At Google I/O earlier this month, Google introduced (briefly) a Samsung-labeled Chrome desktop box. But while it looked a lot like the Mac Mini, there still aren't any true details to show people what it may be capable of. Google also stated that they'd continue to push Chromium for those who want a taste of Chrome on a non-sanctioned machine, and it looks like Xi3 is jumping on that notion to make a timely announcement.
The Xi3 Computer isn't new; those following desktops will likely recognize the form factor here. But there's a new twist to this -- the ChromiumPC computer is a cube-like, small form factor, low-power (20Watts) dual-core modular computer that can be adapted to run other operating systems or to perform specialized functions. In other words, this is just an x86 system, but they'll happily support Chromium if you'd like a Chrome OS-like experience on a small, mobile desktop. It's a strange way to market this, but probably a smart one.
The Xi3 Computer Architecture is designed to support any x86-based operating system, including Windows, Linux, Unix, and other open source-based operating systems. In other words, if someone chooses to switch their ChromiumPC to run a different operating system, it’s as easy as swapping out one of the three boards inside the computer. The company's expected to make these available in early July, but there's no mention yet of a price.
Unlike traditional computers, however, the Xi3 Computer Architecture makes it possible to change the so-called personality and/or functionality of an Xi3 Modular Computer, including the ChromiumPC. This is done in eight easy steps:
1. Power down and disconnect the Modular Computer from all external connections
2. Remove the four screws from one of the honeycomb-shaped and chrome-plated sideplates
3. Remove the sideplate from the Modular Computer chassis
4. Slide the three interconnected modules out of the chassis
5. Remove one of the I/O Modules and replace it with a new I/O Module
6. Reinsert the three interconnected modules back inside the chassis
7. Reattach the sideplate to the chassis
8. Reconnect all external connections and power-up the Modular Computer