Xi3 Goes Right Ahead and Makes a Chrome OS Desktop

May 23 2011, 11:45am CDT | by , in News | Technology News

Xi3 Goes Right Ahead and Makes a Chrome OS Desktop

It will cost you around $800.

Chrome OS was envisioned for products like the netbook and tablet. Ultralight, mobile devices that were inexpensive and extremely portable. Chrome OS won't run on anything with a spindle hard drive. So you wouldn't expect to see it on a desktop of any type. And yet, that's just what the folks at Xi3 gone and made.

A Chrome OS desktop.

It actually makes more sense than you'd expect. The Xi3 is a hand-sized, modular desktop with a unique- possibly revolutionary- "swappable" design. Each modular computer includes three boards, the Processor Module, Primary I/O Module and Secondary I/O Module. By switching these out, you can change every aspect of the machine. Current options include 32 and 64 bit Windows 7, Win 7 Server and Win 7 Embedded, plus the "default" Linux Suse.

The Xi3 ChromiumPC will sport a dual-or-single core 64 bit X-86 processor. The standard, basic Xi3 complement is 16 GB of RAM. With its self-contained design and a power draw of only 20 watts, the Xi3 is about as portable as a desktop gets. It's been envisioned as a mass computing device, something schools and businesses can purchase en masse to cut down on power and maintenance costs. In a way, the Xi3 ChromiumPC harkens back to the era of the dumb terminal.

While it makes sense for enterprise or educational use, I don't expect the Xi3 will create a lot of consumer converts at its current price level. The basic Linux model will set you back $849.99. The ChromiumPC pricing isn't set yet, but I don't expect it will be much less than $800. So the Xi3 is probably a bit pricey for the average user. A Chromebook makes more sense if you're buying for yourself. Still- if you want a portable desktop you can run off a solar panel, the Xi3 will open for sale on July 4, 2011.

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