Lenovo Launching New Pocket-Sized, Sold State Chromebox Micro Media Player Tuned To Digital Signage, Kiosks
December 4, 2023 by Dave Haynes
PC maker Lenovo is launching a new take on a Chromebox that just might be the most suitable yet for commercial applications like digital signage.
The Chromebox Micro media player is a $219 USD solid state unit that’s about the size of a smartphone – small enough to tuck in behind a display and designed for 24/7 duty.
The first micro form factor Chromebox by Lenovo, the device is built for 24/7 digital display deployments in the challenging conditions of high-traffic facilities. The fanless, ventless, dust-proof ChromeOS compute solution supports dual displays at 4K resolutions. And it is built compact enough to fit into tight environments, in fact it is smaller than most smart phones.
The Lenovo Chromebox Micro is a great for fit for almost any signage and display solution. It includes USB-C, USB-A, and HDMI ports, as well as screw holes for easy mounting.
Lenovo is collaborating with Instorescreen to offer 15.6” and 21.5” inFLEX displays specially designed for the Lenovo Chromebox Micro. The innovative high-resolution inFLEX displays feature a rear cavity to accommodate the Lenovo Chromebox Micro, ensuring unhindered access to all ports, while offering a streamlined and integrated appearance. For superior cable management, the Lenovo Chromebox Micro pairs with the inFLEX displays through a single cable from a USB-C port to provide video, power, and data.
The units run Google’s ChromeOS and are geared to remote updates and management.
The small, durable form factor powered by the simplicity and security of ChromeOS gives the Lenovo Chromebox Micro big advantages in terms of lower total cost of ownership.
“The Lenovo Chromebox Micro is a marvel of technological design and innovation, it is the powerhouse behind an extensive array of digital solutions tailored for a diverse range of industries and environments,” says Marc Godin, Vice President and General Manager of Commercial Smart Devices Solutions Group, Lenovo. “The device can help transform any business by offering unparalleled visual experiences in a small but powerful solution that’s easy to deploy.”
“The Lenovo Chromebox Micro is the most compact, affordable Chromebox yet, purpose-built from the inside out for kiosk and digital signage use cases,” adds Bryan Lee, VP of ChromeOS and Education, Google. “It was designed at the core to be a pocket-sized, plug-and-play solution that is not only quick to deploy and easy to manage, but also flexible enough to power incredible experiences across a broad range of use cases.”
Lenovo is also working with longtime retail tech partner Instorescreen to offer 15.6” and 21.5” inFLEX displays specially designed for the Lenovo Chromebox Micro. The innovative high-resolution inFLEX displays feature a rear cavity to accommodate the Lenovo Chromebox Micro, ensuring unhindered access to all ports, while offering a streamlined and integrated appearance. For superior cable management, the Lenovo Chromebox Micro pairs with the inFLEX displays through a single cable from a USB-C port to provide video, power, and data.
The Chromebox Micro will be “available in select markets worldwide” starting in Q1 2024. Prices start at $219 USD.
Other manufacturers, most notably Aopen, have been producing commercial-grade Chromeboxes going back at least eight years – so this is not just a case of these devices finally getting beyond consumer-grade plastic units. Asus, Acer and HP also make Chromeboxes – though most of those have form factors and unit designs that are more attuned to applications like classrooms. Lenovo also has a mini desktop Thinkcentre that runs on Chrome.
It is also not a big moment on pricing, though $220 today results in a beefier, more robust media player than in the past.
Experience, feedback from the field, and the steady technology advances tend to result in products offer more, and are also more dialed in to real-world needs. It helps, as well, that Google is very much engaged now in digital signage and kiosks as real, scalable use-cases for Chrome devices. That wasn’t really the case when the first Chrome devices came out years and years ago.
Filipe Ho of Google had a unit with him last night at the Sixteen:Nine mixer. He handed it to me and I thought it was a slightly chunky smartphone, at first. Very solid device.