New Beta Version of Chrome OS Now Available

Chrome OS Build 61 App Launcher

Following on the release of a new Dev channel build for Chrome OS, there is now a new Beta channel build too.  Build 64.0.3282.101 (Platform version: 10176.54.0) has been released for most devices and can be downloaded now, if you are in the beta channel, by typing chrome://help  in the omnibar in the browser.

The update has a laundry list of fixes and improvements that you can read here if you are so inclined.  Ultimately there are a lot of general improvements to the platform.

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Google Pixelbook Owners Can Get a Free Loop to Hold Their Pixelbook Pen

Google Pixelbook Pen Loop

For those of you who have a Google Pixelbook and Pixelbook Pen, Google is offering you a free loop to attach to your Chromebook to hold your Pen when it is not in use.  The company has setup a site where you enter in your information and they will ship you the loop in a few weeks.

While the reviews of the Pixelbook have been gushing, one complaint from reviewers and users has been what to do with the $100 Pixelbook Pen when it is not in use.  This free loop seems to be Google’s answer to the problem.

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Chrome OS Dev Channel Updated to Chrome 65

Google+ Android App Running on Chrome OS

For developers and for those who like a good bug hunt, the Chromium team within Google has released a new build to the Chrome OS Dev channel.  The Dev channel is really aimed only at developers to give a sneak peak into what will be coming up.  In this case, it is the first build based on Chrome 65.  It is build 65.0.3322.0 (Platform version: 10315.0.0).

For those that aren’t familiar with the different Chrome OS channels, the Dev channel is essentially the alpha channel.  This can be a really rough experience with lots of weird behavior and bugs.  It is aimed at developers and those who like serious bug hunting to see what is coming up in the platform.  This channel is not recommended for daily use on your daily driver Chromebook.

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Native Video Recording in Chrome OS Coming to Supporting Chromebooks

Chrome OS Build 61 App Launcher

It looks like native video recording from your Chromebook’s webcam is finally coming to Chrome OS.  A new commit in the Chrome Review Gerrit points to support for video recording so long as the device is using the MediaRecorder APIs found in the platform.

We are implementing recording functionality in chrome camera app on ChromeOS devices with MediaRecorder APIs. Enabling HW VEA would greatly improve the performance. For example, FPS increases from 7 to 30 on kevin.

For reference, the device name Kevin is the Samsung Chromebook Pro.

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The ASUS Flip C302CA – A Budget Friendly Power Chromebook Option

Asus Chromebook C302

Chromebooks have come a long way these past six years both in overall design and function as well as Chrome OS itself.  While there are still plenty of budget friendly, sub-$200 options out there, there are also more powerful devices out there aimed at being your daily driver of a laptop.  The pinnacle of this is, of course, the Google Pixelbook.  But at a base price of $999, it is out of the reach of some who still need something as powerful or close to it.  That is where the ASUS Flip C302CA could prove to be a viable option.

The base model of the C302CA is price at $449 with the top-end, Intel m5 equipped model topping out at $609.  While the mCore processors don’t have the same grunt as the iCore processors, for the majority of users it will get the job done.  Is it also lightweight, has an excellent screen and solid, all day battery life.

I was recently sent an ASUS Flip C302CA to review and having used it as my primary laptop device for the past couple of weeks, I believe it is the second best option out there in the current lineup of high-end, power Chromebooks behind the Pixelbook.  Yes it has some compromises but I do not think they are deal breakers for the majority of people reading this review.

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Chrome OS Commit Suggest Android App Sideloading in the Works

Chrome OS Build 61 App Launcher

A commit that was discovered by the Chrome Story team suggest that Chrome OS could have the ability for administrators to sideload Android apps on devices.  Currently the only way you can sideload an APK to a Chromebook is if the device is in Developer Mode.  That mode essentially bypasses all of the Google security measures like boot loader verification.

If this Commit makes it through the gauntlet and arrives on Chrome OS, there would be a mechanism by which administrators could load apps that are not in the Google Play Store, currently the only way to install apps outside of the afore mentioned Developer Mode.  For now, it appears that this would only be an Enterprise level administrator feature in the platform.

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Chrome OS Meltdown List Shows When Auto Updates Will End for Your Chromebook

Acer Chromebook 15 2017

With all of the concerns floating about around Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities in Intel processors, Google has been reasonably proactive in letting know users know if their Chromebook or Chromebox is going to be protected.  In that same list, there was another useful bit of information that may have been overlooked:  When devices will stop receiving automatic updates to the next version of Chrome OS.

The column in question can be found on the Meltdown vulnerability list and is marked Auto update ends (*=official).  There you will find the date for everyone Chromebook, Chromebase, Chromebox and Chromebit out there on when it will officially stop getting automatic updates.

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