Category: Chrome OS

The Bright Future That Awaits Chrome OS

I will start this post by being transparent:  I am a big fan of Chrome OS.  I more-or-less made the move to Chrome OS about this time last year and frankly, I haven’t looked back.  Yes I still have my corporate laptop that I use on occasion but the reality is, everything I need to do in my work life and my personal life I can do on Chrome.  So with that clear, I still stand by the title of this article:  The future is very bright from Chrome OS.

I believe this for several different reasons and all of them are intertwined to paint this bright future picture.  First is the rapidly maturing Operating System itself.  The Chrome OS of today, Build 53, is far superior in every way to the Chrome OS I started on last year, Chrome 48.  Second, is the era in which we live in.  We are, finally, approaching the post-PC world that Apple and others have been talking about since 2008.  But eight years on, we are actually there or darn close.  Third is adoption of Chrome OS as a platform in businesses and in education, the later of which was dominated by PCs, then by Apple and now nearly by Chrome OS.  Finally, there is the clear direction in which Google and the Chromium team within it are going to take the devices and platform in the future.  The Chromebook I’m tying this article on today (a HP Chromebook 11 G4) will be vastly overshadowed by what a device will look like this time next year or in 2018.  All of these things add up to a future that sees Chrome OS not only as a part of but a dominant player.  And the cool thing is, everyone reading this is on the cusp of it all.  We get to see it all unfold and that, speaking from experience as a Microsoftie during the Windows XP days, is a very cool thing to see.

Chrome OS Updated To Chrome 53 on Most Devices

Chrome OS has been updated today to build level 53 for a wide range of devices.  The new build is version 53.0.2785.103 (Platform version: 8530.81.0) for those keeping score at home and it is already available to download to your Chromebook or Chromebox.  The update is for the vast majority of devices out there with the notable exception of the Google Chromebook Pixel (2015), Acer Chromebook R11, ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA, HP Chromebox CB1, and Acer C7 Chromebook.  Those devices, as you probably already know, are running a built that includes Android apps.  This new build for the rest of the devices out there does not contain the ability to add Android apps to your Chrome device.

New Android-Like Hangouts Chrome Extension Now Available

If you are a heavy user of Hangouts and use Chrome or Chrome OS, there is a new extension and app for you to check out.  Last week Google announced that a new, Android-like Chrome extension for Hangouts would be coming out with the aim to improve performance and the overall look and feel of the UI.  Achievement unlocked as both the extension and the app look far better than the old style and both perform exceptionally well.

The new extension can be found in the Chrome Web Store which allows you to run Hangouts while you are using your Chrome browser regardless of platform.  This is what the majority of users will want, especially Chrome OS users, as the browser tends to stay open all the time.

Acer Chromebook R13 Announced At IFA

Today at IFA in Berlin, Germany, Acer announced a new Chromebook that looks pretty impressive.  The new Chromebook R13 will be hitting stores in October and it sports not only a touchscreen but also has a folding design so you can use it as a slate.  This is the combination that many Chromebook users have been waiting for from the platform and with a price tag of around $400, it is still reasonably affordable.

As the name suggests, the R13 has a 13″ LCD display that provides 1080p HD, has 4GB of RAM and will start out with 16GB of storage.  Acer plans to have 32GB and 64GB models available at the time of the release.  The R13 is powered by a MediaTek MT8173C quad-core processor, has a USB Type-C port, HDMI port and a 720p webcam.

Google Drops The Chromebook Pixel 2

Google has stopped selling their remaining flagship Chromebook device, the Chromebook Pixel 2.  The store shows that the $1299 powerhouse is no longer in stock and according to VentureBeat, the company has no plans of restocking the device.

“We’re committed to the Pixel program but we don’t have plans to restock the Pixel 2,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

While there are certainly high-end Chromebooks out in the market thanks to the like of HP and Acer, having a Google Chromebook in the mix for the “ultimate” experience was fun to see – even if it was a steeply expensive “ultimate” experience.

Today’s Deal – Acer 14″ Chromebook 4GB/32GB Storage for $269

Today’s Deal over at eBay is on a great Chromebook from Acer.  Right now you can get the Acer 14″ Chromebook with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for $269.  This deal is being offered by Best Buy through eBay which means that you can buy it online through eBay and pick it up today at your local Best Buy store (assuming they have it in stock).  That in store pick up is free and if you don’t have a store nearby, you can have it shipped to you free as well.  Equally as important, this Chromebook is on the list of devices that will be able to run Android apps when that feature is released later this year.

Full List of Chromebooks That Will Get Android Apps

Earlier today I posted Today’s Deal on the Asus C201 Chromebook over at Amazon.  That post generated a couple of comments and questions around just which Chromebooks are going to see the Chrome 53 update that will bring Android apps to them.  For the record, the C201 is one of the Chromebooks that will be able to run Android apps when it is released later this year.  But what about the others?  Fortunately the Chromium team at Google have put together a comprehensive list.

To be clear, this list was originally posted by the Chromium team back in May and there have been some additions of newer Chromebooks that have hit the market.  It is likely that most new Chromebooks that meet the minimum specifications will be added to this list so bookmark this link for the most up-to-date list.  After the break I’ve posted the most recent update to the list from the Chromium team.  It’s searchable so just Ctrl+F to find your Chromebook in the list.

Chrome OS Update Brings Several Enhancements and Fixes

The Chromium team has released a sizable update to Chrome OS this morning, bringing with it several enhancements and improvements to the platform.  The updated build is version 52.0.2743.85 (Platform version: 8350.60.0) for those keeping score at home and it is available for all devices running the Operating System.  The update is already rolling out (I have received it on my HP Chromebook 11 G4 already) and you can check for it by going to Settings>About Chrome OS>Check for Update.

Today’s Deal: HP Chromebook 11 G4 – $175 on Amazon

Today’s Deal over at Amazon is a great one for those of you who are looking for a solid performing 11″ Chromebook.  The HP Chromebook 11 G4 is down to $174.89 at Amazon and that is for the 4GB of RAM model with 16GB of storage.  I reviewed this Chromebook back in February and it remains my day-to-day Chromebook.  I have to say it is one of the best 11″ Chromebooks I have had the privileged to test and review. It’s performance is solid, the keyboard is smooth and responsive, as is the trackpad. I found the display to be very good for an 11″ device while the battery life, for some, will be lacking. All that said though, with a price of $200 for the 4GB, 16GB of storage model on Amazon, it is hard to beat. I have no hesitation in recommending it for the vast majority of readers.

Chrome OS Stable Channel Update Arrives for Most Devices

Chrome OS users, there is a new Stable Channel build of the OS available to the majority of devices.  The update is already rolling out to devices so you should see the update soon or you can do a manual check for it.  The updated build is version 51.0.2704.106 (Platform version: 8172.62.0) for those keeping score at home and it is available on a vast majority of devices.  However, if you have a Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Chromebook or a Samsung Chromebook Series 5 device, the update is not available for you.  Having specific devices listed as not receiving the update is nothing new.  Google and the Chrome OS team often call out a specific device or two that won’t see the update immediately.  Often these updates come later to these devices.

Comment Notifications Come To Google Docs, Sheets and Slides

Google has rolled out a behind-the-scenes update that enabled comment notifications in Chrome and on Android for Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides.  Previously, when someone made a comment on a shared file, you would receive an email notification that the comment had been made on the document.  Now you will get a standard notification on your Android devices or in Chrome when these comments have been made on the file.

Google Launches My Activity Site – The Paranoid, Unite!

So if you are super paranoid about Google knowing everything about you, this post may not be good for your blood pressure.  If, however, you like being able to see your activity using Google products and services on any give day, the new My Activity site is for you.  And frankly, it is pretty darn cool.  For each day you can see a breakdown of the apps, services and other content that you have done on any given day.  It is literally a minute-by-minute breakdown.   You can see your search history, the website you have visited, the apps you have used, the YouTube videos you have viewed.  You get the idea:  If you give Google access to this information, it is in there in impressive detail.