chrome os en System-wide “Ok Google” Voice Search Comes to Chromebooks <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="New Ok Google Voice Search " title="New Ok Google Voice Search " width="228" height="191" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Available in the Dev channel</h3> <p>Google’s <strong>hotword-activated voice search</strong> 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.</p> <p>The latest Chrome OS Dev channel update contains a new “Ok Google” search experience, Google’s <a href=";oid=100132233764003563318" target="_blank">François Beaufort announced on Google+ Friday</a>. As long as you are running the Dev channel version of Chrome OS and have enabled the chrome://flags/#enable-hotword-hardware flag, you can now search using the “Ok Google” hotword from any screen. (Note: The device must be on and unlocked.)</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> chrome os chromebooks dev channel ok google Software voice search News Mon, 22 Dec 2014 01:26:29 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29127 at Are Chrome and Android About to Merge? <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Chrome-Android Merger" title="Chrome-Android Merger" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Recent management change suggests so</h3> <p>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 <a href="" target="_blank">Wall Street Journal</a>, such a <strong>merger is looking more and more likely in light of a recent management change inside the software behemoth.<br /></strong></p> <p>Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering at Google’s Android division, has now also been entrusted with the task of overseeing the Chrome engineering team. Google previously had Linus Upson in this role. </p> <p>This move shouldn’t be viewed in isolation. We have now finally begun to see some synergy between the two platforms, with Google last month bringing the first batch of Android apps — Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine — to the cloud OS. These apps run on Chrome using using the App Runtime for Chrome (beta), a project the company announced at Google I/O in June. The company is now “working with a select group of Android developers to add more of your favorite apps so you’ll have a more seamless experience across your Android phone and Chromebook.” To us, it looks more like the “Androidifcation” of Chrome than a merger. What do you think?</p> <p><em>Image Credit: Chrome Story</em></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on<a href="" target="_blank"> Google+</a></p> android app runtime for chrome chrome os Hiroshi Lockheimer linus upson Software News Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:42:56 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28746 at Samsung Chromebook 2 with Intel Inside is Now Available to Pre-Order <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_chromebook_2_0.jpg" alt="Samsung Chromebook 2" title="Samsung Chromebook 2" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" />Leather-wrapped Chromebook 2 models from Samsung start at $250</h3> <p>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. <strong>Samsung today announced that it's taking pre-orders for its 11.6-inch Chromebook 2</strong>. 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.</p> <p>Not just for looks, <a href="" target="_blank">Samsung says</a> there's a function to the material -- it makes the Chromebook 2 easier to grip and hold, which the company points out is especially important for students and children. That's a good point, considering that Chromebooks are becoming popular in education circles.</p> <p>The Chromebook 2 sports an Intel Celeron N2840 processor (2.58GHz, 1MB L2 cache) inside, along with 2GB of DDR3L-1333 RAM. It also features a 1366x768 resolution, 16GB of internal storage, Intel HD Graphics, a pair of 2W stereo speakers, 720p HD webcam, and up to 9 hours of battery life.</p> <p>As for dimensions, the Chromebook 2 measures 11.40 x 8.6 x 0.66 inches and weighs just 2.65 pounds.</p> <p>You can pre-order the Chromebook 2 for $250 on <a href="" target="_blank">Samsung's website</a>, or at least you will be able to sometime today (we're not seeing the listing at the time of this writing). It will be widely available next week.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> chrome os chromebook 2 Google intel laptop mobile notebook OEM rigs samsung News Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:16:06 +0000 Paul Lilly 28741 at ARChron Hack Brings Android Apps to Chrome for Linux, OS X and Windows <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="ARChron" title="ARChron" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Theoretically, almost any app can be ported</h3> <p>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 <strong>ability to run a grand total of four Android apps on Chrome OS</strong> — 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?</p> <p>A developer named Vlad Filippov (a.k.a Vladikoff) has not not only figured out a <a href=";utm_source=pulsenews" target="_blank">way to run virtually any Android app on Chrome OS</a>, he has also found a way to do so using the Chrome browser on major desktop OSes like OS X, Linux and Windows. To this end, he has released a custom version of <a href="" target="_blank">App Runtime for Chrome (ARC)</a>, the Native Client-based Chrome OS extension that enables Android apps to run on Chrome — the APK needs to be converted into a Chrome extension. Unlike ARC, which is only compatible with Chrome OS,&nbsp; the hacked version called <a href="">ARChon</a> can be used to run Android apps inside the Chrome browser. As for converting APKs into Chrome extensions, the Toronto-based developer has released a tool called “<a href="" target="_blank">chromeos-apk</a>”.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> app runtime for chrome apps archron chrome chrome os hack linux nacl native client OS OS X Software Windows News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:54:08 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28578 at Acer Enters Chromebox Fray with $180 CXI <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Acer Chromebox CXI" title="Acer Chromebox CXI" width="228" height="261" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Powered by an Intel Celeron 2957U processor</h3> <p>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 <strong>Linux has managed to claw its way back into contention in the laptop segment with Google Chromebooks.</strong> Now, if the search engine giant has its way, its <a href="" target="_blank">Linux-based cloud OS could end up replicating that same success in the desktop category as well.</a></p> <p>Google hopes do this with inexpensive Chrome OS -based PCs like the upcoming Chromebox CXI, which has a starting price of just $179.99. The base model packs a 1.4GHz&nbsp; Intel Celeron 2957U processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB SSD, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports,&nbsp; and an SD card slot with support for up to 32GB external storage. For an additional $40, you will be able to get one with double the RAM.</p> <p>When the diminutive CXI (165x130x33mm) goes on sale in the U.S. and Canada sometime next month, it will be the first device of its kind from Acer’s stable. It will join a handful of similar offerings from the likes of Asus, Samsung and HP.</p> <p>Apart from standalone Chromeboxes, Google also offers a <a href="" target="_blank">$1,000 Core i7-powered Chromebox for Meetings bundle</a>.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> Acer chrome os chromebox cxi Desktop Google Hardware Software News Sun, 24 Aug 2014 22:40:06 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28405 at Gartner Predicts 5.2 Million Chromebook Sales in 2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_chromebook_3.jpg" alt="Samsung Chromebook" title="Samsung Chromebook" width="228" height="181" style="float: right;" />Chromebooks are big in the education sector</h3> <p>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 <strong>Gartner forecasts 5.2 million Chromebook sales by the end of the year</strong>, which would translate into a 79 percent jump compared to 2013.</p> <p>That's just the tip of the cloud -- by 2017, Gartner sees Chromebook sales tripling to 14.4 million units. Not too shabby for what some power users a glorified web browsing machine, though to be fair, Chromebooks are capable of much more than just surfing the Internet.</p> <p>"Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014," <a href="" target="_blank">said Isabelle Durand</a>, principal analyst at Gartner. "Now that the PC market is no longer growing strongly, vendors are searching for new business opportunities. They launched Chromebooks to revive interest in sub-$300 portable PCs once the netbook bubble had burst."</p> <p>Unlike netbooks, however, Chromebooks are most predominate in the education sector, which accounted for nearly 85 percent of Chromebook sales last year. And of the 2.9 million Chromebooks sold during 2013, 82 percent were sold in North America, Gartner says.</p> <p>Despite just 15 percent of Chromebooks sold in 2013 landing outside the education sector, Gartner insists they will carve out a place in businesses for specific workers, such as staff in banking, hotel receptions, and so forth.</p> <p>"So far, businesses have looked at Chromebooks, but not bought many," Durand added. "By adopting Chromebooks and cloud computing, businesses can benefit; they can shift their focus from managing devices to managing something much more important — their data."</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> <div style="width: 100%; max-width: 600px; margin: 0 auto;"><iframe src="//" width="600" height="400" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe><br /> <div style="text-align:center;"><a style="font:10px/14px arial;color:#3d3d3d;" href="" target="_blank">Chromebook Series 3 (XE303C12) | FindTheBest</a></div> </div> chrome os chromebook gartner Google Hardware laptop notebook News Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:00:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 28333 at Cheaper Chromebooks in the Offing <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Chromebooks" title="Chromebooks" width="228" height="211" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Use of inexpensive ARM SoCs could pave the way for sub-$200 Chromebooks</h3> <p>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 <strong>Chromebooks are likely to get even more affordable in the near future</strong>.</p> <p>This is because <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_source=pulsenews" target="_blank">inexpensive ARM-based SoCs from the likes of MediaTek and Rockchip could end up powering future Chromebook models</a>. Taiwan-based MediaTek, in fact, has already begun its efforts to get in on the Chrome OS action.</p> <p>“A new experimental ARM Cortex A7 board named Moose has recently been added to the open-source <a href="" target="_blank">Chromium OS repository</a> by MediaTek,” Google’s François Beaufort revealed in a <a href="" target="_blank">Google Plus post Saturday</a>.</p> <p>With A7 chips from the likes of MediaTek being cheaper than even the ARM-based Exynos chips Samsung currently uses in a couple of its Chromebooks (the only company to do so), any device based on such SoCs will no doubt be cheaper than existing ARM- and X86-based Chromebooks, albeit while being considerably slower as well. However, all such dirt cheap devices are still quite far off — that is, if they show up at all.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> A7 ARM chrome os chromebooks chromium os Hardware laptops mediatek netbooks News Mon, 14 Jul 2014 05:23:14 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28155 at Google Play Movies & TV App Now Supports Offline Playback on Chrome OS <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Google Play Movies &amp; TV Chrome OS " title="Google Play Movies &amp; TV Chrome OS " width="228" height="114" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Chromebooks continue to acquire new offline functionality</h3> <p>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 <strong>updated the Google Play Movies &amp; TV Chrome app with support for offline media playback</strong>.</p> <p>“The new Google Play Movies &amp; TV Chrome app makes your favorite movies and TV shows on your Chromebook available any time, anywhere - even without a WiFi connection,” the company said in a <a href="" target="_blank">Google Plus post announcing the new feature</a>.</p> <p>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. But don’t expect to store an awful lot of content locally, for Chromebooks generally tend to ship with fairly limited built-in storage.</p> <p>Anyway, offline playback isn’t the only new feature introduced as part of this app update: “In addition to offline mode on Chrome OS, it also brings Info Cards and an improved Chromecast and local playback experience to anyone watching movies through the Chrome browser.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> chrome os chromebooks cloud os google play movies offline OS Software News Mon, 09 Jun 2014 05:42:40 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27964 at Chrome OS to Get Document Scanning Support <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Chromebook" title="Chromebook" width="228" height="212" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Will let web apps scan documents</h3> <p>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 <a href="" target="_blank">over 2 million Chromebooks that were shipped in 2013</a> 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 <strong>cloud-based OS is all set to tick another key box: document scanning support.<br /></strong></p> <p>“Basic document scanning in ChromeOS is going through the process of an API proposal,” wrote Chromium evangelist François Beaufort in a <a href="" target="_blank">Google Plus post</a> Friday. “It means it's getting closer and that the Chromium team loves to experiment wherever it can.”</p> <p>The feature will tap into the Chome OS Lorgnette scanning API to detect USB- and LAN-attached scanners, acquire single-page scans, and posit the scanned images in the default download location. According to one <a href="" target="_blank">description of the upcoming document scanning feature</a>, it “can be extended to use native document acquisition APIs on other platforms.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> chrome os chromebooks cloud os document scanning Lorgnette scanner News Mon, 26 May 2014 04:58:32 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27871 at Google Chrome OS Update Adds Folder Support to Launcher <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chrome_os.jpg" alt="Chrome OS" title="Chrome OS" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />New and improved version of Chrome OS hits the Stable channel</h3> <p><strong>Google this week rolled out an updated version of its open source Chrome OS to the Stable channel</strong> -- 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.</p> <p>One of the bigger additions to Chrome OS is that the Launcher now supports folders. You can now sort and organize all of your web apps into folders rather than stare at a haphazard collection of icons strewn about.</p> <p>Based on user feedback, Google also updated window controls. The minimize button has made a return and the left/right tiling of windows can be accomplished by long-pressing on the maximize button, Google says.</p> <p>If you're into voice commands, you'll be happy to know that blurting out "Ok Google" will allow you to use voice control on New Tab Page and for English (U.S.) users.</p> <p>Google says systems will be receiving the updated version of Chrome OS over the next several days.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> chrome os Google operating system Software News Wed, 21 May 2014 16:17:06 +0000 Paul Lilly 27849 at Google Extends Chrome OS Minimum End of Life Term to 5 Years <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Chrome OS " title="Chromebook" width="228" height="212" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Previously, Chrome OS devices were guaranteed four years’ worth of software support</h3> <p>Google has <strong>updated its Chrome OS End of Life (EOL) policy</strong>, <a href="" target="_blank"> extending the minimum EOL term to five years</a>. Many Chrome OS device owners have already received an email apprising them of the change from the search engine giant.</p> <p>With the new minimum EOL term applying retrospectively, each and every Chrome OS device ever released is affected by this announcement. Take for instance, the very first Chrome OS device — the CR-48 Chromebook. Prior to this EOL policy update, the EOL date for CR-48 was set for December 2014. But now the CR-48 is guaranteed to receive OS updates and security patches until at least December next year.</p> <p>“We’re updating our official End of Life policy for all Chrome devices, including previous models, to extend the End of Life (EOL) minimum term,” <a href="" target="_blank">Google told Chrome OS owners in an email.</a></p> <p>“The new minimum EOL term is now 5 years from the date the device hardware is made available for purchase. Some models may have a further extension based on regional releases and the length of sale.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> chrome os chromebook chromebox eol Google OS Security Software update News Mon, 19 May 2014 02:04:55 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27825 at Chromebooks Notched 2.1 Million Shipments Last Year, Majority Landed in North America <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebooks_0.jpg" alt="Chromebooks" title="Chromebooks" width="228" height="98" style="float: right;" />Nearly 9 out of 10 Chromebooks sold in 2013 ended up in North America</h3> <p>Laptop shoppers in North America are willing to sacrifice features, performance, and overall functionality in exchange for lower priced systems, or so it seems based on data provided by market intelligence firm ABI Research. According to ABI Research, <strong>of the estimated 2.1 million Chromebooks shipped in 2013, nearly 89 percent reached North America</strong>. Looking ahead, the intelligence firm predicts Chromebook shipments will grow to 11 million units in 2019.</p> <p>"ABI Research tracked Chromebooks across six regions and found the average selling price (ASP) to be $338," <a href="" target="_blank">says research analyst Stephanie Van Vactor</a>. "This truly budget-driven device is a disruptive force to the portable PC market."</p> <p>The average selling price is actually a little higher than we expected, and while ABI Research remains optimistic about the growth of Chromebooks, we can't help but think pricing might have to come down in order to compete with increasingly affordable and more fully featured Windows laptops.</p> <p>According to ABI, customers are still undecided but certainly "intrigued" by Chromebooks. It's hard not to be when you can pick up a Chromebook for $199 (Acer C720 with Intel Celeron 2955U processor, 2GB of DDR3L RAM, 16GB SSD, and 11.6-inch display). However, once you approach $338 (the average selling priced, based on ABI's research), it becomes a much tougher sell over a similarly priced Windows laptop.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> abi research chrome os chromebook Google Hardware laptop notebook News Fri, 04 Apr 2014 17:18:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 27568 at Samsung and HP Reportedly Have Chrome OS All-in-One PCs on Tap <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_chrome.jpg" alt="Samsung Chrome" title="Samsung Chrome" width="228" height="190" style="float: right;" />More Chrome OS hardware is coming</h3> <p>It's still early in the year, but perhaps one day we'll look back at 2014 as the year Google's Chrome OS made head roads in the desktop PC market. A quick look at the landscape shows that Chromebooks are already pretty popular, but that could be only the beginning. <strong>By the end of the year, you may start seeing a few more Chrome OS all-in-one (AIO) PCs, including ones from Samsung and Hewlett-Packard </strong>(HP).</p> <p>Citing supply chain makers in Taiwan, news and rumor site <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Digitimes</em> says</a> both OEMs are planning to launch Chrome OS AIOs later this year. It wouldn't be much of a leap for Samsung, which already offers 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch Chromebook models, and HP is the only OEM that currently offers a 14-inch Chromebook.</p> <p>AIOs based on Chrome OS wouldn't be entirely new, either. <a href="">LG kicked this things off</a> with its Chromebase earlier this year. It's not yet available in the U.S., though word on the web is that it will launch in Australia in April for $599, and perhaps for $499 in the U.S. sometime after.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> aio all-in-one chrome os Google hewlett-packard hp OEM rigs samsung News Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:37:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 27444 at Asus Chromebox Now Available for Preorder <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Asus Chromebox" title="Asus Chromebox" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>The $179 device will begin shipping on March 14</h3> <p>The Chrome OS-powered mini desktop PC Asus announced last month is now up for preorder from online retailers in the States. The $179 Asus Chromebox-M004U, which is the Taiwan-based <strong>company’s first stab at a Chrome OS-based desktop</strong>, is one of three SKUs announced by the company.</p> <p>Available for preorder from <a href="" target="_blank">Amazon</a>, <a href=";Tpk=83-220-572" target="_blank">NewEgg</a> and TigerDriect, this particular SKU packs an Intel Celeron 2955U processor, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 16GB solid state storage, four USB 3.0 ports, Intel HD Graphics, one HDMI port, one DisplayPort, and 802.11 n dual-band wireless, Bluetooth 4.0,&nbsp; LAN connectivity, and an SD card reader.</p> <p>Asus, which has yet to launch a Chromebook, has become only the second vendor to launch a Chromebox, with Samsung being the only other company in the fray. However, the two companies will soon have some more company, as Hewlett-Packard has also announced plans to launch a Core i7-powered Chromebox sometime during spring 2014.</p> <p><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 21px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">Follow Pulkit on&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" href="">Google+</a></em></p> Asus Chromebox-M004U chrome os chromebox Hardware hp samsung News Sun, 09 Mar 2014 19:57:23 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27405 at Can You Survive on a Chromebook Alone? <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u154280/c720_0.png" width="300" height="225" style="float: right;" /></p> <h3>We use nothing but Google's lightweight OS for a week</h3> <p>When Google announced <a title="chrome os" href="" target="_blank">Chrome OS</a>, many people scoffed at the viability of a browser-based OS. Currently, however, <strong><a title="chromebook" href="" target="_blank">Chromebooks</a></strong> are among the most popular inexpensive computing devices today. The search giant has done a great job of making an OS that is light enough to function on entry-level Atom-based SOCs and even low-powered ARM silicon. With the launch of many new Chromebooks (click hear to find out which one we think is the&nbsp;<a style="font-weight: bold;" title="Best Chromebook" href="" target="_blank">best chromebook</a>)&nbsp;we wanted to see if a person could survive with a Chromebook playing games, videos, word processing and more for an entire week. Read on to see how the OS fared against Windows in our seven-day challenge.</p> <p><strong>Methodology</strong></p> <p>The premise of our test was simple, use nothing but a Chromebook for seven days straight. We weren’t allowed to touch a PC during that period, so we left our Windows rig sitting around collecting dust. Below you will find different sections about our experiences with our Chromebook. In addition, we fill you in on whether a person can use one as their primary computer.</p> <p>We should mention the only other Internet capable device we were allowed to use during our testing period was a smartphone. We did, after all, have to make the occasional phone call/text every now and then.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/c720.png" alt="Acer C720" title="Acer C720" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Acer C720 Chromebook</strong></p> <p><strong>The Hardware:</strong></p> <p>We grabbed <strong>Acer’s C720</strong>, as it’s arguably the best Chromebook for the money, providing us with a dual-core Intel Haswell processor, 16GB SSD, and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. We thought about using <a title="google pixel" href="" target="_blank">Google’s Pixel</a>, but it’s super expensive at $1,300. The C720 comes very close to the Pixel in performance, and its way cheaper at $250. Not to mention its 0.7lbs lighter than the Pixel as well.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/chrome_os_desktop.png" alt="Chrome OS" title="Chrome OS" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Chrome OS' desktop interface</strong></p> <p><strong>Performance:</strong></p> <p>Using a Chromebook we found some distinct performance advantages and disadvantages. First off, Chrome OS is insanely fast at booting up, taking about 2 seconds to get to the desktop, and we saw the device get us to the Internet in just seconds. In case you've been living under a rock and don't know how Chrome OS operates, it is an operating system that is tied to the cloud. This means that in order to properly take advantage of its features, you must be connected online.&nbsp;</p> <p>The battery life was excellent on the C720, as we got around eight and a half hours run time while producing documents and surfing the web. The C720 was highly portable since it weighs just 2.7 pounds and has a thin profile of 0.7 inches. We also liked its small sleek form factor, as it easily fit into our bag. With its small size also comes a small keyboard, however, and we found ourselves missing our full-size keyboard with its 10-key number pad. We did like the C720’s multi-touch track pad, as the multi-touch gestures were very responsive, but it’s a bit too small for large fingers. These hardware peripherals will vary from Chromebook to Chromebook, however, so the aforementioned statements are not relevant to all Chromebooks.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/capture1.png" width="600" height="315" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>A familiar face</strong></p> <p><strong>Browsing the Internet:</strong></p> <p>Our Chromebook browsed the web quickly and efficiently. It handled multiple tabs very well and we didn’t see any slowdown in performance when we had 10 or more tabs open. We did, however, run into an issue with Newegg as some of its links didn’t work properly on our Chromebook. We tried looking at customer reviews on the e-tailer’s website and couldn’t get them to load on our Chromebook no matter what we did. We tried shutting down the unit and restarting it, restoring it to factory settings [A.K.A. powerwashing], and disabling our Chrome add-ons and nothing worked. The biggest weakness of Chrome OS is that not everything supports Chrome, so unlike Windows, you can’t just switch browsers if a website isn’t loading properly.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/creating_documents.png" alt="Google Docs" title="Google Docs" width="600" height="337" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Google's Word Processing Application: Google Drive</strong></p> <p><strong>Producing Documents:</strong></p> <p>Google Drive was how we created documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. We liked using the cloud-based suite, but it’s not as fleshed out as Microsoft Office. There’s simply more functionality in Word and PowerPoint, as they offer more customization than Google Docs. We found there to be more transitions in PowerPoint along with more options to customize our slides than on Google Slides. If you just need basic presentations, documents, and spreadsheets, however, Google Drive can do most of what Microsoft’s Office can do for free.&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the biggest advantages Google Drive has over Microsoft Office is its sharing function and we liked how we could easily share our documents with the service. Another strong feature of document sharing in Google Docs is that multiple people can edit the same document at the same time. As noted by one of our readers, Hellabrad, you can also edit and share documents with other Office users with Microsoft's free web client. Finally, Google Docs is constantly and conveniently AutoSaving, which is something the desktop version of Word doesn’t do. By default, the Microsoft Word desktop application AutoSaves every 10 minutes, and this setting can be changed to AutoSave every minute (Hellabrad).&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Click the next page to read about gaming, picture-editing and more with a Chromebook.</em></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/watching_videos.png" alt="Watching Videos" title="Watching Videos" width="600" height="337" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Streaming Amazon Instant Prime on a Chromebook</strong></p> <p><strong>Watching Videos:</strong></p> <p>Chrome OS has Adobe Flash Player baked right into its browser, so we found there to be no problems with watching movies and TV shows on Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. The picture quality was a clear 720p on our 11-inch display, which didn’t look that bad because the pixel density was fairly high on our relatively small screen.</p> <p><strong>Anti-Virus:</strong></p> <p>There are no third-party AV programs on Chrome OS you can download at the moment. We see this as a problem because we would love to see Norton, Kaspersky, Trend Micro, and other AV developers making Chrome apps to help protect the OS. AV suites may come along if the OS gains further adoption, but for now you’re only protected by Google.</p> <p>The search giant claims that you’ll never get a virus on its Chrome OS, but Apple said the same thing a few years ago with OSX and that didn’t turn out to be the case. As a matter of fact, the past few years Apple users have seen many viruses invade their laptops and all-in-ones like never before. We suspect that ChromeOS won’t be immune to these problems either.</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/photo_editing.png" alt="Pixlr Photo Editor" title="Pixlr Photo Editor" width="600" /></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Editing photos using Pixlr on a Chromebook</strong></p> <p><strong>Editing Photos/Videos:</strong></p> <p>We initially thought that we could use Adobe’s Creative Cloud on our Chromebook, but we were wrong, as Chrome OS does not support the online suite. If you need Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, you’ll need a Windows PC to use these multimedia-editing apps.&nbsp;</p> <p>The built-in photo editor in Chrome OS is very limited, but luckily there’s a free Chrome app called <a title="pixlr" href="" target="_blank">Pixlr</a> that can satisfy your photo editing needs in a pinch. Pixlr gives you a variety of tools including an eraser, smudge tool, selection tool, stamp tool, along with a paint bucket tool and red eye reduction. Pixlr also lets you adjust your image’s size and create layers for those who like to stack effects when editing their photos. It’s not a Photoshop replacement, but at least you can lightly touch up photos.</p> <p>From what we know there’s no way to edit videos on a Chromebook (other than the simple <a title="youtube video editor" href="" target="_blank">Youtube video editor</a>, that is), so again you’ll need a good old X86 PC to this task. If Adobe did start supporting Chromebooks we could see them as cheap multimedia machines, but until that time comes, Chrome OS users are limited to editing photos.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/gaming_cos.png" alt="Gaming in Chrome OS" title="Gaming in Chrome OS" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Playing Bastion on a Chromebook</strong></p> <p><strong>Playing Games:</strong></p> <p>As mentioned before Chrome OS supports Adobe Flash, meaning that Flash games can be played on the OS. <a title="armor games" href="" target="_blank">Armor Games</a>, a website that provides tons of free flash games, ran well, but we did see a few hiccups in our frame rate from time to time after a few minutes.&nbsp;</p> <p>There are a few indie titles that are available on Chrome OS, including Bastion and Flow. Bastion was a performance hog and pushed our tiny Chromebook to its limits, as the unit’s fan was blaring right when we started up the game. Flow on the other hand ran well and didn’t bring our Chromebook to its knees like Bastion did.&nbsp;</p> <p>We did miss Steam and Origin too (only because of BF4, naturally) and we found Chrome OS doesn’t have any compelling flash titles to keep PC gamers satisfied. We find flash games fun 5-10 minute coffee break games, but they don’t quench our hardcore-gaming thirst.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/content_management.png" alt="Content Management" title="Content Management" width="600" /></p> <p><strong>Managing Content:</strong></p> <p>We didn’t like Chrome OS because of the lack of content management it provides. There are no folders for Music, Documents, or Pictures like in Windows. All of your files are automatically put in your download folder, and they are all grouped from most current to least current. We thought it was odd we couldn’t put any of files these files onto our desktop. Not to mention, all this glorious content is stored on a “massive” 16GB SSD. It’s not all bad as you can at least natively zip and unzip files in the OS with right-click, which is a two finger tap in Chrome OS.&nbsp;</p> <p>We thought it was strange that we couldn’t upload our music to Google Music using our Chromebook. Chrome OS doesn’t support this, and that’s just weird because you would think Google would support its own ecosystem. Simply put, there’s a huge lack of content management features and it’s something Google definitely needs to change if it seeks to get more market penetration within the laptop scene.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion:</strong></p> <p>While the Chromebook is very fast and functional, it lacks power-user apps like Photoshop, or triple-A gaming titles. We see the device great for college students looking to get a computing device that they can get 8-9 hours out of while taking notes and browsing the web. Chrome OS can also stream the major video services, as we watched Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu, and Netflix with no problems. You’re ultimately getting a document, web browsing, and streaming machine.&nbsp;</p> <p>There have been more hybrid Windows 8.1 devices sporting X86 Intel Atom processors with fast 32GB or 64GB SSDs. These inexpensive Windows machines should challenge Chromebooks in the upcoming months and will make Chrome OS devices harder and harder to sell. We’ve already seen some tablet-laptops that are $350-$400 like the ASUS T100, which gives users Windows 8.1 in a portable form factor with a battery life that is comparable to the C720. We’d personally stick with an X86 Windows PC because it does a lot more than Chrome OS, giving us access to a never-ending abundance of apps and tools that Google’s browser OS just can’t rival at the moment.</p> <p>Follow Chris on&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Google</a>+&nbsp;or&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a></p> Acer C720 chrome os chromebook cloud Gmail Google google docs google drive Hardware laptop netbook notebook online word processing Editor Blogs Mon, 24 Feb 2014 22:45:11 +0000 Chris Zele 27081 at