Is LG’s Chromebase A New Kind Of Digital Sign?

May 7, 2014 by Dave Haynes


LG Electronics will start selling a new all-in-one computer/display that runs Google’s Chrome OS and has some potential as a small business digital signage unit.

The $350 21.5-inch HD monitor has pretty much the same built-in computing specs as the $179 Asus Chromebox that was released in February and talked up by Intel and Google at Digital Signage Expo. You get 100 GB of cloud storage, on Google Drive, free for two years with each LG Chromebase.

The LG Chromebase (model 22CV241) will be available in the U.S. at Amazon, Newegg, Fry’s Electronics, Micro Center and Tiger Direct beginning May 26. The LG Chromebase will be available for online pre-sale or at select retailers including beginning May 12. With a suggested price of $349.99, it will come with 100GB Google Drive free for two years.

Says LG in a press release:

Highlighted here today at a joint Google-Intel Chrome OS event, the LG Chromebase is a sleek flat-screen desktop monitor with a built-in computer and uses Chrome OS and Intel’s performance-upgraded Celeron processor to help make home computing simpler and more secure than using a conventional desktop computer.

The streamlined platform offers access to the best of Google such as Gmail, Drive, Search, Maps, YouTube, Google Play, Google+, and Hangouts but also works with tens of thousands of apps in the Chrome Web Store. Google Docs, Sheets and Slides are built-in and users can open, edit and share Microsoft Word and Excel files using the free, built-in editor. For added security, all content (including family photos and videos) is stored in the cloud, making them accessible from other devices, such as tablets or other computers, as long as they are connected to the Internet. Cloud applications like Google Docs allow anyone in the family to login to their account and pick up right where they left off in any particular document.

Using a cloud-based system also means security and regular software updates are automatic and built-in, which makes them always up to date. Additionally, users no longer have to purchase security software or new versions of word processing and other common software – they are provided for free through automatic updates so all programs are always up-to-date. This also helps keep the Chromebase running quickly and smoothly since fewer programs are using the computer’s memory storage.

For a truly custom feel, each member of the family can create or use their own Google account when they are using the computer to have their own, personalized experience. Customization options include the account’s desktop theme, language and keyboard settings, or placement of your favorite Chrome Web Store apps in the app launcher.

Combining functionality and excellent image performance in a sleek package, the LG Chromebase has everything a home computer needs to suit a modern lifestyle. Ideal for watching videos, playing games or everyday computing, its 21.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display delivers accurate color reproduction, stunning contrast and an impressive ultra-wide viewing angle. It also features a pair of built-in 5-watt speakers for powerful, clear sound to match any content.

For true versatility, it comes equipped with a keyboard and mouse and can also act as a monitor for a laptop connected through the HDMI port, and for other devices such as the Chromecast. The processing power of the fourth-generation Intel® processor based on the Haswell micro-architecture, enables the LG Chromebase to handle web apps, games and graphics with ease. And its 1.3 megapixel webcam and a microphone are perfect for video chats.

So what you have here is what amounts to a giant tablet, without the touchscreen. On the plus side, a user could load an app off Google’s Chrome store and start running a signage playlist, and manage a pile of them using Google’s administration console.

However, this is a consumer product, it’s set up for landscape, and by the looks of it is pretty much married to its stand, meaning this is not going to just mount on a wall like a normal display monitor. At 21.5″, it’s also small. Those things all limit the possibilities quite a bit, but I could see it being used on retail counters.

This does seem like a better direction for “smart” panels than LG’s use of the mothballed Web OS originally built for smartphones.

Samsung also has a 22-inch panel that I’m pretty sure has the smart signage, system on chip set-up.

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