Google Chromebit: Smart TV, Mini PC or Fancy Flop?

Illustration of a screen being transformed into a Smart TV by Google Chromebit

Google recently announced the launch of the Google Chromebit, a USB style stick reported to transform any screen into a Smart TV come mini PC by connecting to Google Chrome’s operating system with plug and play technology. An innovative idea retailing at £70.00 but will it take off? And as what? A Smart TV or mini PC? The UK consumer has their say.

I don’t have a Smart TV and I have been known to spend hours fiddling about with various cables trying to stream something from my laptop to the big screen. Without the most up-to-date gadgets it can be a faff to say the least! To have a little stick that I can simply plug into my TV to achieve Smart TV functionality at a fraction of the cost sounds brilliant. Even better, I can move it from room to room without dragging a pile of cables behind me.

I think the Google Chromebit will be a winner among UK consumers as a Smart TV alternative. Time for a little market research.

The Product Lab Research Panel and I are in agreement. 73% of us would buy a Google Chromebit (price aside) and of that 73%, the vast majority would use it for streaming movies or TV shows. It’s all about the Smart TV ladies and gentlemen. ‘Would love one of these. Cheaper than buying a Smart TV and can be used with more than one device.’

Internet browsing came in as the next most popular usage leaving only 9% of UK consumers who would use the Google Chromebit for social media, paying bills, checking emails or Google’s office tools. That’s interesting for Google who posit that one day not too far from now, we will all be wandering around with these Chromebit sticks instead of laptops. The UK: not ready! Supported further by the fact that 94% of us would only use the Google Chromebit at home.

The barrier to Chromebit mobile computing is definitely the keyboard/mouse issue, or rather, the lack there of. ‘I certainly wouldn’t want to control it with my TV remote. Much too laboured and fiddly when I can do all I want on my laptop.’

Ah, and in more bad news for Google, price is also a sticking point. Only 23% of our research panel would pay between £60.00 and £79.00 for the Chromebit with the majority only prepared to pay up to £59.00. ‘I can't see the point - the technology is already available to turn my standard TV into a computer/monitor should I wish for a lot less than the £70.00 suggested.’

So after a good start, it looks like the Google Chromebit could be in trouble. As a Smart TV alternative it is a hit but the UK mass market are not prepared to pay a premium for the convenience. Perhaps a little price reduction Google?

On the mobile computing front, I would suggest buy-in from work places, educational establishments, indeed anywhere that can offer the all important keyboard as well as screen is key to success. As it stands, I will not be giving up my laptop anytime soon.

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Wired: Google Unveils A Stick That Turns Any Display Into A PC

Engadget UK: Google Puts Chrome OS On Your TV With Its Own HDMI Stick

The Mirror: Google Chromebit turns your TV into a computer - tiny device simply plugs into the back

Business Insider: Check out Google's tiny new computer-on-a-stick

Mail Online: The computer smaller than a candy bar: Google's $100 Chromebit can turn any TV into a fully featured PC

BBC News: Google announces budget-priced Chromebits and Chromebooks

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About the Author

  • Stephanie Kent

    Stephanie Kent - Lab Reporter

    Our dedicated Lab Panel blogger, Steph is the voice of the consumer. From mortgages to special fried rice, if you want to know what the UK thinks, she's your girl. With a formidable background in both business and retail journalism Steph invites the Lab Panel to speak out about the latest consumer trends to hit the headlines. She reports the facts back to you, bringing the panellists to life with her own unique, quirky tone. We can't wait to read her blogs… and we know how they end.


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