There are endless possibilities for what you can do with kiosks. Whether you are using them for point-of-sale systems in a business or for testing purposes in a school, kiosks are sure to increase productivity while saving you money. Here’s exactly what you’ll need to start using your Chrome device as a kiosk and have a smooth deployment.
What you need to set up a Chrome kiosk
For hardware, you need a Chrome device and a display.
- Chromebox: A Chromebox runs the same OS a Chromebook does, and you can upgrade its RAM. One advantage Chromeboxes have over Chromebits is that most of them have higher RAM and storage than Chromebits. Common brands include Asus, HP, Dell, AOPEN, Acer, and Lenovo.
- Chromebit: Chromebits are sometimes called “A Chromebox in a stick” because they give you full Chrome power, but are smaller than a candy bar! Their main advantage is their tiny size, so if device footprint is a major consideration for you, then a Chromebit might be your best bet.
- Chromebase: Chromebases are desktops with fast booting speeds and 1080p displays. Some are touchscreen, which enhances kiosk interaction. Chromebases can come with or without touch support and have 1080p output over HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces. i3 and i7 Chromeboxes support full 4k resolution. Common brands include LG, Acer, and AOPEN.
For software, you’ll need a Chrome license and a Chrome kiosk app:
- Chrome license (one per Chromebox). To purchase Chrome licenses, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 380-1061.
- Chrome kiosk app. You can use a Chrome kiosk app you create or a kiosk application from the Chrome Web Store.
Common Kiosk Questions
Common education use cases for kiosks are testing, library catalogs, photo booths, and visitor sign-ins.
Chrome apps have access to Chrome Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) and services that aren’t available to traditional websites. They look and behave like native apps, and they have native-like capabilities, but these capabilities are much more powerful than those available to web apps. You can build and deploy powerful apps- like music and video streaming and editing applications- that interact with network and hardware devices and media tools.
While Chrome apps deliver an experience as robust as a native app, they are as safe to use as a webpage.
Chrome kiosk apps are packaged Chrome apps that are designed to always run in full-screen mode using single-app kiosk mode on Chrome OS. They don’t allow users to exit the app. Any Chrome app can be a Chrome kiosk app if you select to run it as a kiosk app and set kiosk_enabled to true in your app’s manifest file. However, applications designed to be full-screen apps work best.
A Chrome kiosk app can be launched manually or set to automatically launch when the Chrome device boots up. Once a Chrome kiosk app starts, the application’s abilities and settings define the user experience.
Alternatively, Single App Kiosk mode focuses on a single application and is a full-screen experience. They’re great for a purpose-built Chrome device, such as a guest registration desk, a library catalog station, or a point of sale system in a store.
Note: For large files, such as video billboards, you can configure a Chrome device to use external storage using the chrome.fileSystem API. For example, if you have a digital sign that features video content that’s 300 GB, and your Chrome device only has 16 GB of storage, you can use an SD card or USB to store the content for offline use.
Chrome App Builder creates a simple HTML5 kiosk app with a customized user experience. You’d use Chrome App Builder to create a Chrome kiosk app when the content URL isn’t going to change. Examples are an online catalog, point-of-sale software, or printing a boarding pass in an airport. The URL for these kiosks wouldn’t change (even though the URL content might). The Chrome App Builder lets you set session idle timeout and restart session controls. This will clear out user data between sessions. This is important for digital kiosks where the user interacts with the app, such as a ticket printing kiosk.
Chrome Sign Builder creates a schedule to display a digital sign. In most cases, the content displayed in digital signs requires more than one URL. For example, a restaurant kiosk would have separate URLs for the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. Learn how to use Chrome Sign Builder here.