Fifth and Likely Final Chrome 66 Build Lands in The Chrome OS Beta Channel

Left Side Ports Detail of The Pixelbook

With Chrome 66 landing on all of the browser variants of Chrome this week, both desktop and mobile, the last update is with Chrome OS.  That is expected to happen next week on April 25th.  In the meantime, a fifth and likely final beta of Chrome 66 has arrived in the Chrome OS Beta Channel for those who have their devices in that channel.  The new build is 66.0.3359.117 (Platform version: 10452.69.0).

For those who have a machine in the Beta Channel, you should check for the update by typing chrome://help in the browser bar and clicking the Check for Update button.

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Samsung Quietly Updates the Samsung Chromebook Pro with a Backlit Keyboard

Samsung Chromebook Pro

If there has been one almost universal complaint about the Samsung Chromebook Pro, it has been the lack of a backlit keyboard.  Many felt, me included, that for the price point of $599, it should have had this simple feature.  It would see that Samsung has listened.  Over the weekend, the product page for the Chromebook Pro on the Samsung site was updated and it highlights that it now comes with a backlit keyboard.

The price of this slightly updated Pro is $599, the same price as the original when its as released last year.  Based on the specifications listed on the product page, it appears to be exactly the same device as the first generation Chromebook Pro, just with the keyboard backlighting added.

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Fourth Chrome 66 Build Lands in The Chrome OS Beta Channel

Left Side Ports Detail of The Pixelbook

The fourth Chrome 66 build for Chrome OS has landed in the Chrome OS Beta Channel today.  Build 66.0.3359.102 (Platform version: 10452.54.0) is now available for most systems, bringing bug fixes and performance improvements.   You can manually check for the update by typing chrome://help in the browser bar if you have a Chromebook in the beta channel.

As most readers know, the Chrome OS Beta Channel is the last step before a new build of Chrome arrives for everyone in the Stable channel.  Chrome 66, which is essentially a maintenance build for the platform, is slated to go to the Stable Channel on or around April 25th.  There will likely be a fifth and final beta build next week.

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Progressive Web Apps Can Now Be Installed in The Chrome OS Canary Channel

Google Pixelbook Chrome OS Interface

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are coming and you can full expect a slew of them by the time we reach the end of 2018.  Google, Apple, Microsoft and Firefox have all committed to having support for PWAs, which are web sites that run like mobile apps on your phone or laptop.  Now Google has upped their game with Chrome OS and PWAs.

In the Chrome OS Canary Channel, the pre-alpha channel for the platform, you can now install Progressive Web Apps natively so they run just like a Chrome app on your Chromebook.  It is great news because it means that more-than-likely, by the end of summer, we will see PWA support natively in the Stable Channel.

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HP Chromebook X2 is Mid-Range Detachable Chrome OS Tablet

HP Chromebook X2

2018 is shaping up to be a great year for Chrome OS devices, especially tablets.  HP has jumped into the fray with their latest detachable design, the HP Chromebook X2.  The 12.3″ Chromebook starts at $599 and comes with the detaching keyboard and stylus.

Powered by the Intel Core m3 Kaby Lake processor, the Chromebook X2 comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.  It has 2400 x 1600 resolution, stereo speakers, a 13MP rear camera, two USB-C ports, a MicroSD slot and has about 10.5 hours of battery life according to HP.

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Chrome OS Hardware Commit Points to a 4K Resolution Chromebook

Left Side Ports Detail of The Pixelbook

A new commit in the Chrome OS hardware Gerrit points to something quite exciting for Chromebook users:  A 4K resolution device.  The new commit points to a device that is codenamed “Atlas” and it supports a native resolution of 3840 x 1260.  When “Atlas” makes it to the market, it will be the first device to support native 4K.

Right now, a resolution of 2400 x 1600 is the highest resolution support.  That is supported on a number of devices including Google’s own Pixelbook.  Bumping things up to 4K however would make Chrome OS a viable video streaming source and would give users maximum visual real estate when they connect it up to a 4K monitor.

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A Rare Third Chrome OS Stable Channel Update Has Been Released

Google Pixelbook Chrome OS Interface

The Chromium team has released a rare third update to Chrome 65 in the Chrome OS Stable Channel today.  The new build is 65.0.3325.209 (Platform version: 10323.67/68) and will be arriving on all systems over the course of the next few days.  It is not uncommon for there to be two Stable Channel releases with each major build of Chrome OS.  Usually the first one is for non-Android app running Chromebooks while the second, about a week later, brings the new build to Android running Chromebooks.

A third update however doesn’t happen often (it hasn’t happened since Chrome 62) and usually is reflective of the team finding a significant security flaw or bug that is impacting a high number of users.

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Google Pixelbook Back Down to $899 at Various Retailers

Left Side Ports Detail of The Pixelbook

The current flagship Chromebook, the Google Pixelbook, is back on sale at various retailers currently.  Right now you can pick up the entry level model for $899 at Amazon while the package with the Pixelbook and the Pixelbook Pen is down to $990.  That package price is less than the Pixelbook itself normally.

The price is for the Intel i5 powered unit with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.  It is certainly powerful enough to do anything you would need, be it in Chrome OS or Android apps running on the device.

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