For the past week the Korean electronics giant has been busy promoting the Chromebase at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
But while it has been happy to share information on specifications, build materials and quirky extras – it can double up as an external monitor – precious little has been said on how much it will cost to buy.
Price, Position, Price, Potential, Price
‘When it comes to Chrome OS, there is a history for LG to learn from…’
As the first all-in-one PC to use Chrome OS, LG have the unenviable challenge on their hands with the Chromebase: proving there’s a market for it.
Get everything right and it stands to reap the rewards. But get it wrong… Helpfully, when it comes to Chrome OS on commercial products, there is a history for LG to learn from.
The first wave of Chromebooks crashed and burned. They weren’t underpowered, but they were overpriced. While many leading technology pundits were congratulating themselves for predicting their failure, Samsung, responsible for first commercial Chromebook, took one more shot at success.
A combination of low price, decent specs and stylish design saw their ARM-powered Chromebook take off.
‘It’s clear that LG is not pitching the PC as a high-end device…’
The Chromebase ticks two of those boxes, but will it tick the third?
We do have clues. Having been built with the mantra of ‘plastic, plastic and more plastic’ in mind, it’s clear that LG are not intending to pitch the PC at the high-end. The specifications — 2GB of RAM, a dual-core Intel Haswell processor, and integrated Intel HD graphics — are also modest, if capable components.
But while LG has skimped in some places, in others they’ve lavished attention.
‘The Screen Sells the Device’
The 21.5-inch IPS screen sells the device thanks to crisp colours, sharp contrast and enviable 178-degree viewing angles. As the most important part of an all-in-one PC (it can’t be replaced) decent screen quality is paramount. The screen can double up as an external monitor thanks to the inclusion of an HDMI in port.
Mounted in the screen is 1.3MP webcam and built-in microphone. They won’t wow the vloggers of the world, but will be more than suitable for Google Hangouts and Facebook calls.
‘Priced above $500 and the Chromebase will struggle to sell…’
The Chromebase will include a wired Chrome OS keyboard and mouse, and an as-yet-unseen ‘cable tidy’.
Priced at anything above $500 and the Chromebase will struggle, particularly in light of Lenovo’s Android 4.2 all-in-one desktop PC set to retail at $450 and under.
But, as sales of traditional Windows PC continue to collapse, OEMs are desperate to diversify into new markets and form factors. If LG manage to pitch, price and promote the Chromebase right, many of those OEMs will be looking to follow.