HP reveals its new Chromebox, set for spring

In recent weeks, the Chromebox has become one of the most talked about upcoming gadgets for the year. Featuring the ability to connect to Google Drive, the Play Store and other online browsing services, big-name manufacturers have started producing these small-form-factor machines. The devices are rumoured to become a vital role in the way we access the internet, due to their small size and high functionality.

After Asus and Samsung revealed their models, it's HP's turn to take the spotlight showing off their HP Chromebox set to hit our stores in the early spring.

In terms of hardware, the HP features a weighty Intel Core i7 processor that they claim will be "more than enough to tackle some of the video conferencing features Google has outlined", as well as 4 USB ports for extra storage and peripherals. HDMI and Displayport outputs are available, allowing for HD as well as dual-screen viewing. However the HP will cost more from the outset, due to the higher technical specifications mentioned compared to the Asus Chromebox ($179).

The exterior looks stylish, and could easily blend into any modern household, available in varying colours from slate black to classy cyan. Due to the small size, it appears as if you could rest the device on a TV stand, substituting a smart TV by taking advantage of one of the many online video streaming services available.

HP is also targeting the home office because of the powerful processor. It will be interesting to see how that idea plays out; currently, the ChromeOS has nothing on the other major operating systems in terms of overall functionality (including Windows, OS X and popular Linux distros), so it's not clear how beneficial a stronger processor will be.

Source: HP Website |  Image via HP

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Dunno I don't like having a system that doesn't allow for me to have MY files and data on my machine. cloud storage freaks me out because my data is in someone elses hands.

I'll always keep myself a laptop as long as possible for forever so I can own my own data storage and files with me.

I sure hope Google is picking up a big chunk of the tab for these things. Nothing like building a device that doesn't do much of anything and has a razor thin margin to begin with. There's a good chance these could be HP's version of the "Draw Something" tablets that took down THQ.

Just build something with quality in mind, put a four year warranty on them and people will buy them.

They should just integrate this into a Tv for a real smart Tv product. Because Smart Tvs are still lacking power and software features that this seams to provide.

Small, cheap devices which gives most users everything they will need and low chance, if at all, of malware. Perfect for the basic consumer. Just will see if they take off more. A lot of OEMs are making these with more on the way.

Time will tell

Something like this is perfect for people who want to do some basic stuff without all the overkill and complexity of Windows.

Not necessary to have Windows but if I have a small box with powerful hardware like an i7 in it, I personally won't waste it running just a stupid browser and its limited apps. Give me a full-blown Linux distro (browser and all) any day.

iF we don't want to have an overkill then we should start using windows 3.1 or DOS. hahaha... The same people that bash Windows RT are the same proclaiming this is heaven sent.

Well there's something to be said for a simplified UI (and a TUI like DOS doesn't qualify), but I don't think it needs to come at the cost of ending up with a closed and limited system. A similar UI can be built on top of Linux (or Windows) easily no doubt and also allow power users to tap into the full power of the OS. But of course the whole point of limiting users to Chrome is locking them into the Google ecosystem.

Yeah surfaceRT is what my mom uses now and I don't get calls anymore. I gave her a Chromebook for a day and it was a nightmare. There is so much chromeos can't do that we don't think about.


It will be interesting to see how that idea plays out; currently, the ChromeOS has nothing on the other major operating systems in terms of overall functionality (including Windows, OS X and popular Linux distros), so it's not clear how beneficial a stronger processor will be.

The browser is at the heart of every OS, so it makes perfect sense to have a powerful machine to drive it.

In terms of functionality, you can do pretty much everything in a browser these days. For the average user, it's more than enough.

That is not true at all. I gave my mom a c720 and within an hour she hit a roadblock (printing), then another (watching a video with subtitles), then another (missing fonts that can't be installed). Had I left it with her I'm sure I'd still be getting support calls every day. Average folks do need more functionality than a web browser.

Justin Jones said,
That is not true at all. I gave my mom a c720 and within an hour she hit a roadblock (printing)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Chrome_OS#Printing
https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/1069693?hl=en

Justin Jones said,

then another (watching a video with subtitles)

That doesn't sound like an average user to me.

Justin Jones said,

then another (missing fonts that can't be installed).

Missing fonts where? Why does she need to install additional fonts?

Justin Jones said,

Had I left it with her I'm sure I'd still be getting support calls every day.

I get a hell of a lot more support calls from people with malware or slowing down over time complaints on their Windows PC's than from people whose PC's run GNU/Linux OS's like ChromeOS that's for sure.

Drivers can be hellish on Windows, including printers. On Linux, my wireless HP Deskjet F4580 runs out of the box, no drivers setting up required.

Justin Jones said,

Average folks do need more functionality than a web browser.

You have yet to prove that. The fact that Chromebooks are selling so well and so many OEM's and starting to push them belies that claim.

simplezz said,

....

Do you work for Google lol? Whatever you said just sounds like typical CSR bs to me. C'mon, average users don't watch videos on their laptops? It's an i7 machine, what good is it if you can't even play videos with subtitles. You sure as hell can't play Crysis on it. And while we're on the subject on average users, you expect one to make sense of all the Google Cloud Print boohah and "be online" every time they want to print a simple page? And I don't know when was the last time you used Windows, maybe XP era, but printers these days are simple plug and hit print on Windows. Kids in my family know how to print stuff they type and draw. And saying that chromebooks are selling well is debatable: http://www.zdnet.com/first-rea...-are-struggling-7000014102/

Seems like most people who get it soon realize how underpowered it is compared to other cheaper laptops and discard it to the back of the drawer as a poor investment desicion: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ew...ng-chrome-os-browser-share/

AsherGZ said,

Do you work for Google lol?

No.

AsherGZ said,

C'mon, average users don't watch videos on their laptops? It's an i7 machine, what good is it if you can't even play videos with subtitles.

It was the subtitles bit I was referring to, not video's in general which are pervasive on the internet. But I suppose it depends what videos and where you're looking for them. Sometimes it's hard for me to find correct subtitles, let alone a novice computer user. That was my point.

AsherGZ said,

You sure as hell can't play Crysis on it.

Can you play Crysis on a Surface RT? Or even a Surface Pro for that matter? We're talking average users here. And for the price of a Chromebook, you'll be lucky to find a machine that can run it well without crippling frame rate issues.

AsherGZ said,

And while we're on the subject on average users, you expect one to make sense of all the Google Cloud Print boohah and "be online"

ChromeOS automatically prompts the user to setup Google Cloud print when he/she tries to print. I referred to that page for informational purposes only.

And being online is what ChromeOS is all about. It's a browser focused OS. That's not to say it can't function without being online. HTML5 allows for offline storage, so you can continue to work on your spreadsheets, word processing etc offline. But It's designed to be online. It's not difficult to setup, especially if you have a cloud enabled printer.

AsherGZ said,

every time they want to print a simple page?

No. You only have to set it up once. And it guides you through the process.

AsherGZ said,

And I don't know when was the last time you used Windows, maybe XP era, but printers these days are simple plug and hit print on Windows.

That's a gross simplification. Windows needs to install the drivers for a start. And in many cases it won't have it and you'll have to either go find a driver disc or find one on the internet and hope it doesn't contain malware. Not an easy process for a novice.

AsherGZ said,

Kids in my family know how to print stuff they type and draw.

It's not hard to print stuff anywhere once it's set up. That includes Linux, OS X, Windows, Android etc. Try getting your kids to find the right driver (including architecture 32/64 bit), install it, and then troubleshoot when you encounter problems. If you think it's child's play, then you're never had those problems before, and I envy you.

AsherGZ said,

And saying that chromebooks are selling well is debatable: http://www.zdnet.com/first-rea...-are-struggling-7000014102/

I have one word: NetMarketShare. This is the same statistics company that claims IE has over 50% browser marketshare worldwide. It practices esoteric data manipulation to arrive at its figures. For instance, it adjusts IE marketshare based on China's online population which it calls Geoweighting I believe. Not only that, but their sample size is much smaller than say StatCounter. And for those reasons, I discount anything they say.

AsherGZ said,

Seems like most people who get it soon realize how underpowered it is compared to other cheaper laptops and discard it to the back of the drawer as a poor investment desicion: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ew...ng-chrome-os-browser-share/

It all depends on what your expectations are. If you're an entrenched Windows power user, I'm sure it wouldn't be suitable. It wouldn't be suitable for me to use as a replacement for my Arch Linux desktop either. However, as a internet centric consumption device, it's rather good. Just like many tablets and mobile devices. Content creation is also possible via GoogleDocs and other online services. It's no different than Windows RT really in that respect, except that it doesn't need apps installing because the whole web is one giant app.

My mom would NEVER figure that out and getting her to buy new tech is hard so the cost of a new printer is a big deal. She uses my old SurfaceRT now and when she needs to print, she plugs it in and it works. Cloud print is not that easy for someone like her.

simplezz said,

That doesn't sound like an average user to me.

Average users don't watch videos on their computers? She likes the foreign media I watch and wants me to load it up on her system. ChromeOS media player is pathetic, no options whatsoever. Torrent options are also pathetic and on the c720 the sd card sticks out so even using that sucks.

simplezz said,

Missing fonts where? Why does she need to install additional fonts?

Her job involves working with office documents and PDF files. The font her company uses for invoices is not built in on ChromeOS. On any other OS installing a font is simple, not on Chrome. I guess working with office documents is not something a regular person does either huh?

simplezz said,

I get a hell of a lot more support calls from people with malware or slowing down over time complaints on their Windows PC's than from people whose PC's run GNU/Linux OS's like ChromeOS that's for sure.

Drivers can be hellish on Windows, including printers. On Linux, my wireless HP Deskjet F4580 runs out of the box, no drivers setting up required.

She has a SurfaceRT right now and none of that is a problem. I get so few support calls I call her to make sure everything is going good. Printer's, scanners, wireless, everything works. No driver problems, and she can open any malware infested email she wants and it does nothing on RT.

simplezz said,

You have yet to prove that. The fact that Chromebooks are selling so well and so many OEM's and starting to push them belies that claim.

There is nothing to prove. ChromeOS is fine, I bought a c720 and use it almost every day. I am not against ChromeOS, I am stating that right now it is not enough for the average user. Give it a few more years and maybe it will be then. But right now it is not.

Justin Jones said,

Her job involves working with office documents and PDF files. The font her company uses for invoices is not built in on ChromeOS. On any other OS installing a font is simple, not on Chrome. I guess working with office documents is not something a regular person does either huh?

She has a SurfaceRT right now and none of that is a problem. I get so few support calls I call her to make sure everything is going good. Printer's, scanners, wireless, everything works. No driver problems, and she can open any malware infested email she wants and it does nothing on RT.


It sounds like she's using proprietary fonts and office suites, in which case, perhaps Surface and other proprietary MS software would be more suitable. As I mention above, entrenched Windows users probably won't find Chromebooks suitable. Especially if they're using proprietary formats.

Justin Jones said,

There is nothing to prove. ChromeOS is fine, I bought a c720 and use it almost every day. I am not against ChromeOS, I am stating that right now it is not enough for the average user. Give it a few more years and maybe it will be then. But right now it is not.

It might not be "enough" for your mum's needs, but that doesn't mean it's not a great internet centric device. Not everyone can get on with Tablets and Phones either. It all depends on your expectations and openness to adopting non-proprietary standards.

Nik L said,
Show me this i7 raspberry pi...

Wow some users talk absolute nonsense.

An i7 to run web apps. Talk about underused and waste of money.

AsherGZ said,

An i7 to run web apps. Talk about underused and waste of money.

It is well known that google powered web apps need a 8 core CPU to function normally.

I have been toying around with a Toshiba 8" tablet running as a full desktop pc lately. Using a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, it also comes with a free copy of MS Office Home 2013. It costs $249.

Even though I am not ready to recommend this setup to the average consumer, I do see this small form factor as a very relevant tech for the no so distant future.

Indeed. The latest move with requiring an active carepack to get updated drivers\firmware\SPP's for enterprise gear has really ticked people off.