LG has announced a new all-in-one PC running Google's web-based Chrome OS, aiming it directly at businesses looking to shift their processes to the cloud.
While the South Korean firm's machine is not the first desk-bound Chrome-powered device, it is the first all-in-one incarnation of Google's operating system. Powered by Intel's budget fourth-generation Celeron processor and housed within a shell containing a 21.5in full HD IPS display, the device will operate much like any other Chrome OS device, able to run cloud-based applications such as Google Drive, Calendar, Gmail and YouTube.
For more power-hungry tasks, the Chromebase can also be used as a monitor, with an HDMI-in port allowing for the connection of external machines. It follows a trend of monitors that feature mobile-style operating systems, with a selection of Android-powered screens already on the market. A ViewSonic Android monitor, for example, was priced at £330 upon its launch last year.
LG said it will announce the Chromebase's price at CES in January. The device also comes with a keyboard, mouse, four USB ports (including one USB 3.0) and a network port, a feature often lacking on standard Chomebooks. A webcam, microphone and 5W speakers round off the device's media credentials.
Promotional images show Chrome OS displaying a battery meter (above), however the firm made no mention of the device having a backup battery in its marketing material, indicating that the shot is merely showing off the Chrome OS user interface and not an indication of how it will look in its final state.
It also comes with a 16GB solid-state hard drive, but with a persistent internet connection required for many of Chrome OS's apps, most big business files will likely be stored elsewhere.
LG is pointing the product firmly at businesses looking for devices used by workers performing relatively basic tasks. Hyoung-sei Park, LG's business division chief, said: "LG Chromebase is the wave of the future for desktops, expected to be widely adopted not only at home, but especially in schools, hotels, call centres and other business settings."
As more and more business-centric software packages become available as web applications, low-power Chromebooks are becoming an increasingly viable option for smaller businesses.
However, with Chromebooks often featuring compromised build quality combined with performance that quickly drops off with minimal multi-tasking, IT managers may still need some convincing as to whether such an investment is really worthwhile.
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