You don’t really hear much about Chromebases these days. Honestly, most consumers are probably unaware that the Chrome operating system even offers and AIO (All in one) form-factor. For enterprises, an all-in-one Chromebase can be a cost-effective alternative to pricier Windows models. Acer’s latest device, for example, puts focus on the office space as a device that can be used as an individual desktop or hub for video conferencing.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Core i7 version of Acer’s Chromebase boasts enough power to be used by developers, admins and creatives alike. Oddly enough, this variant is still absent from retailers despite being announced ten months ago. I suppose a Core i7 Chromebox could be a more budget-friendly alternative but the AIO form-factor does have a certain appeal to many business types which is why I’m surprised that Acer hasn’t pushed this one to market.
The other, more widely used and likely lesser know use case for a Chromebase is the kiosk. From digital signage to point-of-sale, Chromebases are a perfect fit for advertising as well as interactive experiences for retail stores, museums and more. Chances are, you’ve seen or even used a Chrome OS kiosks at some point and probably were completely unaware. Many kiosk setups deploy specific programs or apps for customers or employees to use and you never see the actual operating system. The admin pushes the app from the management console and locks the display to the said app. Boom! Fullscreen kiosk designed for one, specific purpose.
Now, a kiosk doesn’t have to specifically be a Chromebase. A prime example is one of the local furniture stores here in my hometown. Throughout the store, you will find massive touch displays with a product selector running on them. It is no more than a large touch-enabled monitor with a Chromebox attached to the back. CTL is marketing these bundles for schools, enterprises, retailers and anyone else who could benefit from the all-in-one setup but don’t want to mess with compiling all of the necessary components.
Moving on. We are 99% sure that Acer’s Celeron and Core i7 Chromebases are the devices Kalista/Karma that we unearthed more than a year ago. This week, it appears that another Chromebase has begun development that is built off of the same 8th Gen Kaby Lake platform as the aforementioned devices. There isn’t much to derive from the handful of commits I’ve found surrounding the new board codenamed ‘Endeavour’ but I have a hunch that we may be looking at a Chromebase designed specifically for the kiosk space.
The lead committer for ‘Endeavour’ is actually a Google developer and there isn’t another OEM or ODM name in the mix at the moment. This leads me to believe that ‘Endeavour’ could possibly the next AIO Chrome device from AOpen as they work very closely with Google in the kiosk space. Haven’t heard of them? You aren’t alone. AOpen specializes in commercial-grade devices specifically for kiosk, digital signage and enterprise deployment. Since 2015, they have quietly produced Chromebases as well as low-powered Chromeboxes for this purpose. It has been two years since the release of their “mini” Chrome devices and I suspect it is about time for them to launch an updated version of their larger 19″ and 22″ models released in 2015.
We’ll keep a close eye on this one. I suspect we should hear more about its origins by the end of the year. This may not be a Pixelbook Go but it’s always exciting to see new devices and the expansion of the Chrome OS platform.
Source: Chromium Repository