Acer doesn't seem to be afraid of taking chances. Take its Aspire A3 (opens in new tab) for instance: it's a 21.5-inch all-in-one (AIO) desktop powered by Google's Android platform and a backup battery. Essentially, consumers can use it as a large Android tablet, taking it from room to room without much fuss. Acer also took a chance with Google's Chrome OS, and now the company is one of the leading Chromebook manufacturers in the industry.
So it shouldn't be any surprise that Acer introduced an AIO desktop running Chrome OS called the Chromebase. Unfortunately, the company hasn't provided full specs, so we're not sure what this machine will include hardware-wise outside of the few details the company offered in the announcement.
Acer revealed that the Chromebase series will rock a 21.5-inch Full HD screen with 178-degree viewing angles and 10-point touch input. The AIO will be powered by an Nvidia Tegra K1 quad-core chip (that's right, a Tegra chip in an AIO) and will feature a built-in HD webcam, two 3-watt audio speakers, HDMI output, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, Wireless N and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. That's it for the spec list -- for now, anyway.
Acer indicated that the new AIO Chromebase has "multiple layers of security," including automatic system updates, which are part and parcel of Chrome OS. Acer also promised boot up time of 10 seconds and support for multiple users. (Again, multiple user logins are simply part of Chrome OS.) Keep in mind that Chrome OS ties into the user's Google account, meaning that any purchased movies, TV shows, music and more will be accessible on the AIO PC.
Although Acer is calling it the "world's first" with the touch aspect of its Chromebase, it's not the first to produce a Chrome OS AIO computer. LG also has a Chromebase (opens in new tab) for $349.99. It has a dual-core Intel Celeron 2955U processor (1.4 GHz), 2 GB of DDR3L-1600 memory, 16 GB of internal storage and a 21.5-inch Full HD IPS panel. Other hardware includes two 5-watt speakers, HDMI input, one USB 3.0 port, three USB 2.0 ports and more.
News of Acer's new Chromebase arrives after Asus introduced the Chromebit this week, which is a $100 dongle that plugs directly into an HDMI port. We asked Asus for the specs of this device, but the company quickly returned with an answer stating that Asus has yet to disclose the specs because the device is still in the concept stages.
What's curious about the Chromebit is that Google has helped create a dongle that seemingly removes the need for a Chromebase. You simply plug the device into an HDMI port, fire up a Bluetooth-capable mouse and keyboard, and you're all set. It seems ideal for turning your living room TV into a sort of smart TV, for example.
As for the Acer Chromebase, the company said the AIO PC will be made available here in the United States in 2Q 2015. Acer didn't provide pricing, but we expect it to be similar in price to LG's version.