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Chromebooks: Are They Really a Contender?

By | Chromebook, News

How Do Chromebooks Actually Stack Up Against a MAC or Windows

If you think you’re stuck between choosing a Windows or a MAC for your next major computer purchase, think again, because Chromebooks are in town and they are a very solid contender.

Chromebooks run on the Chrome OS, which is a Linux-based system, and although they are only 7 years old, they’ve come leaps and bounds making them very popular with students. In part, this is because they are lightweight and affordable, meaning that, according to Futuresource Consultings’  latest report,  more than 60% in the US education system are actually Chromebooks

With such a high popularity in schools, it begs the question if Chromebooks are worth it, even if you’re not a student? Could they work for you day-to-day or in business? If you’re considering giving a Chromebook a chance, whether, for their specifications or their price tags, it’s important to know what you’ll get. So, let’s find out if they really are worth it and how strong they compare to their direct competitors.

There’s a Wider Range Than You Realize

Much like a MAC or Windows, there are a variety of Chromebooks available to select from and although they are most known as “Chrome-notebooks” aka Chromebooks, they have desktops and a tablet model too.

Chromebook prices currently average between the $250 and $350 range and their power and features depend on the price—the more you pay, the more you get. For instance, a smaller screen, less RAM, and storage often result in much lower prices, so if you just require basic functionality to access your company emails and word processing resources on the go, this is a very good investment.

But, they aren’t limited to the affordability factor and have well-received options throughout the range like:

Google’s Pixelbook is a hybrid convertible model that can be used as both a notebook or a touchscreen tablet because of their ingenious design: the screen attached with a hinge that can rotate 360 degrees available from $999 that is one of their sturdier devices for business use.

The Samsung 3 Chromebook is the affordable favorite that is easy to carry and lightweight which is the stripped down basic model starting at $169.

Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is the latest (and currently only) tablet available in the Chromebook line for those with a penchant for their tablet device currently starting at $329.

Acer

Although Chromebooks owe their popularity to the student population, Google has also started making models specifically aimed at business professionals. Acer has quickly caught on the popularity of Chromebooks and the latest [email protected] event revealed several such models, like the Chromebook Spin available in 13.5- and 15.6-inch versions. It’s a novelty for them as it’s their first convertible 15.6-inch Chromebook. It’s also neatly located at the very middle of their price range at $449.

Internet Connectivity Turns Every Chromebook Into a Powerhouse

When you buy a Chromebook, you get a number of already available apps, like Gmail, Chrome, Google Calendar, YouTube, Google Docs, and Google Drive which is great for the many users who want to keep all of their services in one place. Plus, all you need to do is log in with your Google credentials and you’re ready to go. The sync process doesn’t take long and you will easily pick up where you left off. Another great thing about Chromebooks is the Google Assistant, formerly only available for mobile and smart home devices. Now, it is available in the newest Chromebook models, like the Pixelbook, which also sports a dedicated Google Assistant keyboard button, perfect for busy business owners.

The other great advantage of this is that Chromebooks are “hop-able” meaning that you can log in with your Chromebook details on any Chromebook device and it will have all of your settings and preferences waiting for you, allowing you to hop from one device to the other because everything is cloud-based.

The most prominent critique of these devices is how dependent they are when it comes to Internet connectivity. Most critics take this Internet dependency as their most prominent flaw—if you don’t have an internet connection, you can’t use them to their fullest. This was once an issue but Google quickly realized that they needed to find a solution, and they delivered. The majority of their apps can be run offline and sync the data while you’re offline too.

Because of the nature of Chromebooks using Cloud storage, it’s important that you get a memory card for your Chromebook to avoid running out of space when you’re working offline.

Most Chromebooks Work with Android Apps

You may be attracted to MAC or Windows because of their range of apps that they run, but Chromebooks are no longer behind as they run Chrome OS-based and Android apps available through the Chrome store.

Although it is true that the first models had a limited number of apps that they could run, this is far from true when it comes to the newer models. Google upped their game and is now offering access to the Google Play Store and Google Play apps. For instance, the Acer Chromebook R series, ASUS Chromebook Flip, as well as Samsung Pro 2-in-1 and Google’s Pixelbook are all models that support Android apps. Just make sure that your Chromebook has the minimum requirements to run them smoothly. This can easily be checked though, as each game states how much performance power you will need.

Another thing to take into consideration is that some games might not be adjusted to play on Chromebooks, so their display might only be available in a vertical position, native to the one used on your phone. It’s best to check with the developer of each game whether they have a native Chromebook version or plan to release it and if your sole reason for buying a Chromebook is game-playing, you may want to reconsider.

Chromebooks Have the Best Update and Security Features

Chromebooks are praised far and wide because of their security features, and many cybersecurity experts call others to follow their lead. The Chrome OS utilizes all the security measures offered by Google, so malware issues are not a big concern. Even pop-ups or additional toolbars can’t sneak past them. Chrome OS is cloud-based, as well as Google apps, so you do not have to worry about checking whether you have the latest version—they all update automatically and just prompt you to restart in case of major updates.

In addition to this, the two-factor authentication makes these systems highly secure. Couple this with making sure that the apps that you download come from familiar and trusted publishers, and you have ensured that you’re as safe as possible.

One of their strongest skills, in addition to security, is their battery life. You can easily use your Chromebook all day without the need to plug it in which is perfect for those that are on the move. Most Chromebooks can easily work on battery for more than 9 hours. The Laptop Mag Battery Test revealed that the average battery life of Chromebooks with Wi-Fi web surfing is about 9 hours and 15 minutes, which is superior to most other notebooks out there.

Are Chromebooks a Good Fit for You?

Even though Chromebooks are most popular among students and educators, they have come a long way and have become perfect solutions in other areas as well. Their appeal is growing each day, especially with those who require a smaller device for quick or regular business tasks.

Even with a small budget under $200, you can afford a Chromebook and while the only people who may not benefit from one are gamers, they seem a good fit for everyone else. Easier access to your Google services and Android apps, with the lightweight accessibility, better security and superior battery life that wins every time.

With bigger budgets come better features and functionalities so ultimately there’s a Chromebook for pretty much anyone.

tablet

A Look at the First Chromebook Tablet: The Acer Chromebook Tab 10

By | Chromebook, News

An Educator’s Dream Come True

As one of the most well-known Chromebook brands, Acer announced the first ever Chromebook tablet back in March 2018 in the hopes of adding a “novelty” to their line. The Chromebook (that is not really a Chromebook) is a tablet running the Chrome OS and has been out since May.

This specific model is aimed towards the educational sector, which isn’t as surprising when you look at the success Chromebooks enjoy in the classrooms around the world. Still, iOS has remained a strong competitor in this sector, primarily because of the portability making them the top choice. But, not anymore because the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is here as a real contender and even though there were several earlier installments of convertible Chromebooks and 2-in-1 models, this is the first ever tablet becoming a direct competitor to iOS devices now.

Classroom Oriented

Because the Chromebook Tab 10 is specifically aimed at educators and students, it is no wonder that Acer focused on tweaking software to be aimed specifically at classrooms. For instance, the form factor is improved when compared to other Chromebooks. It even comes equipped with a Wacom stylus, making the drawing and writing experience much easier. In most cases, a stylus has to be purchased separately, but Acer decided it’s an instrumental part that should be included out-of-box.

Specifications

The 9.7-inch display is powered by QXGA tech and features 2048×1536 resolution at 264 PPI. When compared to earlier Chromebooks, the resolution is higher in order to accommodate higher quality viewing and interaction, so students can focus on learning. The display is touch capable and supports the use of all ten fingers in addition to using the abovementioned Wacom EMR stylus.

When it comes to other specifications, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 stands right next to premium Chromebooks. With 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, it can easily handle all the operations that students and teachers require and seamlessly run multiple apps at the same time.

The processor that’s used in this particular model is the OP1, which has six cores and stands shoulder to shoulder with the RK3399 Rockchip, sans branding. This processor has become known as the Chromebook processor, mostly because they are fine-tuned to enhance the Chrome OS experience, which contributes to their high performance.

Design and Connectivity

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 was designed to be lightweight and slim, which makes it easy to carry around and a very good choice for the classroom. It weighs only 550 grams/1.21 pounds and measures 172 x 238 x 9.9 mm (6.78 inches in width, 9.38 inches in depth, and 0.39 inches in height). The bezels around the screen are a bit prominent, but nothing that would be considered a deal breaker.

The back of the tablet is textured, providing much-needed grip and stability, perfect for students and you will find the integrated Wacom stylus in one of the corners, indicated by a small nub. In order to get the stylus, you simply have to pull it out; there are no additional spring mechanisms, which makes it quite robust. Thanks to such attention to detail, the tablet will probably last for quite a while, and will probably be used by more than one generation of student, perfect for meeting the IT budget.

Another thing to mention when it comes to connectivity is the USB port, which is the 3.1 Type C (Gen 1), and is used for transfers, charging, and plugging in an external display. The tablet easily connects to HD displays thanks to the Type C port. Since this is a first-generation port, it supports data transfers up to 5 Gbps, which is a bit lower than second generation type C connectors with their 10 Gbps transfer speed.

A microSD slot is available too, and it’s best to get a memory card immediately, so you don’t have to search for one when you use up most of its internal memory. A 3.5mm jack for headphones is also present.

Connectivity is standard, with the WiFi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.1. battery life is very good, and with standard usage, it lasts about 9 hours with a single charge (with WiFi turned on) so can see you through the school day.

Apps and Usage

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 comes with Google Play integration, which means access to an almost unlimited pool of various apps—from games, to accessibility, all the way to productivity and education. Not only is the tablet compatible with Google Play apps, most of them can also be used offline, which means students can easily work on their assignments while being on the move.

 

Pricing

The price of the tablet is set at $329, placing it in the same price range as an entry-level Apple iPad. Although there’s a more affordable iPad available, there’s one big difference. The lower-priced iPad doesn’t have a stylus, and if you need one, you will be charged an extra $99. This might not seem that much of a deal breaker, but that stylus will need a separate battery and regular charging. With Acer’s Chromebook Tab 10, the stylus, in addition to being integrated and branded by Wacom, doesn’t need charging, so that’s definitely a win for Acer.

If you’re looking for education-focused hardware, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is currently the one to beat and sales have been looking good. This shows going in the direction of the Chrome OS is a great move.

laptop news

Chromebook’s 2018 Forecast

By | Chromebook, News

The Latest Chromebook News For 2018

We are keeping you up to date on the latest Chromebook news for 2018 to make sure you don’t miss a thing and get access to the latest innovations. These are 2018’s hottest news stories about the Chromebook including exciting developments expected.

Google Assistant Is Coming To All Chromebooks

Google Assistant, the company’s answer to Siri and Alexa, has so far been exclusive to their own high-end Pixelbook. However, eagle-eyed code experts have recently noticed an interesting development.

Developers reviewing the newest iteration of the ChromeOS build spotted an option for any manufacturer to enable Google Assistant. It is set to ‘off’ by default, but in the future, it will be up to manufacturers to decide how Google Assistant will integrate with their machines and the method of activation. This is likely to be either a keyboard shortcut, dedicated button, or by the Chromebook listening for specific keywords.

It’s certainly encouraging that the technology premiered on Google’s flagship Pixelbook is set to make its way to the entire Chromebook family. With the popularity of competitive assistant services continuing to grow, it’s an exciting decision from Google.

Source: Engadget

Dell’s $300 Chromebook Packed With High-End Features

Chromebooks in the $300 bracket are usually great for everyday tasks but lack the premium attributes found in more expensive machines. Dell is set to shake things up, with a feature-packed Chromebook coming in under $300.

Amongst the features expected in the new 5000-series Chromebooks are:

  • Touchscreens
  • Full conversion from laptop to tablet
  • Stylus support
  • A Micro SD slot
  • USB-C charging and data transfer
  • And a USB-A port.

Instead of dual-core processors that are common in less expensive Chromebooks, Dell has opted for quad-core Intel Celeron processors; providing lightning-fast speed usually reserved for upper-tier machines.

One of the most innovative features of the 5000-series Chromebooks is its chassis. Dell has designed a reinforced casing that can withstand a drop of up to 48 inches, or 30 inches onto steel. It’s a quality we didn’t know we needed, but it’s certainly useful. Even the most accident-prone Chromebook users will be confident in the safety of their machine!

Source: BGR

Microsoft Office Apps for Android Now Available on Chromebook

Has loyalty to Microsoft Office put you off buying a Chromebook? You’re not alone! A lack of compatibility with the popular suite has been a stumbling block for many since the Chromebook’s introduction.

However, the tides have turned, and some Chromebooks will now have the ability to utilize Microsoft Office apps for Android. Newer machines have the ability to download and run Android apps from Google Play store, which opens up the Chromebook to a wealth of new opportunities. Office apps can be used for free with a Microsoft account (which is also free), although people using a machine with a screen larger than 10 inches will need to purchase an Office 365 subscription.

If you are using an older Chromebook without the capability to run apps from the Google Play store, there’s still a way to access, edit, and create new Office documents. Simply head over to the browser-based Office Online for scaled-back yet useful functionality.

Source: NY Times

HP Releasing Two New Chromebook Models to release two new Chromebook models

There hasn’t been a great deal of Chromebook news from HP recently, but the wait is finally over! The company has just announced two new models for the education market; the Chromebook 11 G6 EE and Chromebook 14 G5, coming in at 11.6” and 14” respectively.

The 11 G6 EE is aimed at younger users, with its fun orange accents and rugged, reinforced chassis. Older students and educators are the focus of the 14 G5, which has an elegant grey color scheme and backlit keyboard. Both models boast Intel Celeron Apollo Lake processors with Intel HD Graphics 500, optional touchscreens, 180˚ fold-flat hinges, up to 8GB RAM, and eMMC storage up to 64GB.

Source: Engaged

Are Split Screen Android Apps Coming To Chromebook?

While this hasn’t been officially announced, users playing around with the Canary version of ChromeOS have been able to successfully demonstrate the Android split screen feature using the Dev Channel for version 64 in a feature called “Split View in Tablet Mode”. Although it’s unlikely to be an official feature until ChromeOS 65 or even 66, it’s encouraging to see an innovative Android capability becoming native to the Chromebook.

Source: Digital Trends

It’s an exciting time for Chromebooks innovation and the latest news show some of the integrations and new options we can expect to see in the near future! Now, where are our hoverboards?!?

Cyber Monday Deals on ASUS and Acer Chromebooks

By | News | No Comments

Hello again, friends. Amazon.com has posted its Cyber Monday deals. I found three Chromebooks hiding in the listings.

ASUS C201 11.6 Inch Chromebook (Rockchip, 4 GB, 16GB SSD) for less than $220 is looking good in the Lotus Gold/Red color scheme.

$70 off Acer Chromebook 14, (Aluminum, 14-inch Full HD, Intel Celeron Quad-Core N3160, 4GB 32GB).

Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ 11.6-Inch Laptop (Intel Celeron N2840 Dual-Core Processor,2 GB RAM,16 GB Solid State Drive) is now WAY under $200. Take note, this one is a 2GB model, which might not be enough memory for work usage, but it’s perfect for a kid.

Shop all the computers and accessories deals on amazon.

10 Chromebook Sources You Must Know

By | News | 4 Comments

There are ten Chromebook sources that are must-reads if you’re even a little bit interested in the Chromebook and cloud computing. These sources range from news and commentary to the best tools and how-tos.

These top bloggers and influencers have been dedicated Chrome fans for a long time. Way before Chromebooks were getting a lot of media attention.Their contributions help form and shape the Chromebook community. Here they are:

Joe Sneddon

WebsiteGoogle Plus, Twitter

Top Chrome OS blog

Joe Sneddon is the author of both OMG! Chrome and OMG! Ubuntu. You can count on OMG! Chrome to let you know about news and updates that affect you as a Chrome OS user. You can also find out about interesting and useful extensions.

Chrome Story

WebsiteGoogle Plus, Twitter
Top Chromebook SourcesChrome Story is one of the longest-lived Chrome OS blogs. Dinsan Francis started this blog, and now it has several contributors, including James Welbes and Brent Sullivan. You can expect news, reviews, features, help articles, tutorials and much more.

James Welbes

WebsiteGoogle Plus

chromebookguideJames Welbes is a busy guy. Not only does he maintain Chromebook.Guide and WhichChromebookShouldIBuy.com. He also writes for Chrome Story and is very active in the Chromebook online communities. He’s a moderator of Chromebooks on G+ and a key contributor to the Chromebook Central Help Forum. The guide to printing from Chromebook is where I send people who are having trouble getting set up.

Kevin Wendland

WebsiteGoogle Plus, Twitter
chromebookchallengeThis blog started with a Chromebook Challenge in the first half of 2015. Since then, Kevin Wendland has become a leading voice in education technology and an advocate for Chromebook-based solutions. The articles on Chromebook Challenge provide information to help others Making the SwitchYou can also follow Kevin’s Twitter account for daily news.

9to5Google

YouTube, Twitter
9to5GoogleSeth Weintraub and other contributors over at 9to5Google covers all things Google. They have a dedicated category for Chrome OS that gets a news article about once a week. The news is weighted toward Chrome OS and not the hardware. You are more likely to see news stories about changes to the OS than about new Chromebook models.

Chrome Unboxed

WebsiteGoogle Plus, Twitter
Chrome Unboxed is operated by Robby Payne, with Gabriel Brangers contributing. This blog is updated every few days. The articles are hardware focused, so go here to learn about the latest Chrome device models. I found Chrome Unboxed through its YouTube channel that has unboxings, Chromebook video reviews and how-to’s.

Google Chromium Open Source Project

 WebsiteGoogle PlusTwitter
chromiumblogThe official blog of the Google Chromium open source project is the place for developers to get their Chrome OS news. It provides in-depth, technical information about new releases. It’s updated maybe once a month, so it’s a good candidate to subscribe to the RSS feed. You can get more frequent information from the Twitter account.

Android Central

Twitter
androidcentralAndroid Central has a deep bench of writers to crank out lots of current events and “best of” articles. Friends often send me news from their Chrome OS category page.

Jeff Nelson

Twitter

jeffnelsonThe inventor of Chromebook has stayed involved with the technology after leaving Google. I follow Jeff’s Twitter account to see what he’s thinking.

Chromebook Communities on G+

Two G+ Chromebook Communities stand out as the places to be.

Chromebooks on Google+
ChromebooksgroupThis community was founded by Dinsan Francis and is currently lead by Brent Sullivan, James Welbes, Ken Yeh, and Chris Cox. Join this community, and you’ll see people sharing their experiences, posting interesting announcements, and current deals on Chrome devices.

 

Chromebook EDU on Google+

ChromebookEDUEducators using Google technologies connect in this community to share announcements and what’s working or not working. It’s a nice community where members give and receive help.

What are your favorite Chrome OS sources? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Do you need antivirus for Chromebook?

By | How-To, News | 8 Comments

Have you ever gotten a computer virus or known someone who has? If so, you know how annoying and time consuming it is to deal with. If you’re considering making the switch to Chrome OS or if you just picked up your first Chromebook, you may be wondering: Do Chromebooks get viruses?

We’ve been trained by Microsoft to install antivirus software because Windows gets infected. But there are no viruses for Chrome OS, which means you don’t need antivirus for Chromebook, Chromebox or Chromebase. That doesn’t mean nothing bad can happen on Chrome OS, but we’ll get into that later.

Why doesn’t Chrome OS need antivirus?

For Chrome OS, Google decided to design a secure system from the very start.  That means they coded the operating system to protect itself from exploitation.

The most important security feature of Chrome OS is process isolation. Bad actors want to exploit a web page you are visiting, and then jump to access another tab where you have sensitive information for them to plunder. With process isolation, even if they can compromise one tab, they can’t see what else is on your computer.

The biggest online security worries for your personal laptop today are:

  • viruses that steal your information and slow you down,
  • botnet malware that makes your computer a zombie and then slows it down,
  • and ransomeware that kills your files.

Chrome OS doesn’t get viruses, malware or ransomware because it doesn’t let them download or run. If ransomware did exist for Chrome OS, the damage would be minimal anyway. Most of your files will be stored in the cloud where the ransomware wouldn’t be able to touch them.

This 15 minute video goes into more detail about Chrome OS protections and why you don’t need antivirus.

The game has changed – it’s no longer just about viruses

Don’t throw all caution to the wind just yet though. Spam email and phishing emails are still a concern on any computer. If you click on a link from an email and then type in your username and password onto a phishing site, you’ve still given away your password.

The other risk with any browser (not just Chrome) is malicious extensions or plugins. Unscrupulous developers collect and sell information about websites you visit.

Don’t just install Chrome extensions indiscriminately. Check if it’s from a reputable source, and check what permissions the extension requires.

 

Screen Shot of Chrome Extension Permissions

Navigate to chrome://extensions/ in the browser, and click the Permissions link to check your installed extensions.

Be wary of extension that can read all webpages and alter data on the page. If the extension needs rights like that, investigate the developer a little, and read the reviews.

When something looks wrong

OK, that’s all great, but what if something doesn’t look right? What if your Chrome device is slow, or you’re getting weird pop-ups? If that happens, it’s not a virus – it’s probably a malicious extension. James Welbes over at Chromebook Guide has written a great article about what to do.

What you can do to keep your information safe

So your Chrome device isn’t going to get a virus. Still, you should still take precautions against having your account information stolen.

  • If your bank allows it, use Chrome incognito mode when doing online banking. This can help because it disables your extensions by default.
  • Make strong passwords, and use a different password for every site. Here’s some great guidance on how to do that, and some tools to help from Cloudwards: How to Set Up a Strong Password.
  • Never open spam emails, and avoid clicking links in emails.

I’ll leave you with some online safety tips that work on every operating system. The folks at Stay Safe Online have actionable information to protect your computer and your personal information: Keep a Clean Machine and Protect Your Personal Information.

What Google Play Store on Chrome OS Means for You

By | News | 2 Comments

By now you’ve probably heard about Google’s plan to make Android apps available for Chrome OS later this year. As news rolled in from the Google I/O Developers Conference, I saw the announcement and that there were some caveats. I wanted to understand what this is going to mean for us as Chrome device users.

Is now a bad time to get a Chromebook, since not all models are supported? How will the new app store affect how we use our Chrome devices?

I watched the Google presentation to get the information straight from the source. Now, I want to share with you what I learned: how the integration will work, who it affects, and when we can start benefiting from it.

What will the Google Play Store on Chrome OS mean for us?

This change is going to open up a lot of options for us users, and I think it’s going to make Chrome devices more popular. Designers and bloggers will get the benefit of the Photoshop mobile apps, so they don’t have to use Windows or Mac to do quick image edits. Gamers will get access to a bunch of games that have been missing, like Minecraft and Angry Birds. Remote workers get more productivity tools like Microsoft Office and Acrobat PDF Reader.

There’s been speculation that the availability of mobile print drivers will improve the printing process.

I’m interested in the prospect of getting to call an Uber or use other services that have been limited to mobile.  If Instagram works on Chrome, that will be only desktop OS that is supporting it!

Will the Play Store work with my Chromebook?

Based on what I’ve seen, the Android app store should be available for Chromebooks made from late 2014 forward. There’s a list of Chrome devices that Google is planning to support for the feature once it’s widely available. But in June, only Asus 10″ flip, Acer Chromebook R11, and Pixel 2015 will get the Play Store.

I was curious why it’s limited to certain models. I found a reasonable explanation from Joe Ellett in the Google Chromebook Forum:

“The best theory is that models with a kernel of 3.10 or higher will get Android, since container support was introduced in 3.10. Once a model is released, the kernel is not updated. It still gets Chrome OS updates for several years but the kernel stays at the same level. To check your kernel, so chrome://system and look for the line that says uname.”

I checked my Dell Chromebook 11″ 3120, which I got early this year. It shows 3.10.18, and it is listed as a supported model, so I am stoked to be getting access to the Android Apps later this year.

I can now recommend a Chromebook for my Dad’s house. It was a no-go before because they wouldn’t be able to play Minecraft!

When can you get Android Apps?

The earliest adopters can get it on only the three initial models (Asus 10″ flip, Acer Chromebook R11, and Pixel 2015) as early as June 2016. There will be bugs, so it’s not good for your main computer. It’s really intended to give Android app developers a chance to do any updates and test their apps.

The Play Store is slated to go out to the beta channel in August 2016. It’s not clear how many models will be supported at that time. Casual users who like their software finished can get it sometime in fall 2016, hopefully to all the models in the list.

How will the app store integration work? Let’s get technical

I checked out ARC Welder and had limited success getting it to run games. As it turns out, Google found a better way to get Android apps to run on Chrome OS. As James Welbes over at Chromestory also noted, Google is going to use containers, which basically means there will be an instance of Android running in Chrome OS but segregated from it. The segregation is good news because it increases security by isolating potentially malicious Android apps from your Chrome OS instance.

What’s more, app developers don’t have to rewrite their apps for Chrome OS. Google put in a hardware abstraction layer and binary translation from ARM to x86. That takes care of the differences in hardware between mobile devices and desktop ones.

Here’s what else we know about how the integration will work in practice:

  • Apps will keep their offline capabilities that they have as mobile apps.
  • The Android apps will look like desktop apps, complete with resizable windows.
  • The Google Play (Android app) Store and the Chrome Web Store will stay separate. That way, managed Chromebooks in schools and businesses can block access to Android apps.
  • Interestingly, support for the Play Store is not limited to touchscreen Chromebooks. In the Google presentation, they encouraged Android app developers to test their apps with a keyboard and mouse.
  • Not all apps will work though. For mobile apps that require hardware that is not present in Chrome devices (e.g., fine grained GPS for turn-by-turn directions), those apps will not show up in the Play Store for Chrome.

Here is the original presentation video, queued up to the short demo.

Wrap up and future questions

What will Android apps mean for the future of Chrome devices? Will this remove the remaining roadblocks that are causing people to balk about getting one? Which apps will work right away? Will Chromebooks with SIM card slots be able to make phone calls?

I look forward to finding out the answers and sharing them with you. If you know any of the answers or have questions of your own, you can share them below.

This Week’s Chromebook News Roundup

By | News | No Comments

Another week full of interesting Chromebook news, rumors, hands on stories and reviews is behind us. Acer’s hardware announcement this week could signal a stronger showing in Chromebook for the workplace. I also found a couple new articles that will help you get the most out of ChromeOS. I saved the best rumor for last, although it is not confirmed by Google.

Acer Chromebook 14 for Work Heads to the Office in May

PCMag.com

Acer 14 chromebook for workAdoption of Chromebooks in the workplace has been slow. Acer apparently thinks this is because the hardware hasn’t been appealing and are answering the need with this new 14″ Chromebook. There’s a bonus in this news for corporate IT departments. The trend toward mil-spec hardware in Chromebooks is adding value for the workplace because it should reduce downtime due to hardware accidents as well as repair costs. Read the specs at PCMag.


How to use a Chromebook in a more secure and privacy-respecting way

Discours.es

Screenshot from authors ChromeOS desktopIn this piece, Doug Belshaw (@dajbelshaw) discusses some tweaks he’s made to his ChromeOS install. He based the configuration on EFF guidelines and also talks about tools that he uses. I will certainly be trying out the privacy settings myself. See the changes as well as what chat and email services the author uses for better privacy: Discours.es

 

 

 


The Best Chrome Extensions for Google Drive

PCmag.com

Google Drive ExtensionThere are a few productivity gems in this article. There are now extensions that bring much of the functionality of Excel to Google Sheets. Those extensions, by AbleBits are paid, but the rest in this article are free, like the one that lets you play your music directly from Google Drive. This type of article is helpful because I may not realize there is a pain point until I see a solution. Read on at PCmag.com.

 


Google Play Store and “over a million apps” could be headed to ChromeOS

arstechnica.com

Screenshot of fleeting Google Play store dialog in Chrome 51 DevThe hope is that the floodgates to access all Android apps will open following Google I/O developer’s conference in May. Availability of Android apps, beyond those ported with ARC Welder, would explode usability. See the screenshots at ars technica.

 

 

Roundup

That’s all for this week’s roundup. I hope you’ve enjoyed the list and found it to be useful. To get curated news even faster, follow ChromebookHQ on Facebook. I’m also launching the newsletter this week! Here’s the signup form.

Weekly Roundup 5 – Chromebook Articles You Should Read

By | News | One Comment

Another week full of interesting Chromebook news, rumors, hands on stories and reviews is behind us. Here you get the chance to read up on the ones that stood out. Like some highly anticipated Chromebook models, Chrome and Google Apps improvements, and other articles you might have missed this week.

Google Doubles Down on the Bug Bounty Strategy

venturebeat.com

venturebeatThe biggest, splashiest news lately has been how Google has raised its bug bounty to $10k to anyone who “can compromise a Chromebook or Chromebox with device persistence in guest mode.”  Details on Google’s program can be found here. This VentureBeat article has a good amount of detail about the bounty and its conditions.

 

 

Close-up of the New Pixel

Kevin’s article on Medium.com

mediumThe most exciting news this week for Chromebook fans is the announcement of a new Google Chromebook Pixel with improved performance and battery life. In this article, Kevin C. Tofel gives us a close-up of the changes from the previous model. This update seems to be right in line with what Pixel fans have hoped for.

 

Hangouts Accommodates Larger Groups

Google Apps Update Blog

Google Apps UpdatesA little heralded but very interesting update has happened for Hangouts: the video call participant limit has been raised from 10 to 15. For small and medium size groups who rely on free Hangouts, this could make a difference.

And the news we’ve all been waiting for…

pcworld.com

ctl j5OK maybe it’s just me that’s been excited for this news since we first got wind of it from CES 2016…the CTL J5 rugged Chromebook is available for pre-order. This new model is exciting because it’s durable, like the Dell 11″. But this one also flips around to simulate a tablet. With 4GB of RAM standard and a 10-hour battery life, this one is going to give Dell a run for their money.

 

Roundup

That’s all for this week’s roundup. I hope you’ve enjoyed the list and found it to be useful.

Quick reminder that you too can be part of what goes into this list every week. Simply G+ or tweet the article you’d like to see listed together with the hashtag #chromebookgeek and I’ll add it to the list of possibles. Thanks for your contribution, I really appreciate it!

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Till next time, Kain.