Google Chromebit: 3 Business Uses - InformationWeek

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4/13/2015
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Google Chromebit: 3 Business Uses

At a $99 price point, the ASUS Chromebit micro PC will provide enterprise IT staff with a field day coming up with creative business uses.

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Google’s Chromebook has been successful in attracting businesses and education institutions seeking budget-friendly laptops.

While “thumb” computers -- such as the Amazon Fire Stick and Google Chromecast -- have their uses, they lack the power and capabilities of a full-fledged PC. That’s where Google Chromebit fits in. Due this summer from ASUS, it’s essentially a Chromebook in a tiny form factor that can turn any HDMI-capable TV or monitor into a fully functioning PC.

With a price point of $99, the device will provide enterprise IT staff with a field day coming up with creative business uses for these micro PCs. Don’t believe me? Check out a few of the ideas below.

Replacing Aging Conference Room PCs

While most of us have our laptops attached at the hip, every once in a while you find yourself in a meeting without a computer. This is typically when you dust off the stationary conference room PC and hope it can pull up that Web page or presentation you need to access. While the conference room PC is often the oldest and least cared-for device in your organization, it still plays a critical role.

(Image: Google)

(Image: Google)

Instead of your IT department replacing the conference room PC with yet another full-blown desktop PC, you might want to consider a Chromebit. After all, it very likely can perform all the necessary duties that you need from a conference room PC at a substantially reduced price and with a form-factor that is virtually invisible.

Easy Guest Kiosks

Many companies leverage guest kiosks for visitors who have no BYOD/guest access, or do not have a device with which to connect. The guest kiosk can be an IT department’s worst nightmare in terms of keeping it locked down, patched, and malware free.

[ Check out what Google has planned for its new wireless service. Read Google's Wireless Service Taps WiFi and Cellular. ]

The Chromebit, with its familiar user interface and easy-to-maintain OS, may be well suited for your next guest kiosk refresh. For a few hundred bucks and access to a couple of LCD monitors, you can create a fleet of low-cost and low-maintenance guest kiosks.

Throwaway Travel PCs

International travel with company laptops can be a nerve-wracking experience for IT. The amount of locally stored intellectual property -- as well as the relative ease with which these machines can be compromised -- is a truly frightening thought if a device is lost, stolen, or compromised. IT departments seeking to better protect company data while employees are on the road might want to consider devices such as the Chromebit. The Chromebit’s small form-factor is easy to conceal and less susceptible to malware than a PC operating system. Virtually all Chromebit content is stored and accessed in the cloud. So, if a Chromebit is lost or stolen, the risk of data loss is very low. And at a hundred bucks a pop, your IT department may even consider them as a use-once-and-throwaway device, just to be safe.

How Would You Use Chromebit?

While Chromebit competitors (such as Intel’s Compute Stick) are also coming to market, Google boasts the Chrome OS that many users are familiar with -- along with a rock-bottom $99 price tag.

Because of this, many IT departments may look to the Chromebit to fill gaps for which other options have been too expensive, neglected, or non-existent. The possibilities are virtually endless. What other enterprise uses do you envision for the Google Chromebit? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

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Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio
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kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2015 | 11:18:44 AM
Re: It seems odd...
In that case people will start hoarding the peripherals. Instead of the 20 year old PC in the basement of the building it will be the 20 year old monitor with 3 of the sections dead, but it's still good enough to run the programs. I'm interested in how the Chromebit it going to work on a day in day out basis. The low price point means alot of people are probably going to try it out.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2015 | 8:28:20 AM
Re: It seems odd...
I've been saying for a few years that the actual processing piece of the personal computer is going to become a commodity and the peripherals are what everyone will need to focus on.  When you can dock a Chromebit into a smart phone sized display I think things will get really interesting.  I thought for sure Asus was going to make this happen with their Transformer line but it might have been launched before it was time for this concept to catch on.  I think the Chromebit is still a little early but I'm really happy to see several mini PCs rolling out right now that are all capable of filling the role I suspect that they will in the longer term.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/13/2015 | 4:56:54 PM
It seems odd...
...that the computer, at $99, will end up costing so much less than the monitor used to view it. Maybe the new business model is sell the computer as a loss leader and markup the peripherals.
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