Earlier today, Google officially announced its latest Chromebook -- the affordable Pixelbook Go. While it is designed for portability, it can double as a makeshift desktop by connecting a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Since the Pixelbook Go only has USB-C ports, and one of them will be needed for video out and the other for power, this means you will pretty much need a wireless keyboard and mouse for a proper desktop experience.
Today, Logitech launches its first-ever "Made for Google" accessories -- the K580 wireless keyboard and M355 wireless mouse. Both of these products are designed for Chrome OS, but they should work with other operating systems too, such as Windows 10 and macOS. The K580 keyboard also has a cradle at the top to hold a smartphone -- you can then then switch between Chrome OS and your phone by pressing a button.
Happy Google Day, dear BetaNews readers! Yes, today in New York City, the search giant unveiled a bunch of new devices at its Made by Google event. Yours truly is in attendance, getting up close and personal with all the new stuff. True, much of the information leaked to the web beforehand, but it is still exciting nonetheless. There's a new Chromebook Go laptop, Nest Mini, and even a new Nest Wifi mesh system. Let's be honest, though -- the star of the show is the newest Pixel Android phone.
As expected, Google announced the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL. The phones are largely the same except for differences in OLED screen size -- 5.7-inch vs 6.3-inch. The smaller phones gets a 2800 mAh battery, while the XL variant has a 3700 mAh battery. They both are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB of RAM. Sadly, Wi-Fi is limited to 802.11ac and not the faster 802.11ax. There is no next-generation 5G cellular modem either.
Does your laptop have USB-A ports? Gross! Don't you know no one uses them anymore? Everyone uses USB-C now. I am, of course, being facetious -- USB-C, while great, still has a long way to go before dethroning the ubiquitous Type A. With that said, there are computers that are USB-C only, such as Apple's MacBook Pro. Owners of those computers have to get dongles to use their USB-A devices.
Tomorrow, however, Google is making it possible to ditch the dongle when using a Titan security key. You see, the search giant is launching a USB-C variant of the two-factor authentication device. Not only will it be more convenient for those with USB-C laptops, but this new model looks nicer too (it's pretty).
If you are a fan of arcade-style fighting games such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or The King of Fighters, you know that modern game controllers are quite deficient when playing them. Yes, you can get by with a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller, but the d-pad and face buttons just aren't ideal. Fans of this genre prefer controllers such as the one that came with the Sega Saturn -- six face buttons and a proper d-pad. I fondly remember buying the ASCII Pad FT for Dreamcast to truly enjoy the great library of fighters.
Now, Razer is delivering a proper fightpad for both the PlayStation 4 and PC. Called "Raion," it features six face buttons -- four of which are labeled with PS4 shapes, such as circle and triangle. I rather like that it is wired too, as nothing is worse for a gamer than running out of battery power in the middle of playing a game.
Well, folks... they did it. The people over at System76 finally achieved one of their dreams -- selling laptops with open source firmware! This is quite an impressive feat.
System76 has long been a proponent of both Linux and open source, and over the years, it never deviated from that. And now, two of its laptops will come with open source firmware based on Coreboot. Thrilling stuff, eh? Also exciting, however, is both computers can be be configured with some excellent specifications too, such as 10th gen Intel Core processors, up to 32GB RAM, and Thunderbolt 3.
It can sometimes feel like technology is focused on the superficial, but there are constant technological advances that are improving lives too -- especially those with handicaps. For instance, a person unable to speak can be given a voice thanks to text to speech software, and a paralyzed person unable to walk can gain mobility by using an exoskeleton. Microsoft once helped a woman with Parkinson's Disease write again.
Today, Google is potentially improving the lives of people that are blind or have other visual impairments. You see, the Google Maps smartphone app for iOS and Android can now provide enhanced voice guidance for those with diminished or nonexistent sight. The search giant included one of its own employees -- a visually impaired business analyst named Wakana Sugiyama -- in the testing of the new feature.
TP-Link brings Wi-Fi 6 to the masses with affordable Archer AX3000 and AX1500 802.11ax wireless routers
While 802.11ax (also known as Wi-Fi 6) is the future of wireless internet, it is currently too expensive for the typical home user. It just doesn’t make sense for many consumers to spend hundreds of dollars on a router, especially when there aren’t yet many devices that can take advantage of Wi-Fi 6.
Well, TP-Link is changing all that by bringing two new affordable Wi-Fi 6 routers to the market. These are priced shockingly low, starting at under $70. No, that is not a typo -- 802.11ax for less than 70 clams! This changes everything.
The Apple Store is selling Microsoft hardware. Let me repeat. The Apple Store is selling Microsoft hardware! It's crazy, but true. Starting today, you can buy the Xbox One controller from Apple's online store. The world has seemingly gone mad these days, as this news follows Microsoft's announcement that it will use the Linux-based Android for its upcoming smartphone -- the Surface Duo.
Why would an Apple user want such a thing? It is quite simple -- the Bluetooth Xbox One controller is compatible with Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. With Apple Arcade now available to all, it makes sense for Apple to offer up such a wonderful controller to its customers.
I'm not a rich man, but I appreciate the finer things in life. For instance, going on cruises is one of my favorite things -- I love to be treated like an important person by the ship's staff for a week or so. I can feel unremarkable for the rest of the year.
Speaking of traveling by sea, Virgin Voyages is a new cruise line from British billionaire Sir Richard Branson. So far, he only has a single ship, but he will undoubtedly expand that if it proves popular. Today, Virgin Voyages announces a fancy feature for those that book travel on its ship -- you can order champagne by shaking your smartphone!
I fondly remember building my first-ever 64-bit computer with an AMD 3200+ processor. While it seems like only yesterday, the reality is, that was more than 15 years ago! Yes, 64-bit consumer chips have been around that long, showing how asinine it is for operating systems to still support outdated 32-bit hardware in 2019. Shockingly, Microsoft has 32-bit Windows 10, while countless Linux distributions support the antiquated hardware too. Sigh.
Thankfully, the good folks that develop the excellent Fedora Linux distribution have finally had enough. Beginning with the upcoming version 31 of the operating system, i686 32-bit processor support is being dropped by the Fedora Project. While it absolutely is the correct decision, there will undoubtedly be whining from some vocal crybabies in the Linux community. After all, for some Linux users, the act of complaining seems to be a popular pastime.
Halloween used to be a day for children to collect candy and dress up in costumes, but lately, it seems like adults have hijacked the holiday. More and more grownups are dressing up in costumes -- a trend that is probably due in part to the popularization of nerd culture and events like Comic-Con. Hell, people are even dressing up their pets these days -- something I am guilty of. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with wearing a costume and having fun, it is just an interesting change culturally.
This year Google is sharing the top Halloween costumes based on search. Personally, I like when Google provides information like this, because the true value in collecting data is being able to tell stories with it. With the search giant slurping up so much data, it would be tragic if it didn't conduct analysis.
Chromebooks used to be glorified web browsers running atop the Linux kernel, but these days, they are far more useful. If you need more than just web apps, you can now run Android apps and traditional desktop Linux programs on Chrome OS. Best of all, you can run them all side by side, making it all feel like a cohesive experience -- it doesn't feel like you are using a mixture of software intended for different platforms.
Today, Samsung launches its latest Chrome OS laptops -- the 11.6-inch Chromebook 4 and 15.6-inch Chromebook 4+. The former weighs just 2.6 pounds, while the latter is a heftier 3.75 pounds. Both laptops are powered by the same Intel Celeron N4000 CPU, and you can choose between 4GB and 6GB of RAM. Strangely, there is no option for 8GB of memory. Storage options are 32GB or 64GB, and sadly, regardless of capacity, you will get a sluggish eMMC drive. Both machines have USB-C and micro SD readers, which is cool, but the Wi-Fi is only 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) -- not the newer 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6).
Unless you are a gamer or enthusiast, owning a desktop computer these days is sort of, well... stupid. Look, even if you do most of your computing at a desk, you should still buy a laptop. Why? Think about it -- a desktop keeps you tethered to one place, while a notebook is portable. Thanks to Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, you can use your laptop as a makeshift desktop by using a docking station. In other words, you can connect your notebook to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, web cam, external hard dive -- pretty much anything you need. The dock will charge and power your computer too. A traditional desktop is very limiting.
One such docking station that piqued my interest recently is a Thunderbolt 3 model by StarTech.com. Called "TB3CDK2DP," it has a very unique feature -- it is compatible with USB-C laptops that are lacking TB3. In other words, if you have a Thunderbolt 3 laptop, this dock will work in full TB3 mode. If you have another computer that only has a regular USB-C, however, it will function in a USB mode. This essentially gives you the best of both worlds. I have been testing this docking station extensively with a MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3, as well as a Windows 10 laptop and Chromebook that only have USB-C and not TB3. Unfortunately, I do not have a Windows machine with Thunderbolt 3.
Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled several new devices, such as Surface Pro 7, Surface Laptop 3, Surface Neo, and Surface Duo. What has many consumers excited, however, is the Surface Pro X. This new 13-inch tablet is designed to compete with the iPad Pro. Despite being powered by an ARM Processor, Surface Pro X can run legacy Windows software, making it very attractive to those that rely on Windows but want a svelte device with long battery life.
Like other Surface Pro devices, the X can double as a laptop with a keyboard attachment -- sold separately of course. They keyboard is quite cool, as it has a dedicated place to store the optional Surface Slim pen; the stylus wirelessly charges while stowed away too.
Microsoft courageously omits headphone jack from Surface Pro X, but don’t worry -- there’s a dongle for that
Apple was one of the first companies to show true courage (yes, I’m being facetious) by removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from some of its devices. And now, Microsoft is following the iPhone-maker’s lead.
Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled several upcoming Surface devices, but one of them in particular was surprisingly lacking a headphone jack -- the Surface Pro X. This is a tablet/laptop combo powered by an ARM processor.