back to article Wait, that's no moon 21.5-inch monitor, it's an all-in-one LG Chromebase PC

Chromebooks have been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise down PC market this year. Now LG is hoping that the success Google has had with its "browser in a box" laptops can carry over to the desktop, as well. Desktop PCs running Chrome OS have been available previously in the form of Chromeboxes, devices about the size …

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Too Limited

chrome Os is too limited, while it may be secure even if you do get spied on by google, you are more or less stuck in a browser.

If a secure Os is required then a Linux distro is the best way to go, maybe if there was a all in one with Linux, it may be a better buy.

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Re: Too Limited

Too limited for you maybe, but the normals only really need a browser for their computing needs. I don't like this either but it's enough for quite a lot of people.

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Re: Too Limited

It's limited to a browser which can run apps as well as websites. Check out the "for your desktop" section of the Chrome store.

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Re: Too Limited

If it also functioned as a regular display (or TV) I could see the appeal.

Instead of turning on your PC just press a button on the telly and have a secure/simple/reliable web browser instantly on.

I have a chromebook as a replacement for a tablet (couldn't live without the keyboard) - but since this needs a keyboard and mouse and a desk to sit them on - I can't really see the point

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Re: Too Limited

an HDMI-in port for attaching external media devices

So it does function as a regular display.

Personally, I can see plenty of uses for such a device (dependant on price), just as I can for chromebooks. For may people it will do everything they need (especially with GDocs etc being available), and it may even have niche uses in a techie house.

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Re: Too Limited

I can't agree. Even Joe Bloggs wants more than web browsing and google docs. This is Google going through its "a PC on every desktop" phase. Google thinks it IS the internet, just as Microsoft thought it WAS the computer.

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Re: Too Limited

If it's like a portable Chromebook, it won't be hard to install Linux instead of Chrome OS. There's also the possibility of keeping Chrome OS and using it as a thin terminal for anything that needs more than a web browser.

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DeJa Vu all over again??

At one time there was this thing called "WebTV" that got acquired by that large Redmond Company. They offered an add-on box to make your TV into a browser. Of course it was barely 640x480 (interlaced to boot) but you could watch TV and browse alternately. Now we have this thing, albeit with a bit more resolution, doing the same thing.

Funny thing, people don't exactly want to browse from easy chairs, they usually want to do it from a desk of some sort. Oh, and web companies DESPISED WebTV since it did all sorts of things non standard. One comment was that it might have been more cost effective (manpower wise, etc) to trade all the WebTV boxen for something better, like a laptop. Oh, and the only thing left from WebTV is a building occupied by drones from Redmond.

Good luck LG, but I'd like a Linux box that can do lots of things! Now where is my Raspberry Pi??

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Re: DeJa Vu all over again??

It looks like, and seems to be, marketed like a monitor, not a TV. Thus, it'll probably work out.

Could be used as a TV/PC swap in a students room etc, where a large wall mounted TV is both impractical and unnecessary.

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Reminiscences

WebTV was created by Andy Rubin and sold to Microsoft for $500m, and ruined. Rubin's next invention, Danger Inc, was bought by Microsoft for $1B and ruined. Rubin has money now. Guess what his next invention was? He sold it to Google for only $50m, and they definitely did not ruin it.

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Linux

I have a Chromebook and I love it

But until Google's own employees start figuring out how to use one on their jobs instead of Macs, don't try to tell me Chromebooks or Chromeboxes are anything more than a wonderfully cheap and easy way to browse the webernets.

Anything more than $250 for any Chrome device would be a complete waste of money, from my perspective.

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Re: I have a Chromebook and I love it

Having attended a few meetings at Google and seen them using Chromebooks (well, our host had planned on using it in the meeting until I borrowed it for the entire time I was there) I would say that figuring out how to use one in their day jobs isn't an issue.

As always it's a matter of use case requirements. I'm sure that those who need them have Macbooks, those who don't may as well grab a light, fast booting chromebook.

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Anonymous Coward

That elusive "web appliance" dream

I can barely fathom the depths of self-deception required to call such a plain, derivative design "exciting".

It's been, what, 20-odd years that companies try to sell web-enabled TV's and whatnot? How many of those met with any success?

Please, LG, give up already. Accept that you are at best a competent maker of basic components and bland knock-offs of yesteryear's bleeding-edge tech, and leave this innovation business to those that grok it.

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Re: That elusive "web appliance" dream

This is a desktop all-in-one computer, not a TV. Seen a Mac lately?

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Hmm

I just don't get this, I know this means I am probably not in the intended demographic for this but I know I would just find myself getting annoyed that I couldnt do certain things!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

That Macbook Air is useless, I can't run SQL Server on it....

No computer can do everything (Deep Blue, for instance, isn't portable). The question is whether it does enough for a sufficient number of people to justify the development.

Given the sales of the iPad, which is quite limited, some of those niches are obviously pretty big.

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I like it!

Not the device, the reaction of Reg readers. I want to like this, but like other readers here, I have issues with it. My main objection to such devices is that they unnecessarily link different things making things like upgrades and repairs difficult or impossible when they should be easy.

What I would like to see is movement toward a small set of converged high bandwidth interconnects, and fasteners that would allow components that are naturally separable to be purchased separately and snapped together. Monitor, keyboard, mouse, CPU, backup disks, etc do not belong permanently bolted together. A broken mouse wheel should not require replacement.

I recently pulled apart an LCD monitor to determine that it was dead due to a single failed capacitor. Taking it apart was unduly messy and the way it is built I either have to track down a separate replacement capacitor, solder it in place and re-assemble when at the very least I should have been able to snap off the electronics and replace them.

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Re: I like it!

I quite like the device. I wish it was a TV as well.

Limited is what I'm looking for.

Not for me, but it would be idea for my 85 year old mother and for my Aunt who's in her 90s. PCs are just too damn complicated and throw all sorts of horrible unintelligible messages at them. Turn it on, read some email. Turn it off. Maybe push the boat out occasionally and look up something on a website.

That's it.

That's all they want to do.

Now I realise that is rather different to what I want for me and what most reader s of El'reg are after. But there are millions of people out there who don't want an all singing all dancing super machine that is just too complicated for them to use.

Of course I know I should pull my finger out and get around to customising a Pi for them so that is turns on with screen with just 3 buttons, "Email", "Google" (as far as Mum is concerned, the Internet is Google, so just go with the flow) and "HELP" which would then email a copy of the current screen to my brothers, myself and several of the grandchildren who can then tell her what to do next.

No more complexity there please.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I like it!

@Dazed and Confused: I agree - the concept here could be ideal for the kind of user you describe.

To extend your point about "HELP": I wonder if there is a possible "remote support" solution for a ChromeOS machine, whereby a trusted user (e.g. yourself) could log on "VNC style" to your relative's Chromebase/Chromebook from a remote location, to lend a virtual hand with a problem? Obviously, there would need to be secure tunnelling/authentication/etc. - ISTR there's an extension for Chrome for sharing your desktop, so maybe there's a VNC-type solution out there?

Also, providing you don't have any qualms about Google, the Chromebase could be an option for a kids' computer. I can see it working out for my daughter (Year 4), so long as she can access iPlayer when she's not using the thing for homework...

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SJG

Re: I like it!

Live streaming is all the rage these days - even the BBC have it in iPlayer. A PC is a TV these days = at least to those of us with decent broadband.

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Happy

Re: I like it!

> @Dazed and Confused: I agree - the concept here could be ideal for the kind of user you describe.

To extend your point about "HELP": I wonder if there is a possible "remote support" solution for a ChromeOS machine, whereby a trusted user (e.g. yourself) could log on "VNC style" to your relative's...

This was part of the plan with the Pi.

I know, I should pull my finger out.

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Re: I like it!

Take a look at Chrome Remote Desktop, it's effectively a remote desktop solution that uses Chrome as the server/client. I'm pretty sure it works on chromebooks too.

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GBE

Re: I like it!

> I quite like the device. I wish it was a TV as well.

I've got TVs (two of them), and neither has an antenna or "cable" connected. They're just used as monitors for various set-top boxes and DVD players. I'd much rather have a built-in browser and netflix player than built-in OTA/Cable receiver.

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Joke

Re: I like it! Just do not open it up...

The last large American named LCD monitor I tried to repair was assembled with a glue gun...

quietly placed all the parts in a box and headed for my local computer junker...He smiled...

IMHO= I knew better than taking my C64 apart, 30 years later it still holds true...

Do not Try to Fix Throw-Away Electronics... ( fixed a cell phone lately ?? )...RS.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not the concept, it's the vendor ...

I wouldn't buy these because they're made by LG - an unethical company who make crap products.

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Unhappy

Re: It's not the concept, it's the vendor ...

[...LG - an unethical company...]

Unethical compared to whom? I don't recall too many IT companies that I, as a customer, thought were even vaguely ethical since the days of DEC.

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Trollface

Re: It's not the concept, it's the vendor ...

You misspelled "Samsung".

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depending on price

I like the idea, it has an HDMI input so still useful as a monitor, if the keyboard and mouse can be used on other devices too that means you have a handy set to go with your pc, just want to browse something quickly and not boot up the rig, chrome in your monitor, computers busted, chrome in your monitor to google fixes.

Yeah, your phone can do this, but still nice to have the big screen, if it's not going to add a lot to the price, then I'd be happy for monitors to include chrome os as standard. Actually, I'd like that for "smart tv's" too whom all seem to have their own build with disparate apps - if something like chrome or android became standard across TV's that would help the ecosystem and potentially even make them useful, rather than just having my PI wired to the back of one using the USB to power it and a spare HDMI to view it.

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I came for the article

Stayed for all the whining and crying in the comments about how dare they do this, fail, etc. Pass the popcorn.

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A Nice system but...

Earlier this year, due to start a computing course a college I decided to get a new laptop. Most quite expensive, I looked and looked and decided on a chromebook.... the arm samsung one for 200 was right on budget. It has become the main computer. 2GB ram is not enough though

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A Nice system but...

The Celeron Samsung one (no longer available) has 4G of RAM. I'm typing on it right now, because it is just so much more convenient than a tablet if you need to do any actual work, and if I need to run e.g. Eclipse, that's accessible on my big box which is tucked away in a spare room.

I almost bought the Pixel, but tried the Samsung and realised you got 80% of the overall performance for 1/3 of the money.

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On the other hand

"... the first all-in-one PC to run Chrome OS, complete with a built-in widescreen LCD display."

I'd say it's an LCD display with a built in PC.

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Re: On the other hand

... "with a built-in PC"...

Built-in CRAP PC. Just try running any real HTML5 on this piece of S.

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Re: On the other hand

| I'd say it's an LCD display with a built in PC.

So, kind of like a SPARCstation ELC, but with an LCD display, then?

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How do you manage these?

How can I plug 100s of these into a network and configure them, including the page they start for each user?

How can I setup a smart card logon system?

Will they work as a remove desktop client for a few apps that are not yet web deployed?

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Re: How do you manage these?

I see where you are coming from and, while it feels glacial, Google is making more effort now for managed estates of devices. Haven't tried it, haven't had an opportunity to but it's at least heading in the right direction.

There are web browser remote desktop clients available, hell even MS provide one but I haven't looked at it for a long time and can't remember if it works using standards or requires the locked-in security hole that is ActiveX. The Chrome Store has apps available as well.

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Re: How do you manage these?

You could use a Chrome browser plugin for RDP or Citrix receiver depending on what your background infrastructure looks like.

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Re: How do you manage these?

To manage them is fairly simple: https://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/chrome/business/devices/features-management-console.html. I've not come across a smart card authentication system for them yet - but I susepct that with a Bluetooth smart card reader something could be done. If you can do it on a Tablet, chances are you can do it on a CB.

I have the Google Pixel, that I bought on a whim to see what the hype was about. I sort of understand it now - I still have a desktop PC - running Linux - for heavy lifting jobs - such as backing up DVD's and BluRays to the NAS for convenient watching on the TV set using XBMC on a Pi - but for 90% of what I do the Chromebook is more than adequate.

I used Crouton initially to install Ubuntu so I could instantly switch to an OS I am more familiar with and use applications I already knew - Libre-Office for one, but after a couple of months removed it as I'd not used it... Which must say something about the flexibility of ChromeOS.

I work as a Project Manager most of the time - I've even found an app for the Chromebook that will open/edit/save MS Project files quite happily - both on and off-line. With Google Docs and Quick-Office I've not had any problems with Office files (spreadsheets, documents and Powerpoint stuff).

For me it was a choice between the MacBook Air and the Pixel - and I feel I made the right choice. Total cost of ownership is lower than either a MB or a Windows Laptop due to the cost of the applications.

I've become a bit of an evangelist for Chromebooks since getting one - but everyone should try living with one for a month. It's suprising how much you can do with them - assuming you want to use it for work/school stuff and not just to rip dvd's or mine for bitcoins.

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Re: How do you manage these?

1) Chrome OS Management licences are a bolt on per-device that let you manage them from the Google Management web console for the Google Apps domain they belong to.

2) Pass. There are two factor options available, e.g. the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone, but I'm not sure that's one of them.

3) As well as the Citrix Receiver there's also Ericom's Access Now that can run TS within a browser window via HTML5. Unless I'm completely misremembering VMWare had an HTML5 client in the works as well, that's quite possibly finished now.

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"customers who want a fast, simple and secure computing experience"

This must be a usage of the word "secure" with which I was previously unfamiliar.

(HHGTTG paraphrase)

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Anonymous Coward

cheap iMac clone?

Strange that no one here seems to be comparing it to an iMac. The first reaction to my mind was that it is a cheap iMac clone.

http://www.apple.com/imac/

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Re: cheap iMac clone?

Thanks for that link to the apple website. I don't think I could have found the apple website without that link. It looks exactly like a imac in that the screen is facing the user, and is rectangular. The stand is on the bottom of the product for use in regular gravity environments, and they have gone for a revolutionary twist on the 'all-in-one' concept by putting all the components inside the only part of the computer.

Seriously, get back to work behind your Genius bar!

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Re: cheap iMac clone?

Maybe design-wise, but performance-wise, the iMac leaves this in the dust. The iMac costs more, of course, but you get what you pay for.

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