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Cheapest Chromebooks to date revealed, along with Chromebit computer on a stick

Now US$149 will get you a capable Chromebook, plus Asus announces a convertible model

Chromebook are getting better and better over time, but the Google-powered laptops are also getting cheaper and cheaper in some cases. And today, Google revealed the cheapest models to date.

The Haier Chromebook 11 and Hisense Chromebook will be available for just US$149 (about £100) apiece, with pre-orders starting up today. Only American retailers have been announced so far: the Haier will be sold at Amazon, while the Hisense will be available from Walmart.

They’re similarly specced devices: both have 11.6in (non-touch) displays, quad-core Rockchip Cortex A17 processors, 2GB RAM, and 16GB internal storage. The Haier promises 10 hours of battery, meanwhile, with the the Hisense model claiming just 8.5 hours. Still, that’s a rather capable-sounding all-day laptop for a pittance.

But the Chrome OS hardware line is expanding in other ways, as well. The Asus Chromebook Flip is an all-metal, 10.1in convertible laptop, which comes in at 15mm thin and under two pounds. That’ll debut later this spring at US$249 (about £167).

And Asus’ other creation seems even more noteworthy: the Chromebit is a Chrome OS device on a stick that can plug into an HDMI port to give you a computer anywhere you’ve got a display. The pocket-sized option will sell for under US$100 (~£67) when it releases this summer, and it runs on the same quad-core processor as the Haier and Hisense above.

Also good news for Chrome OS fans: Google has opened up its App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) software in beta to all developers, which will let them easily port over Android apps that run in their own window. Anyone who has felt the pinch of Chrome’s slim software selection may see relief on the horizon.

[Source: Google]