Technically speaking, LG’s Chromebase isn’t very impressive. With a lower-end Intel Celeron processor, only 2GB of RAM and a spare 16GB of flash storage, the forthcoming all-in-one desktop would barely qualify for a bantamweight brawl. What it does do, however, is offer a clear direction for the Chrome OS: in its announcement of the Chromebase, LG states that they hope the desktop is well-received in “schools, hotels, and call centers, and other business settings.”
LG’s Chromebase marks the second major attempt at marketing a desktop Chrome machine. The first would be Samsung’s Chromebox, first released in early 2012 and updated twice since. But no one is talking about it. Interest in the desktop has been rapidly declining since it launched, and it hasn’t gained nearly as much traction as the company’s more popular Chromebook–a consistent top-seller on Amazon.
What may ultimately make the Chromebase an easier sell is its sleek, all-in-one form factor and a clear focus on adoption in places like schools, businesses, and other public spaces. Given that Dell–the only major PC manufacturer that hasn’t made a Chromebook–is marketing its Chrome OS debut squarely at the education market, it’s a good indicator that this will be the M.O. for Chrome as an OS in 2014.
Such a focus may finally give the OS some traction in the marketplace, as schools and other public workspaces render all the things Chrome OS can’t do moot. You don’t want to download or store anything on a machine that isn’t yours, and the majority of the laptop-toting student crowd can easily do much of what they need to do using Google Drive apps.
Of course, tablets are more popular than ever and more versatile than Chrome as well. As affordable and popular as they are, a device that comes with as many strings attached as Chrome OS does may not become much more popular than it already is.