Google announces new Chromebooks and Chromebit HDMI sticks

In today's open source roundup: New Chromebooks and Chromebit HDMI sticks. Plus: Tor Browser 4.0.6 released. And should Linux game developers target 32-bit or 64-bit systems?

New Chromebooks and Chromebit HDMI sticks

Google's Chromebooks have long been burning up the sales charts on Amazon's list of bestselling laptops. Now the company has announced four new Chromebooks, new HDMI sticks called Chromebits, and an update to its App Runtime for Chrome.

Eric Brown reports for Linux Gizmos:

Google announced an Asus “Chromebit” HDMI stick running Chrome OS, plus four new low-cost Chromebooks, and opened its Android-to-Chrome OS app porting tech.

Google took the Linux and Chrome browser based Chrome OS a step closer to a potential convergence with Android as it announced the first embedded form-factor Chrome OS computer, as well as the most affordable touchscreen Chromebook yet. Google also opened up its App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) technology for porting Android apps to Chrome OS to all Android app developers, and revealed a beta Chrome Launcher 2.0 with greater integration of Android’s Google Now application (see farther below).

The Haier Chromebook 11 and Hisense Chromebook — two 11.6-inch models aimed at educational and emerging markets — each go for $149, down from a previous Chromebook low of $199. The convertible, touchscreen-enabled Asus Chromebook Flip sells for $249, which is $30 cheaper than the touch-ready Acer C720P-2661 and $50 less than the $299 HP Chromebook 14 G3.

All four Chromebooks integrate the HD-ready RK3288SoC, as well as 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 16GB of eMMC flash, a microSD slot, an HDMI port, dual USB 2.0 ports, 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.0.A front-facing 720p camera is also available, as well as 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years.

More at Linux Gizmos

The Google Chrome Blog has the official announcement:

“Get more done and worry less.” That’s what teachers, businesses, and everyday people have told us they can do, thanks to Chromebooks. Since we introduced them four years ago, Chromebooks have made computers faster, simpler, and more secure, while eliminating everyday hassles like waiting for your computer to boot up, having to constantly charge it, and remembering to install software updates. And a lot of people love them—Chromebooks were the best selling laptops on Amazon last holiday season, and teachers and students made them the #1 device in schools last year.

You shouldn't have to choose between a computer that performs well and one that you can afford. Today we're introducing two new devices that meet both criteria: the Haier Chromebook 11 (available at Amazon) and the Hisense Chromebook (available at Walmart). These new Chromebooks are fast, lightweight, have long-life batteries and are available for pre-order today for $149.

We’re also excited about the ASUS Chromebook Flip. A premium, all-metal convertible, it’s ultra-portable—just 15mm thin and weighing less than two pounds. The Chromebook Flip has a great keyboard and a touch screen for immersive experiences like gaming and educational apps. It will be available later this spring for $249.

This summer, ASUS will launch a new type of Chrome device: the Chromebit. Smaller than a candy bar, the Chromebit is a full computer that will be available for less than $100. By simply plugging this device into any display, you can turn it into a computer. It’s the perfect upgrade for an existing desktop and will be really useful for schools and businesses.

More at Google Chrome Blog

The news about the HDMI stick and App Runtime caught the attention of Chromebook redditors and they shared their thoughts:

Mixgenio: "...any Android developer can start using the App Runtime for Chrome (still in beta). That means those developers will be able to port their Android apps right over to Chrome OS with minimal hassle, something Google first announced back at I/O last year." That is huge."

Chinchillin: "I'd much rather they rebuild them to fit ChromeOS proper rather than porting apps. Every Android app ported to ChromeOS has been horrid."

Lodc: "It's good and bad. It allows chromeos users access to a lot more software, but it also means developers have less incentive to create chromeos native apps. Why bother writing something specifically for chromeos when you can just port an android app? Not sure how that will shake out in the long term."

SpaceMonkeyPDX: "This is amazing - I'd definitely consider buying one. IMO, HDMI sticks are the future of computing and the "desktop"."

PlatinumX: "I'm a little confused. Is this basically a full Chromebox in a stick, or is it more like a Chromecast? Is the USB port for a keyboard?"

Feltz: "It's a chromebox on a stick but with less hardware features. One USB port. Wifi. 2g ram vs 4gb. Arm mali chip vs an intel cpu. That's pretty much it. Unless you added a powered USB hub then you could connect multiple usb devices and a usb to ethernet adapter(most likely). As for speed, I have the same rockchip 3288 running android and it's very snappy. Shouldn't be a problem running chromeos."

Baseballandfreedom: "Assuming it can process HD videos well, I'll be buying this to replace my TV's chromebox."

JOLO: "This looks pretty awesome. Being able to watch any video that will play in Chrome on any TV is fantastic. Pair this with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you are set. I love my Roku, but if this things performs decently I might have to make a switch. I'll wait to see one in the wild before I make and rash decisions, but it definitely has potential."

More at Reddit

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