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December 18, 2013

LG announces Google-powered Chromebase PC

All-in-one bigger brother of the Chromebook.

By Ben Sullivan

LG has announced the first PC to be powered by Google’s Chrome operating system.

The all-in-one, which resembles an Apple iMac, will be cheaper than competitors as Google does not charge manufacturers to include its software in the machine.

The Linux-based OS already comes pre-installed on some laptops or machines like the Chromebook, but this will be the first device that doesn’t require a separate monitor.

Products like MS Office, iTunes and Adobe software will all be able to function on the PC, but Google will also offer its own native, free alternatives.

The 21.5in (55cm) 1080p full-HD screened model looks similar to competitors like the Apple iMacs, the HP Spectre One and Dell’s Inspiron One.

However, the Chromebase only ships with 16 gigabytes of storage, showing that Google are serious about the Cloud.

The firm has not yet released a price, but a suggested estimate will come in January at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.

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However, it only has 16 gigabytes of storage – a relatively low amount – as it is Google’s intention that users store much of their work in the cloud. This should help cut costs.

But the South Korean firm is holding back the suggested price of its machine until at least January, when it will be formally launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

A spokesperson for LG said: "LG Chromebase is the wave of the future for desktops, expected to be widely adopted not only at home, but especially in schools, hotels, call centers and other business settings."

Some experts have dismissed the notion that Samsung’s Chromebook and future Google devices pose a market threat to Microsoft and Apple. In a report covering the July-to-September quarter, IDC said other vendors offering the Chrome OS, including Acer, HP and Google itself, only represented a "tiny volume" of sales.

However, tech analyst John Blossom said on his blog: "First off, combined Chromebook sales are nearing the total sales of Apple’s Macbooks – and nobody claims that they’re insignificiant.

Secondly, let’s not forget that Chromebooks are not sold in every country by a long shot yet – so to take global stats is to remove in-market comparisons."

Another tech expert told the BBC that Microsoft still has cause for concern. They said: "Looking at the new device, while I think the desktop market is in terminal decline, consumers are still buying all-in-one units as hub devices that they can use for everything from ordering groceries to watching movies. And that’s a space LG wants to be in."

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