IMO app.


Soo, it's an Asus Eee Box without a real OS? Sad..


The Eee Box has an Atom processor.


I know a lot of people who use their PCs and Laptops only for Facebook and YouTube. This will definitely please them.


It's the perfect PC for the majority of non savy users, who unfortunatly will probibly never hear about it...


I am struggling to imagine a situation where I would be tempted to recommend a Chromebox over an iPad to a non-savvy user. (The iPad 2 is currently available from Apple's online store for $399, and remember that the Chromebox's $329 price does not include keyboard, mouse or monitor.)

The only thing coming up for me is if the non-savvy user's vision is really horrible, such that he or she will always be using a big TV as a monitor, then the Chromebox wins because even with Airplay Mirroring, the user would have to look at the iPad to manipulate the elements of the iPad's user interface.

I think you are letting your enthusiasm for Google's commitment to innovation or your enthusiasm for ChromeOS's being based mainly on open-source codebases or your enthusiasm for the open web bias your thinking about what would be best for a non-savvy user!


I still think that

>It would be better if Samsung and Google could low the price a little bit.

That is what I wrote months ago.

http://www.garron.me/linux/chrome-os-chromebook-ready-prime-...

The price is too high for what this thing is capable of.


I desperately want a thin client "device" I can hook up to my tv / stereo to stream in music and movies from my network storage downstairs. If this can do it with nice to use software then I'll definitely but it if it saves me a couple hundred bucks compared to a mac mini.



Who is this aimed at?


If this box really is a secure, maintenance free computer, I see a lots of places where it could shine: elementary schools, small business, info kiosks, libraries, my parents ;-)


Small businesses (think store clerk, hotel lobby), for instance.

Alternatively as a mediacenter or server. I've used an Acer Revo for exactly this for the past two years now. The low power consumption maked it great for at-home development and hosting in my case.


I have no idea. Why would a business buy something like that? Please elaborate.


I can think of some. A lot of people use browser almost exclusively at work. Salespeople, customer service people, etc. If the business software they use is web based, they use a browser.


I don't know, what if they need to edit a report with a company template someone made in Word? There are full fledged PC for sale at less than that price. Salespeople are often on the move and would probably use a netbook I think.


How do businesses currently share Word docs? They either email them around or put them in a shared folder. And when that happens, and the ChromeBox user clicks it, GMail or Google Drive will happily open that Word doc in Google Apps.


I may be mistaken but I don't remember being able to keep the template of a word document while editing it in google docs, changing examples anyway, slightly more complex excel files could also not be supported I think.


Has anyone tried to use a home Chromebook as a development tool connecting to a corporate network over VPN and using VNC to connect to a linux box?

I think it would be much better for my marriage if I could handle the "work emergencies" from the same room as my wife.


I use my CR-48 as my normal portable laptop. I can code with web based IDEs, SSH into my boxes if needed and it has ~8 hours of battery life. I absolutely love the device, I just think any price over $299 is barking at the moon.


It seems Google is trying to break into the consumer hardware space to compete against Apple -- Chromebox + Chromebook + Nexus (and likely Motorola developments)... I'm not sure how I feel given they haven't been blockbuster successes thus far.


Unfortunately, I consider gadgets like this to be a harbinger of how they'll handle projects like Glass. I know people love Google's R&D efforts but... I loved Xerox PARC's R&D - it took Apple to productize it successfully.


How long until ur phone becomes a chromebox esque device that u can just plug into any screen or better yet wirelessly connect to any screen.


'ur phone'? Also, many Android devices already do this.


What a non-description it starts out with:

> "The Chromebox is a fast, compact home or office device."

So...it's a computer. Why call it a "home or office device"?


it's in a fullsize case, but the Compaq cq2701 seems to have more and better for $20 less... ( bought one for my wife last weekend .) It's a 2.3 GHz G630T dual-core, which is fine for her uses. Yeah, it's Win7, so what, wanna fight about it? :) It could be Chrome O/S-ed in a short interval...


Assuming this runs ChromeOS, which is basically just the Chrome browser. Can it download, install apps?


You don't strictly "download" or "install" web apps, Chrome's "installed" apps are glorified shortcuts. There is a Chrome store full of web apps. However, thanks the HTML5 and app caching, these applications will work offline.


That's not really true, it's more that installable apps can just be a glorified shortcut. The majority of apps that did that at launch of the store hurt them on that perception, I think.

Installable apps, like extensions, usually reside mostly locally and can have elevated permissions on some things: https://developers.google.com/chrome/apps/docs/developers_gu...


Well yes, that's true. They do have elevated permissions. I didn't know they resided locally though, I thought they just used cache manifests.


Anyone knows what is DisplayPort++?


It's a DisplayPort that will emit VGA signals for a passive adaptor.


Thanks! Seems DP++ can do regular DP, HDMI, DVI, and VGA, which is pretty awesome!


Google and marketing will never get along:

"compact home or office device" <---- WHATEVER THAT MEANS!


nice specs, I would put Debian on it and use as a portable network analyzer. I'll probably do so as soon as it's available in my country


You would have to flash the BIOS to get past the Verified Boot security.


What you say appears to be true, yet quite misleading since there's a simple process, provided by Google and built into the device, for flashing the BIOS (or at least there was on the Series 5 Chromebooks):

http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/developer-information-fo...


Ah, thanks for the clarification. That'll learn me to parrot information from random people.


hmm. I saw somewhere it was characterized as highly hackable


I'd get something like this instead, and put Debian on it:

http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/PT.SJ4P2.001


I'm currently using two types of devices:

-- 10" Acer AspireOne netbooks. They are cheap, and Ubuntu works flawlessly (true before 12.04)

-- ALIX boards from pcengines.ch. They are even cheaper, and low-power, and with RS-232 console port. Perfect if you don't need CPU power.

but for the cases when I need to do packet trace on a Gigabit link, I need to make sure the traffic is low enough for the acer netbook to catch up


can my kids run minecraft on it? If so I might purchase one.


Will it run Windows 7?


Will it blend?


Looks like there's major spin on this on that page.

Whats a Intel Core(TM) processor? Dig deeper and it's an anemic Celeron, not a Core i3 or i5 or i7 as the name implies.

Why is there no mention of storage AT ALL? Because it's a 16GB(!) SSD.

The Amazon page says "No Blue Screens"? What happens to ChromeOS if RAM gets corrupt? It doesn't crash and magically keeps running? Most BSoDs nowadays are due to hardware issues.

Edit: Why the downvotes? Is it forbidden to criticize Google here? Or is it just Google employees? Care to reply instead?


Yes, there is a noticeable pro-Google bias on Hacker News. Links that show Google in a negative light are instantly backed up by Google employees. This comment will probably get down voted. I seriously don't care about votes and don't know how the system works and get annoyed when people complain about down votes (like it actually matters).


The top comment starts "This is a terrible page and the product manager of this thing should be ashamed" which doesn't seem to indicate an HN pro-Google bias.


I've noticed quite a few companies seem to be astroturfing hacker news recently, it wouldn't be so obvious if it wasn't the same people commenting on every single article that's critical of there company or trashing on their competitors products.

Even Mozilla isn't innocent of this but Google is taking this to the next level; I wouldn't be surprised if they have there own 50 Cent Party specifically targeting (social) news websites.


The Celeron they're using is basically a low-end Sandy Bridge processor, and Intel markets most Sandy Bridge processors under the Core brand. It's not really anemic, either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Celeron_microproc...


>The Celeron they're using is basically a low-end Sandy Bridge processor, and Intel markets most Sandy Bridge processors under the Core brand

Do you have any reference for that?

Intel's own page shows that only i3, i5 and i7 are part of the family as does Wikipedia.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/core/core-...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core


http://review.coreboot.org/gitweb?p=coreboot.git;a=commit;h=...

"Sandybridge base Samsung ChromeBox"

How many different types of ChromeBoxes is Samsung selling?



That reference(even if Wikipedia) seems to imply that the first Sandy Bridge processors released were the Core processors, not that all Sandy Bridge silicon will be or is branded Core.

Are there any cases of laptops or PCs with Celeron processors being referred to as having Core processors?


My apologies, I meant to link to the list of processors in that article -- by pure count (and, anecdotally, most often), most Sandy Bridge processors are Core processors.

The text "Upgrade To An Intel® Core™ Processor" does appear on Intel's Celeron page, so there's that. http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/celeron/ce...

(And, for what it's worth, I'm not completely defending Google on this, just pointing out what their reasoning could be.)



You're likely being downvoted because your criticism shows no understanding of the market segment this product is aimed at.


If it looks like a computer, people will think it's a computer at first glance. There's nothing on that page that makes for particularly compelling reading, so why would I read first, instead of going by the picture?


You mean the market segment that is not technical enough to understand specs like HN'ers can?

Note that my comment was more about the way it was presented rather than a complaint that it is slow.


I mean the market segment doesn't care if you can play Quake on it.


Most BSoDs nowadays are due to badly written drivers. Actual memory corruption is pretty rare.


>Looks like there's major spin on this on that page.

To be fair, it is Google's page. I don't expect anyone trying to sell me anything to tell me the negatives unless they're legally obligated to do so.


It's bit like complaining that Samsung doesn't tell you about their phones having poor battery life on their website.


Celeron is more than enough for everything if the software beneath is good enough -- remember, it's orders of magnitude faster than what we had in the 80s, but most computer tasks are still similar. Perhaps Google is betting on that?

16GB SSD needs to hold the OS (.5GB perhaps?), the browser (.1GB), and some cache (all the rest). Everything else is in the cloud.

"No Blue Screen" -- I suppose it hangs in some other way then :)


Must be a red-yellow-blue-green screen then ;)


There's no mention of storage because this box is not for storing things. It's a client device. It's supposed to show content from servers.


This is totally cloud and totally browsing. 16G is probably more than you'll ever use. You're thinking "desktop."


>Edit: Why the downvotes? Is it forbidden to criticize Google here? Or is it just Google employees? Care to reply instead?

I think you have been downvoted _because_ you made a good point and the Google fanboys armed with downmods want to bury the comment. Unfortunate trend on HN here.


Hope it does better than the dismal sales of Chromebooks last year.

The consumer space between cheap laptops/netbooks and an iPad is vanishingly small.


Funny how many USB ports it has when it's capabilities are limited to a web browser. What on earth would you be plugging in to them.


I have one on the way amd will be testing with a barcode scanner and mag stripe reader which makes a total of four USB devices.


Raspberry Pi makes products like this completely obsolete. I see nothing here worth paying an order of magnitude more money for. Google seems to have a really bad habit lately of building products that nobody wants.


The Raspberry Pi is targeted squarely at enthusiasts (which, granted, is probably most people here).

It comes without an operating system, any storage, a case, or even a power supply. This is a huge, if not insurmountable, barrier to entry for a large portion of the population.

The Chromebox is a turnkey, plug in power, plug in TV, surf the web product. They couldn't be more dissimilar.


> plug in TV

Just a quick note: The biggest piece of feedback I got from a journo friend of mine who just reviewed this chromebox is actually that out of the box it won't do HDMI or VGA (without buying an adapter separately that is), which seemed odd to me (and to him) given being easy to connect to a TV seems like a big use case for the chromebox.

edit: In case anyone wants to see his hands-on piece, it's at http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/pc-mac-desktops/sams...


>out of the box it won't do HDMI or VGA (without buying an adapter separately that is)

Some DVI ports can send VGA signals, in which case it would just be a matter of getting a cable with DVI pins on one end and VGA pins on the other.

In other words, the DVI spec contains a VGA-compatible part and an HDMI-like part so that a single DVI port can send VGA signals or HDMI-like "DVI-D" (DVI digital) signals.

Moreover, DVI-HDMI cables are common although some DVI ports cannot provide audio to go along with the video and others cannot speak the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection protocol.


Not _quite_ true.

At the very least - theres _lot_ more RAM on board the Chrome Box, theres a "16G hard drive" (presumably ssd/flash?), there 6 usb ports, there's a power supply built in, bluetooth onboard, and there's a nice (enough) case wrapping it all up.

For _some_ people that's not worth ~$280, but there's not very many "general public" who're planning on plugging a RaspberryPi into their TV as part of their home entertainment system.


What would you plug into 6 USB ports when the "computer" only has a web browser?


My MacMini media server has 4 external drives, a usb drive, and a iPhone/iPad/iPod charging cable hanging off it right now.


I see nothing here worth paying an order of magnitude more money for.

Simplicity? I am very much willing to pay for a simple device that requires close to no support and maintenance. And I’m sure this is quite a common sentiment among people who have to service their relatives’ computers – huge, complex machines used mostly just to browse the web.


I think there's a typo in the price, they meant to sell it for 29 bucks and they put 329 instead.




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