Category: Chrome OS

Review – Acer Chromebook 14 CB3 – An All Around Fantastic Chromebook

If there is one mid-range Chromebook that exemplifies how far the platform has come, it could well be the Acer Chromebook 14.  This comfortably priced $286 Chromebook has all of the features you expect from a device running Chrome OS but it has something that so many others lack:  Style and panache.  The all aluminum chassis is beautiful, the Full HD display is easy on the eyes and it has the performance to keep up with your day-to-day tasks.  But the added bonus of this particular Chromebook is that it has the ability to run Android apps and it can do it on the main production line of Chrome OS (the Stable channel).  That makes it one of the best all around Chromebooks out there.

I recently picked up the Acer Chromebook 14 and after using it for several weeks, it is hands down the best Chromebook I’ve used to date.  My reliable and fantastic HP Chromebook 11 G4 has been replaced and without giving away the entire review, I have no hesitation in recommending this offering from Acer.  It is just phenomenal to use day in and day out.  Here is my review.

Chrome OS Detachable Devices Coming Soon?

Some fun food for thought this Monday morning.  There is a new commit in the Chrome OS source that points to a detachable UI design.  In other words, a detachable tablet-like Chrome OS device.  The commit was found by the team over at Chrome Unboxed and the top lines of the change says it all:

poppy: adding DETACHABLE_UI config option Create CONFIG_DETACHABLE_UI option for depthcharge. Will work in conjunction with USE flag in depthcharge ebuild.

While there isn’t a whole lot know about Poppy, this appears to be the first committed change to Chrome OS for a detachable device.  That would give users a wealth of usability options that we can see today in some of the Windows 10 based devices.

All Chromebooks Onward Will Work With Android Apps

For a while now, the Chrome OS team has listed the various Chromebooks that support Android apps on the Chrome OS Systems Supporting Android Apps page.  To this point, the page listed the devices that would be seeing Android app support which has been through the developer and beta channels of Chrome OS.  It is expected that the stable channel will see Chrome OS 56 this month and fully launch app support for everyone.

Over the weekend, the support page changed with a clear and important statement regarding future devices.  Any Chromebook from 2017 onward will have Android app support.  While this isn’t entirely unexpected, the news is good for those who are considering a Chromebook and it further solidifies the relationship between Google’s two platforms.  While it appears unlikely we will see a merger of the two, it is clear their handshake relationship is supported and will remain so for the immediate future.

AOPEN Announces the Chromebase Mini Tablet

AOPEN has announced a new Chrome OS powered tablet, the Chromebase Mini.  The 10.1″ tablet does indeed look like a mini Chromebase and is aimed at the enterprise and retail markets but with a price point consumers can afford.  If you haven’t heard of AOPEN, they have been working with Chrome OS for a long time.  Most of their work has been around digital signage that runs on the platform but they have also had commercial grade Chromebox devices for a while.

The Chromebase Mini has a 10.1″ display that renders in 1280 x 800, has multi-touch support and is powered by a quad-core Cortex A17 processor running at 1.8GHz.  It has 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage build it along with a Full HD Webcam that shoots at 2MP.

Chrome OS Could Soon Have Model Specific Wallpapers at Launch

An interesting tidbit of code has shown up in the Chromium change log for Chrome OS.  The change outlines that the default wallpaper on a device can be controlled by the master configuration.  In other words, manufactures like Acer, Dell and HP could have specific wallpapers for specific Chrome OS devices.

The ability for an OEM to set a default wallpaper has been in play for some time now.  Both Acer and HP have a custom wallpaper that they have all their Chromebooks show when you first power them on.  Google is incredibly strict with what OEMs can do to the Chrome experience.  To this point, the manufactures had one wallpaper they could add and it was the same on every Chromebook.

Google Chrome Launches Chromebook Education Series on YouTube

The Google Chrome team has launched an education and troubleshooting set of videos for Chromebooks and Chrome OS on their YouTube channel.  The videos, eight in all, cover a wide range of topics from setting up your Chromebook for the first time to troubleshooting Wi-Fi issues.  Each of the videos range from a couple of minutes to nearly 5 minutes depending on the topic.  While experienced Chromebook and Chrome OS users will find the videos to be basic, for those who are moving from a Windows PC or Mac, they can be a huge time saver when it comes to understanding their new device.

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

Today’s Deal over at Amazon is on the well equipped and stunningly beautiful Acer Chromebook 14.  Right now this all aluminum chassis Chromebook is available with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for $269.  That price is good on either the aluminum or the gold aluminum finish and is eligible for Prime shipping for members.

This Acer Chromebook is powered by a Intel Celeron N3160 processor running at 1.6GHz and the display renders at 1920 x 1080 full HD.  As mentioned already, it has 4GB of RAM which is really handy on a Chromebook and has 32GB of storage for those things (like Android apps) that you need to store locally.  It also has a built-in battery that is rated to give 12 hours of life between charges.  Overall it is a great package and one of the higher rated Chromebooks out there right now.

Chrome OS An Option for Toontastic 3D Android App Install

Earlier today, Google launched a new app aimed at helping youngsters be creative.  The new Toontastic 3D app looks like a lot of fun and it allows kids (and adults) to create stories and turn them into 3D cartoons.  You can read more about it here but if you have creative young people in the house, it’s worth a look.  But that’s not really the point of this article.  It is the install options for Toontastic 3D.  If you go to the site and click the “get the app” link, you will get a splash screen with links to the Play Store and iTunes Store.  No biggie right?  Read the test of that splash screen.

Download Toontastic 3D for your tablet, phone, or Chromebook

So we all know that Android apps are coming to Chrome OS and this, as far as I am aware, is the first genuine advert that a Chromebook, i.e. Chrome OS, is an install option.

Chrome OS Could Be Running Nougat 7.1 in 2017

Chrome OS is still in the process of having Android apps rolled out to various Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, but that doesn’t mean further improvements are coming.  According to a post on ChromeUnboxed, it looks like Android Nougat 7.1 support will be coming at some point in 2017.  Currently, Chrome OS devices that can run Android apps are running them based on the Android Marshmallow 6.0 API set.  For most of us, that’s fine.  There is however one big bonus to having things move over to Nougat:  Multi-Window support.

Right now if you run an Android app on your Chromebook, only one app at a time can be displayed, just like it was on your Android phone running Marshmallow.  With Nougat, the ability to show multiple apps and resize those windows comes into play and that could be a real game changer.  Along with this comes true multi-tasking too.

Minor Update Comes to Chrome OS

A small security update has been released by the Chrome OS team for all devices running the platform.  The update is 55.0.2883.105 (Platform version: 8872.76.0) for those keeping score at home.  There are not many details in the release notes about the update other than the customary bug and security fixes that come with all updates to the platform.  Still, if you are running a Chromebook or Chromebox, get the update so you have the latest and greatest (and safest) version.

All devices will have the update pushed to them over the course of the next few days but if you want to force the issue now, you can do so by going to chrome://help on your Chromebook and tapping the Check for update button.  This will download the update and after a reboot you will be running the new build.

Chrome OS Update Available for Most Devices

The Chromium team at Google has rolled out a new update to Chrome OS in the Stable channel.  The updated build is 55.0.2883.87 (Platform version: 8872.70.0 or 8872.70.1) and is available now on eligible devices.  The update, however, is not available for the following Chromebooks:

  • HP Chromebook 11 1100-1199 / HP Chromebook 11 G1
  • Samsung Chromebook 2 11″
  • HP Chromebook 14

If you have one of these devices, an update is likely going to be coming your way in a few weeks.

As with all Chrome OS updates, this one includes a number of bug fixes and security improvements but also has a number of new features too.

Chrome OS Update Rolling Out

The Chrome OS team has pushed out a small but important update out for the platform.  Build 54.0.2840.101 (Platform version: 8743.85.0) is available for all devices running the OS and should be hitting your Chromebook or other device over the course of the next few days.  You can, of course, always force the issue by typing in chrome://help in the browser bar and it will automatically go and look for the update for you.

As is very often the case, the Chromium team did not disclose exactly what was addressed or fixed in this update to the platform.  They usually limit the amount of information released to assure that hackers don’t know about it and exploit it until a large swath of devices are updated.  In this case, no information was released.  That either means this was truly a minor update and there was nothing worth mentioning or there was a major flaw and they will be mum about it until updates are complete.  Given that there is no indication further notes will be released later, I tend to think it is the former.