New Commit Suggest App Notifications Are Coming to Chrome OS

Chrome OS Build 61 App Launcher

A new commit found in the Chromium Gerrit for Chrome OS suggest that Android Oreo style App Notifications are going to be making their way to Chrome OS.  The commit indicates that the notifications would be for apps that are pinned to your Chromebook’s shelf and would work with both Chrome-based apps as well as Android apps.  Further, there is also a file associated with the commit that suggests app shortcuts could be coming to Chrome OS too.

The commit for these new features appears to be well down the path of being implemented with bug reports being filed within the Chromium team.  What that means for end users is that we could see these new features show up in the beta of Chrome 65 or 66 with a stable channel release later this year, possibly in the first half of the year.

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Today’s Deal – Free Pixelbook Pen With the Purchase of Any Google Pixelbook

Google Pixelbook

Today’s Deal is on the Google Pixelbook and lets you score a free Pixelbook Pen.  Now through February 1st, if you order a Pixelbook from Amazon or the Google Store, you will get a free Pixelbook Pen, a $99 value.  There is no special code required on either site.  On Amazon, visit the Google Pixelbook page, select the configuration you want and make sure you select the Pixelbook + Pixelbook Pen option.  It will be added to your cart at no charge.  At the Google Store, add the two to your cart and you will see a $99 credit applied to your cart at checkout.

The Pixelbook Pen allows you to access Google Assistant with a press of a button on it, so you can circle something on the screen and get information about it.  It also allows for digital writing and other editing features you would expect from a digital pen.

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Google Publishes List of Chrome OS Devices With Meltdown Protection Status

Chrome OS Build 61 App Launcher

The Chromium team within Google has publicly published a detailed list of every Chrome OS device and its status on being protected against the Meltdown vulnerability.  The list can be found here and I strongly encourage readers to visit the link and bookmark it.

The list is broken down into seven columns that provide details for each device.  The columns are:

  • Public codename for the device
  • Marketing name of the device
  • Kernel version
  • Architecture (x86, ARM, aarch64)
  • Date of when automatic updates end for the device
  • If Meltdown protection has come to the Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI) in Chrome 63 for that device
  • Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI) will eventually be updated

The last two columns in this table are the key ones to pay attention to as you review it.  This tells you if your device is protected, will be protect, or at EoL (End of Life) and will not be updated.

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Android App Support Expands to Several Chromebooks in Latest Chrome OS Builds

Samsung Chromebook 2

The Chromium team has updated the list of Chromebooks that can run Android apps either in the Chrome OS beta or stable channels.  In all, 10 devices are able to run Android apps now, bringing the total number up to 67 different Chromebooks and Chromeboxes that can run Android apps.

When it comes to pure new additions to the list, there are eight new devices that moved into the beta channel.  That includes the likes of the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015), the Haier Chromebook 11 C, and the Viglen Chromebook 360.  Two devices, the Acer Chromebook 11 (C740) and the Dell Chromebook 13 (7310) moved from the Beta channel to the Stable channel, meaning they are fully supported by those devices.

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New Commit Suggests Android Apps Could Soon Be Able to Read USB Drives on Chrome OS

Chrome OS Build 61 App Launcher

While the growth of Android apps on Chrome OS has been great to see, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been without its challenges or limitations.  One such limitation is the ability for those apps to read a USB drive attached to your Chromebook.  The Android app is completely blind to that drive being there and can’t access.  It looks like that could be changing.

A new commit in the Chrome OS Gerrit suggests that through a settings in Flags that Android apps can be given permission to access the USB drive attached to your Chromebook.

const char kArcUsbHostName[] = “Enable ARC USB host integration”;
const char kArcUsbHostDescription[] =
“Allow Android apps to use USB host feature on ChromeOS devices.”;

When enabled, this would allow your Android apps to see your USB drive on your Chromebook.

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ASUS Announces The Updated ASUS Chromebox 3

ASUS Chromebox 3

ASUS has announced an update version of their Chromebox will be coming later this year.  The new ASUS Chromebox 3 will be powered by 8th generation Intel Core processors, have DDR4-2400 energy efficient and fast memory, and have HDMI connectivity for 4K UHD playback.

ASUS has indicated that the Chromebox 3 will be available in the second half of 2018, meaning that we have to wait until at least July before this gets to market.  For that reason, the exact processors that will be available as well as the amount of RAM that is standard in the new Chromebox were not disclosed.

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Acer Chromebook 11 Refresh Brings 10 Hours of Battery Life

Acer Chromebook 11 2018

The Chromebook parade continues in the hours leading up to CES 2018.  Acer, a long time manufacture of Chromebooks, has announced an updated version of the popular Acer Chromebook 11.  The 11.6″ display device will be available in April and will sport two models:  A touchscreen version (CB311-8H) and a non-touchscreen version (CB311-8HT).  Starting price will be around $250.

The updated Chromebook 11 will have the latest Intel Celeron processors although which ones exactly was not disclosed.  It will come with 4GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB or storage built into it.  It will also have dual stereo speakers and a HDR camera.

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