More Chromebooks Seeing New & Improved Android App Support

Acer Chromebook 14 in Gold Aluminum

Android apps on Chromebooks continues its slow march but has started entering into a second phase of sorts.  While support in general continues to new Chrome OS devices, those that already have the support are starting to see an update to Android Nougat 7.1.1.

If you recall, when Android apps started rolling out to Chrome OS, it was based on Android Marshmallow.  It worked well but you didn’t have the benefits like split-screen natively as you do in Nougat.  Now devices which have had the ability to run Android apps are starting to see an update to Nougat.

In the Stable channel, there are three Chromebooks that are supporting Android Apps, based on Android Nougat 7.1.1:

  • Lenovo Chromebook Flex 11
  • Samsung Chromebook Pro
  • Acer Chromebook R 13

Keen followers of Chrome OS will know that these devices have had the ability to run Android apps for a while, in the case of the Samsung Chromebook Pro, since its release.  This update to their stable builds of Chrome OS will bring the Nougat update.

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PrimeDay: Save 30% on Select Chromebooks

Acer Chromebook R13

As part of Amazon’s Primeday, you can save 30% on select Chromebooks today.  The sale is on a variety of models including the Acer Chromebook R11, Acer Chromebook CB3 and the Asus C201 to name a few.  To get the deal and to check out all of the details, head over to Amazon.

The Chromebook R11 comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for $219, a savings of $80.  The Asus C201 also has 4GB of RAM and has 16GB of storage for just $149.

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Chrome OS Update Brings Big Changes to The Platform

Acer Chromebook R13

The Chromium team within Google has released Chrome OS Build 57 to the stable channel, bringing a significant number of changes and improvements to the platform.  The new build is 57.0.2987.123 (Platform version: 9202.56.1) and it is available on a wide range of devices running the Operating System.  There are some exceptions however including the AOpen Chromebase Mini, AOpen Chromebox Mini, Google Chromebook Pixel (2015), ASUS Chromebook Flip C302,  ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA, Samsung Chromebook Plus,  and the Acer Chromebook R13 (CB5 – 312T).  Other devices will have the update pushed to it or you can manually check for the update now.  My Acer Chromebook 14 has already received the update.

There are a lot of changes happening in this update including an updated default wallpaper and an update boot animation from a visual perspective.  Media files from Android apps are now available in the Files application on your Chromebook, making it easier to get to them and share them.  PIN unlocking is also available now for all Chromebooks.

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Google Extends Auto-Update Policy on Chromebooks to Over 6 Years

Chromebook Pixel

Good news for those of you who have older Chromebooks.  Google has updated their auto-update policy and have added a full 18 months of support for devices.  The change comes as part of a general overhaul of what use to be called the End of Life policy on Chrome OS.  Along with the name change, and given the significant number of Chrome OS devices in the education sector, Google has extended the time in which a device will receive updates.  Up until this change over the weekend, devices would receive updates for five years.  Now that has been extended another 18 months to 6-and-a-half-years.  Given the lightweight design and somewhat “cookie cutter” layout of Chrome OS, this makes a lot of sense and, frankly, is easier for Google do with this platform than it is for Microsoft with Windows as a comparative example.

In real terms, this is a big deal.  If you have an Acer Chromebook 14 like me, support for that Chromebook now extends to March 2021.  While as a tech user I will undoubtedly update my Chromebook to something else before 2021, it is good news for organizations who have a lot of a particular device.  They can now plan on when they need to start doing technology refreshes.

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Google Pixel Chromebook is Dead? Not So Fast Says Google

Chromebook Pixel

Yesterday, from a wide range of sources, it was reported that Google has no plans of ever making a Pixel Chromebook follow up.  This lead to a lot of consternation as the Pixel lineup, while having a hefty price tag, were the premium Chrome OS experience.

Well, not so fast.  Google’s Rick Osterloh took to Twitter today and laid out that the Pixel Chromebook isn’t dead at all.  It is just that there is nothing to report on it.

Now for those who don’t know who Mr. Osterloh is with Google, he is certainly a voice of authority on this topic.  He is the Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google.  Yeah, he might know a thing or two.

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What is Smart Lock and How To Enable It on Your Chromebook

Completed Test & Unlocking

One of the great features of Chrome OS is one that few people actually use.  It’s called Smart Lock and while technically still a beta feature in the Stable channel of Chrome, it is a quick and easy way to unlock your Chromebook using your Android phone.  No longer do you have to type in your password on your Chromebook but rather, can simply walk into the room with your unlocked Android phone or click your account photo on your Chromebook to unlock it.  Setting it up is pretty easy and it can save you some time, especially if you have your phone setup as a Trusted Agent.

First, what is Smart Lock?  As the name suggests, it is a way to quickly and easily unlock your Chrome OS device by using your Android phone.  To do this, your phone and your Chromebook have to be linked and trusted with each other which is a quick five minute process.  It is a feature that has been in the Settings of Chrome OS since last year and requires that your phone be within 100 feet of your Chromebook to work.  In this How To, I’ll show you how to set it up and use it.

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Review – Noreve Griffe Laptop Case – Elegance, Style and Protection for Your Laptop

Noreve Griffe 2 Case with Dust Bag

When it comes to laptop sleeves and cases, there are plenty to chose from that give you protection.  But many of them lack in overall quality and style.  Afterall, if you are going to be carrying such a case into a meeting, you want it to look the part, not just be utilitarian.  That’s where Noreve Griffe 2 laptop case becomes the case of choice.

Noreve is based in Saint-Tropez, France and makes hand crafted cases for a wide range of devices as well as travel and office accessories.  All of their products are created out of exceptionally high quality leathers, assembled and stitched by hand and are some of the most luxurious cases you can find.  I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing several of the couture cases over the years, most recently the Ambition Folio cases for the Nexus 6P and Nexus 9 (which are available for other devices).  This, however, is the first time that Noreve has sent me a laptop case to review and it is just as impressive and stylish as their mobile device cases.  No matter what you carry for a laptop – Windows PC, MacBook Pro or Chromebook – the Griffe 2 case will provide great protection and look good doing it.

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