Samsung's Chromebox Is Coming Mid-2012, But Who's Gonna Buy It?

Since Sammy announced in early 2011 that it was planning to release a Chromebox, everybody forgot about the idea. Now the company has announced it's shipping mid-2012, but we're not sure it knows exactly who's going to buy it.

The exact specs aren't final, but Engadget reports from CES that it definitely has a handful of ports, including five USB 2.0 sockets, DVI, DisplayPort and a headphone jack, and comes bundled with a wireless keyboard-and-mouse combo.

It should cost in the region of $400, and ship sometime in the second quarter of 2012. But the big question is: who's it for?

Nobody is going to buy this in place of a HTPC, because the lack of emphasis on local storage cripples it as a place to keep your media library. Maybe some folks after a mini desktop will buy it over, say, a Mac Mini — but that is a small audience.

Samsung think it could be suitable for use in schools — and if they crack that, I guess they're home and dry.

Elsewhere, Samsung is also updating its Chromebooks, refreshing its first-gen Series 5 with a new model. It swaps its slick outer casing for something muted, steps up from Atom to Celeron, but maintains the same old internal storage of 16GB. As with the 'box, it should be out in the second quarter of 2012: $399 for the WiFi-only version, and $449 for the 3G model with pay-as-you-go data from Verizon. [Engadget]