Chromeboxes haven't taken off in the way that Chromebooks have, which is not a total surprise given how laptops are more popular than desktops these days. But that isn't completely the case in the workplace, where many workers are still chained to their desks (or cubes) -- and their desktops.
So while previous Chromebox systems have been pitched as Mac Mini-sized PCs that are perhaps best suited for the living room, Lenovo is trying a different strategy with the ThinkCentre Chromebox Tiny, which looks like a diminutive business PC but runs Google's Chrome OS. The Chromebox Tiny was introduced back in April, but it's taken until now for it to reach retailers (though not, oddly, Lenovo's online store).
Newegg is selling a configuration of the Chromebox Tiny for $319.99 that includes an Intel Core i3-5005U processor in a minuscule chassis that measures just 7x1.4x7.2 inches. Given the minimal requirements of Chrome, the ThinkCentre's specs are less important than the hardware ecosystem into which Lenovo wishes to place the Chromebox. By adding a monitor like the ThinkVision LT2323z and the $30 ThinkCentre Tiny L-bracket mounting kit, you can place the Chromebox Tiny behind the display and turn it into what Lenovo calls a Tiny-in-One.
To make companies a little more comfortable with desktops using an alternative OS, the Chromebox Tiny includes a number of security features, such as a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for data encryption, the ability to disable its USB ports to limit the physical transfer of files, and a lock slot that can keep the system securely attached to the monitor or your desk.
The Chromebox Tiny approach is just the latest attempt to push Chrome into the enterprise space, whether via software from Citrix or Google's own pricey Chromebox for Meetings. It's found success via Chromebooks in the educational space, but the business world is still wary of deviating from its Windows course.