The $85 Chromebit is another nice, useless product that solves a problem that didn’t exist

The original Chromecast initiated a trend: HDMI dongles with computing capabilities were born. Intel Compute Stick and Splendo are two good examples of this kind of miniPC (in this case, based on Windows). Now we’ve got another alternative, not in format but in its OS.

The Chromebit was announced a few months ago, and it has finally launched with modest specs: a Rockchip SoC comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard (“relatively slow eMMC”) storage.

You’ve got also a USB port and the dedicated charger (USB to MicroUSB) and according to Engadget’s review,

It’s not terribly fast, nor is it always elegant in its execution. Then again, it’s a perfectly serviceable way to access your email, music and nearly everything the web has to offer, mostly using gear you probably already have. It’s not the most capable streamer. And like most other Chrome OS machines, the Chromebit won’t replace a desktop or laptop with heavier-duty hardware and a more fully featured OS

ExtremeTech agrees. I wouldn’t say that makes this device really interesting. What are the user cases here? If you’re traveling, you’re better served by your own smartphone or tablet most of the time. If you want to use it as a mediacenter the Chromecast can deliver, and if you want to get a more ambitious desktop experience you’ve got those sticks based on Windows I mentioned or even devices such as the Surface 3.

Move along, nothing to see here.

Source: Google And ASUS Launch The $85 Chromebit, A Chrome OS Desktop On An HDMI Stick

Google as a hardware company

nexus

Walt Mossberg has published a column in The Verge in which there’s a little mistake just in the headline. When he says ‘It’s time for Google to make its own hardware‘ he forgets Google is already a hardware maker.

It has shown that for example with its Chromecast devices, but above all with the two Chromebook Pixel models it released in February 2013 and March 2015. Those beautiful machines only had -still have- one big problem: they were -still are- based on Chrome OS, which was -still is- no match for a machine so powerful and well designed.

But I agree with him deeply in the rest of the article: Google should really become a mobile maker the same way Apple is since 2007 and Microsoft has started to be since the acquisition of Nokia in late 2013.

In fact, when I wrote about the useless Nexus I critiziced the new models (5X, 6P)  because they were competing with Google’s traditional partners without adding that much differentiation on them. As I wrote back the, “it seems Google makes this smartphones just because it can”.

But they can do better. They should do better. The Nexus family should be a testimony of what Android can offer. The should show the way, be the goal, become the model to follow. And that can only be done if Google designs not only the software but the hardware that runs that software.

The five reasons Mossberg gives to defend that role of Google as a mobile hardware company are relevant, and as he adds, that hardware “should be targetd  specific areas like hero phones and those for people in low-income countries“.

I see Google becoming that kind of mobile maker. And I see them doing that because that’s the only way the future Android-Chrome OS merger will be able to show what it’s capable of. Google can’t rely on its partners to demonstrate that. Apple has not done it. Microsoft has not done it (with Windows 10). Google shouldn’t do it.

Source: Mossberg: It’s time for Google to make its own hardware | The Verge

Amazon banning Chromecast, Apple TV: my country, my rules

 

Amazon.com Inc. will stop selling media-streaming devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. that aren’t easily compatible with its video service, the latest example of the company using its clout to promote products that fit with its own retailing strategy.

It’s unfair for users that take advantage of Amazon great service, but it’s a logical decision from a business point of view.

The move, coming just before the year-end holiday shopping season, shows how Amazon is willing to sacrifice sales of popular brand name products — Apple and Google have the best-selling media streaming devices generally — to bolster its own video-streaming service

The explanation is weak, yes -Chromecast and Apple TV aren’t “easily compatible with its video service- but at the end what matters is trying to get traction in this segment. Helping competitors to get their content instead of yours is silly.

I’d have done the same exact thing.

Source: Amazon to Ban Sale of Apple, Google Video-Streaming Devices – Bloomberg Business