Is Chrome OS Graduating To The Big Screen?

Acer doesn't seem to be afraid of taking chances. Take its Aspire A3 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 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.

The point is, suddenly there are two new devices that put Chrome OS on the big screen, albeit in very different ways. But that's noteworthy; Chrome OS is evolving, in terms of use case. It's also worth pointing out that it seems there's now some overlap on the big screen between Chrome OS, Android TV and the Chromecast. Google is always experimenting, so although this makes for a curious trio, it's also not particularly surprising to see.

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.

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  • rauelius
    Two things will help make ChromeOS explode. Installable on our normal PCs, and ability to install Steam. This would make it a legitimate Windows competitor.
    Not only Steam, but everything else, like Origin, UPlay...but Steam would be a great start.
  • marthisdil
    Two things will help make ChromeOS explode. Installable on our normal PCs, and ability to install Steam. This would make it a legitimate Windows competitor.
    Except ChromeOS isn't really linux...and it certainly isn't Windows.

    And I don't remember seeing a lot (i.e. any) ChromeOS games on Steam...
  • chicofehr
    Looks too much like a mac to me
  • Steam on ChromeOS doesn't make any sense. ChromeOS isn't supposed to have any local data. It's a remote/thin client. No local storage, no installed software.