Acer to bring Chrome OS to an all-in-one PC, as vendors experiment

The Chrome OS still hasn't found much demand in the desktop space

The non-touch version of the Acer Chromebase.

The non-touch version of the Acer Chromebase.

Desktop devices running Chrome OS haven't exactly found much traction, but that hasn't stopped Acer from developing an all-in-one PC built for the Google operating system.

On Wednesday, Acer announced its upcoming Chromebase device, just after Google and its partners unveiled a range of new Chrome-related products slated to launch soon.

Acer's Chromebase is set to arrive in the second quarter in North America and Asia Pacific. The all-in-one has a 21.5-inch 1080p touchscreen display and an Nvidia Tegra K1 quad-core processor.

Included are a webcam, two speakers, and HDMI and USB ports, in addition to Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. No price was immediately given.

Last year, LG launched its own all-in-one Chrome OS device for $349. Vendors have also come out with so-called "Chromeboxes", which are basically mini desktops that run the OS.

So far, however, the desktop models haven't had much appeal, said Tracy Tsai, an analyst with research firm Gartner. Instead, most of the demand has centered on notebooks running Chrome, also known as Chromebooks.

The Google operating system is still a niche player in the market. Last year, about 85 percent of all Chrome devices were sold in North America, and mainly to schools, according to Gartner. Globally, the OS only had a 4 percent share of the mobile PC segment.

That probably won't charge in the near future, given that customers still favor Windows, and Chrome OS only supports a limited number of applications, Tsai said. But even in the desktop space, vendors will still try to experiment with Chrome OS.

"The vendors always want to find any possibility to grow the market segment, and perhaps the all-in-one will find a place in schools," she added. "Students may want a bigger screen to work with."

Google seems to also have that in mind. The company has worked with Asus to come out with Chromebit, a thumb drive with a computer inside that can run the OS.

The Chromebit is made to be plugged into a TV or monitor, and the device will be priced less than $100. "It's the perfect upgrade for an existing desktop and will be really useful for schools and businesses," Google said in a blog posting.

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