It's safe to say that Google has captured the sub-$200 laptop market with its Chromebook line. The company branched out into the mini-desktop PC space in 2012 with the Chromebox from Samsung. Now it's back with a new partner in tow.
Google and Asus announced today that the Asus Chromebox will be hitting retail on Friday, March 17, for $179. The mini-desktop PC brings the best of Chrome OS in a small package that's intended for TVs and those who want a desktop PC dedicated to consuming Web media.
Despite running a Web-centric OS, the Chromebox sports some decent specs. It packs a 4th gen Intel CPU, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort for 4K output, Dual-band Wi-Fi and 100GB of free Google Drive storage.
As it has done with the Chromebook, Google wants the Chromebox to service consumers and enterprise alike. While the consumer Chromebox is the sub-$200 mini-PC described above, the enterprise version is called Chromebox for Meetings. It has the exact same specs, but comes with an HD camera, microphone and remote control for those who want an inexpensive way to hold video conference calls.
The Chromebox for Meetings is already available for $999. The cost includes all the hardware as well as the first year's $250 management and support fee.
With Chromebox and Chromebox for Meetings, Google will trying its hand at the mini-desktop PC market yet again. It might not be much of a hit for consumers though as many of the advertised features of the Chromebox can be performed just as well with the Chromecast. The enterprise applications are far more alluring, but the $999 price tag might put off some businesses looking for a cheap video conferencing solution.