Google’s hotword-activated voice search has been available on Chrome OS for a while now, but in its current form the feature is somewhat limited on Chromebooks. As of now, you can only search in this way from the App Launcher or when you open a new tab. Well, that is unless you like to live on the bleeding edge of technology and have switched your Chromebook to the Dev channel.
Talk of Android and Chrome OS merging into a single platform is nothing new. It has been around since the day Google first lifted the curtain on the cloud-based operating system, with even Google co-founder Sergey Brin admitting as far back as 2009 that the two appeared likely to “converge over time”. Now, per the Wall Street Journal, such a merger is looking more and more likely in light of a recent management change inside the software behemoth.
Leather-wrapped Chromebook 2 models from Samsung start at $250
If the only thing that's stopping you from picking up a Chromebook is that you're waiting for a company to stitch a strip of leather-like material to the lid, well, you're in luck. Samsung today announced that it's taking pre-orders for its 11.6-inch Chromebook 2. According to Samsung, the build is nearly seamless, supported by a strong metal frame from top to bottom and covered with a leather-like case, giving the system the appearance of an expensive briefcase.
When Google first announced Chrome OS in 2009, among the few people who were polite enough to not dismiss it outright, and predict for it either a stillbirth or an early demise, were those who saw a merger with Android as its ultimate fate. Of course, let alone a full-blown merger, we have yet to see substantial interplay between the two platforms. The best we have seen, all these years down the line, is the ability to run a grand total of four Android apps on Chrome OS — and that too is a very recent development. Even now, Google is only working with “a select group of Android developers” and is unlikely to bring more than a handful of mobile apps to Chrome OS in the near future. Well, that’s what hacks are for, right?
The netbook revolution was, at the time of it inception, an all-Linux affair, with there being plenty of talk of Linux finally emerging as a serious alternative to Windows in the eyes of mainstream PC users. However, all such talk quickly disappeared when the first Windows-running devices invaded the segment and made it their own in no time at all. Tablets may have derailed the netbook bandwagon, but Linux has managed to claw its way back into contention in the laptop segment with Google Chromebooks. Now, if the search engine giant has its way, its Linux-based cloud OS could end up replicating that same success in the desktop category as well.
We've pointed out before how Chromebooks are some of the best selling laptops on Amazon, and though these cloud-based systems aren't as capable as their Windows-based counterparts, they've having no trouble finding an audience, particularly in education circles. In fact, market research firm Gartner forecasts 5.2 million Chromebook sales by the end of the year, which would translate into a 79 percent jump compared to 2013.
Use of inexpensive ARM SoCs could pave the way for sub-$200 Chromebooks
When Acer recently introduced the C720 Chromebook, a Haswell Core i3-toting device, we couldn’t help but wonder if users would be comfortable shelling out $350 or more for a Chromebook. This is an especially pertinent question because if there’s one thing that has helped these nifty little devices carve a niche for themselves, it is their greater affordability compared to entry-level Windows machines. The good news is that Chromebooks are likely to get even more affordable in the near future.
Chromebooks continue to acquire new offline functionality
Adding to the still small, albeit growing, list of things that can be done on a Chromebook while it’s offline, Google earlier this week updated the Google Play Movies & TV Chrome app with support for offline media playback. Coming at a time when Chromebook availability is being expanded to nine new countries, the ability to watch your favorite movies and TV shows when stuck with a Chromebook without internet access is definitely a positive development from both the standpoint of usability and marketability.
Chromebooks didn’t exactly take the world by storm when they first hit the market. Far from being an instant hit, they were widely panned for their limited functionality. They have clearly come a long way since then, though. The over 2 million Chromebooks that were shipped in 2013 are a testament to how much Chrome OS has matured since its early days, when it was probably nothing more than an overhyped browser. Now, the cloud-based OS is all set to tick another key box: document scanning support.
New and improved version of Chrome OS hits the Stable channel
Google this week rolled out an updated version of its open source Chrome OS to the Stable channel -- version 35.0.1916.116 (Platform version: 5712.6.0). The update applies to all Chrome OS devices, save for the Asus Chromebook and Samsung Series 3 Chromebox. For all other Chrome OS devices, the update adds a number of bug fixes, security updates, and feature enhancements.