Asus has become the latest firm to unveil a computer-on-a-stick device that simply connects to the back of a display and offers a low-cost alternative to a full-blown PC.
The forthcoming Asus device called the Chromebit was disclosed, unusually, by Google on its Chrome blog. This is because the device will be based on the same Chrome OS that powers the Chromebook laptops, which have become a popular alternative to a full-blown Windows laptop.
Slated to arrive this summer, the Chromebit is described as "smaller than a candy bar", but offering the capabilities of a full computer for less than $100 (£67). It is designed to plug into the HDMI socket of a display or TV and use a wireless connection for Internet access.
While full details of the Chromebit have yet to be disclosed, various sources claim the device is based on a Rockchip ARM-compatible quad-core processor with 2GB of memory and 16GB flash storage. It is also said to have a microUSB port for power, and Bluetooth to connect peripherals such as a keyboard.
The device is somewhat similar to the Intel Compute Stick announced at CES in January, but Intel's device is based on the Atom processor and is capable of running full-blown Windows or Linux, while the Chrome OS in Chromebit is a lightweight platform designed to access Google's cloud-based services.
Several other similar PC-on-a-stick devices already exist that largely run Android, including the Dell Wyse Cloud Connect, which is designed to plug into the back of a display and provide access to virtual desktop sessions using VMware, Citrix or Wyse software clients.
Such devices are often targeted at digital signage applications, or as an alternative to carrying a laptop for workers that often move between sites.
Some organisations have reportedly been deploying Chromebooks to employees in place of Windows laptops, and it is conceivable that Chromebit could also fit into such an environment.
IBM software case reminiscent of TSMC trade secrets theft claim
iPhone 8 specs, release date, price, features, basically everything! But will it have a curved display?
CISO pay boom as security become a boardroom concern