Google Chromekey may be a 35 HDMI stick PC

first_imgGoogle may be working on an inexpensive HDMI stick PC of its very own called the Chromekey. It’s going to be quite a bit different than Dell’s Project Ophelia or the innumerable Android sticks you may have read about.There’s some debate about what kind of software the Chromekey will ship with. If the name is accurate, you’d expect Google to go with Chrome OS. Then again, Google has an OS that’s built specifically the kinds of displays that feature HDMI ports — Google TV. Android’s a pretty good fit on those screens, too.But Chrome OS might make the most sense if Google’s intent here is to capture a chunk of the desktop computing market. An inexpensive Chrome OS stick that offers decent performance could be an excellent fit for schools and shared computers (like those in hotels and libraries). It’d even fit the bill for homes where web surfing is pretty much the only computing that’s going on.Droid Life has received other information, however. Their source says that the Chromekey will act as a sort of wireless receiver and will work in conjunction with Google’s apps on existing (and future) devices. You may, for example, be able to queue up a YouTube playlist on your phone and beam it to the Chromekey for big screen viewing.If that’s the case, the Chromekey sounds like it could be this year’s Nexus Q. Chinese OEMs have already proven that HDMI sticks like this can handle a full OS, and Dell’s got big plans for Project Ophelia. Would it really make sense for Google to to ship something with such limited functionality?The specs leaked to Droid Life aren’t exactly top-notch: a single core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 512MB of RAM, 2GB of internal storage, and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. If that’s the reality, the Chromekey wouldn’t run Chrome OS well enough and the mirroring functionality might be the best it can manage. And for the suggested $35 price, maybe that’s all you should expect.But then why call it the Chromekey at all? Chrometops and Chromebooks all come with Chrome OS. Would Google risk diluting the brand by shipping a stick that can’t handle onboard Chrome (and not merely Chrome streamed from something else)?And why would Google go so low-end? For around $90 you can purchase a quad-core HDMI stick PC with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. That’s enough to deliver a pretty decent Chrome OS experience, and that’s individual unit pricing. In volume, Google could offer up a similar stick for even less.With the ability to run native-like apps (thanks to Native Client) and full Netflix support, it’s hard to imagine a $79 pocketable Chrome OS computer not being a decent seller. It’d certainly sell better than a $35 mirroring device.last_img read more