New Google, Samsung Mini-PC Debuts, No Windows

Dennis Faas's picture

Samsung has launched a complete desktop computer priced at just $329. Samsung says the new device, called a "Chromebox" because it runs Google's Chrome operating system (OS), will never get a virus or lose performance.

Chrome OS is an operating system designed by Google that closely resembles the company's Chrome browser. Instead of a Windows or Mac style desktop, the user accesses services through a web browser. For example, rather than launch Microsoft Word, the OS provides direct access to the Google Docs online service.

As a result, much of the processing work required to run this computer's applications is carried out on remote Google servers. The computer itself can therefore run effectively on less expensive hardware.

Samsung Brings Chrome to Desktop

To date, Chrome OS has been available on portable computers billed as "Chromebooks". Now, Samsung is offering a Chromebox, designed for home or business use.

Unlike previous desktop computers, the Chromebox is only about the size of a typical hardcover book. It has built-in WiFi capability, along with a socket for wired Internet access.

The new computer also has six USB ports, allowing it to link up with a wide variety of devices all at once, including a mouse and a keyboard. It also has a range of sockets for connecting it to monitors or a TV screen. (Source:

One big difference between this and your average PC is the included storage. The device uses a solid state drive, which is physically smaller than a traditional hard drive (and needs less power to operate). However, it has a lower capacity, too.

In this configuration the computer can store only 16 GB of data, the same as with many smartphones.

One reason for such a small hard drive is that most of the software users launch will be stored online, rather than internally. Users who need additional storage space can add one or more external hard drives by connecting them to one of the computer's USB sockets.

Google Tweaks Chrome OS to Resemble Windows

In an effort to make it more comfortable for new users, Google has recently tweaked the way Chrome OS looks and feels.

In a major improvement, the OS now supports multiple applications visible at the same time, similar to the capability in Microsoft's Windows. It's important to note, however, that the operating system itself does not support Windows software natively. (Source:

Google is also working on ways to make its operating system work better when the device isn't connected to the Internet. At the moment, without a connection the computer has only limited functionality. This may make the new Chromebox a poor choice for people without a reliable connection to the web.

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