The keyboard on my beloved Asus C206 died recently. I gave it life support, but it didn’t last long. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been using my Windows 10 laptop, and I like it. I use it regularly for tasks Chrome OS can’t do -- some programs just require Windows.
Now I’ve received a new Chromebook (new to me that is), the Lenovo 100E, and have been using it a little while. Let me tell you what I think of this iteration. Obviously, this is my opinion, yours may vary.
Google announced the pausing of upcoming Chrome and Chrome OS releases earlier this month and revealed that it would focus development on security updates for the time being.
Today, the company released an update in which it confirmed that it has resumed releases with an adjusted schedule.
The impact of the coronavirus is being felt around the world in many ways. The pandemic is forcing people to work from home, impacting on deliveries and production in addition to being a health threat to many.
Now Google has announced that updates for both Chrome and Chrome OS are currently on pause. While the company does not say that this is a direct consequence of the spread of COVID-19, it says that the delay comes because of "adjusted work schedules at this time".
Many people publicly deride Chromebooks, but that is largely because of their ignorance. For instance, some will say the computers are nothing more than a "glorified web browser." Actually, Chromebooks run a secure Linux distribution called "Chrome OS." While the operating system does focus heavily on the web, that really isn't a problem nowadays. Since Wi-Fi is ubiquitous these days, doing all of your computing on the web is actually ideal. Who the heck isn't constantly connected to the internet anyway?
But OK, if you have a need for offline computing, that is totally possible too. Not to mention, Chromebooks can now run both Android apps and traditional Linux desktop programs -- there is a huge library of useful software just waiting to be installed.
The end of support for Chrome apps has been a long time coming -- Google announced more than two years ago that it was going to start winding things down.
The Chrome Web Store has already been stripped of the App section on Windows, macOS and Linux, and now Google has announced that it is to be pulled from Chrome OS too. The company has also revealed the dates on which support will be dropped completely for all platforms.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is the elegant and powerful Chrome OS laptop the world has been waiting for
Google's Chrome OS has revolutionized desktop computing by stripping away the nonsense and allowing the user to focus on the task at hand. There is no clunky update system like Windows, nor is there the need for anti-malware software. Chromebooks just work, and they are very secure too. Best of all, they are often super affordable -- unlike Apple's overpriced MacBooks. While many folks can get by with web apps, the operating system also runs both Android apps and traditional desktop programs. If you haven't tried a Chromebook in a while, you will be surprised by just how great they are these days.
Today, Samsung announces a new premium Chrome OS convertible laptop that oozes elegance. The Galaxy Chromebook, as it is called, is just 9.9mm thin and features an aluminum chassis in either Fiesta Red or Mercury Gray colors. It has a built-in active stylus, 4K AMOLED display, and is powered by an Intel Core processor. It can even be configured with up to 16GB of RAM! It has the latest-and-greatest Wi-Fi 6 for connectivity plus two USB-C ports too. It even has a fingerprint reader -- a rarity for Chrome OS devices.
The stable build of Chrome OS 78 is now rolling out to Chromebook and other compatible devices. A notable addition with this update is the arrival of virtual desktops, something Google has been testing in preview builds for a little while now.
Just as with Windows and macOS, the virtual desktop feature of ChromeOS gives users access to a number of workspaces that can be used to keep different apps and windows separate from each other. But while this is probably the highlight of ChromeOS 78, it is certainly not the only change.
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).
Google is getting out of the tablet-making business, but says that it will continue to produce smartphones and laptops.
The announcement means that Google is ceasing work on two unreleased Pixel tablets, with the company's head of hardware saying: "Google's hardware team will be solely focused on building laptops moving forward". While ditching tablets is not entirely surprising, Google is said to have been working on two new tablets until as recently as this week.
Google has added full USB support for Linux apps in the dev build of Chrome OS 75. The new feature arrived in build 75.0.3759.4 of the operating system and helps to improve the experience of running Linux apps on a Chromebook.
While USB support is not a brand-new feature, anyone who has tried using Linux apps on a Chromebook will be well aware that it has been a bit, well, ropey to say the least. Now this changes.
Acer announced a bunch of new products today, including many Windows machines. While I am sure those computers running Microsoft's desktop operating system are fine, they don't really excite me. Instead, it is Acer's Linux-based Chromebooks that get my engine running. The company has been cranking out great Chrome OS laptops for many years, and they have proven to be a great value for consumers.
Today, Acer unveils a pair of new elegant Chromebooks. Called "714" and "715," the former has a 14-inch display while the latter is 15.6-inch. Both machines have fingerprint readers, aluminum bodies, 12-hour battery life, and can be configured with 8th generation Intel Core processors (Pentium and Celeron models will be available too). The larger 715 has something the 714 doesn't -- a number pad, which apparently is a first for any Chromebook. The 714 has slimmer bezels, however. Best of all, they are both designed to be rugged and withstand abuse.
Chromebooks have fared far better than many people would have first thought when they first appeared on the market, and Google's Chrome OS is going from strength to strength. While not yet ready to topple either Windows or macOS, the operating system continues to gain features that make it increasingly appealing.
One addition that is on the horizon and likely to please many users and potential users alike is virtual desktops. This is something we have heard about before in relation to Chrome OS, but a recent commit to the Chromium Gerrit shows that "virtual desks" are being worked on -- and there's even a video showing off the feature.
Many home consumers don't really need Windows anymore. With so many things being web-based nowadays, it is much wiser to opt for the more secure Linux-based Chrome OS. Not satisfied with only using web-based solutions? Chromebooks can now run Android apps too, giving the user a huge library of quality apps. In addition, Google is currently testing the ability to run traditional Linux programs on Chrome OS. Even though the feature is technically in beta, it works wonderfully -- I have successfully installed and used GIMP, for instance.
Since more and more consumers are choosing Chrome OS, computer manufacturers are increasingly offering quality Chromebooks. In other words, these laptops are no longer just meant to be low cost. With that said, there is no reason a great Chromebook can't be affordable, and today, Acer unveils a beautiful such product. Called "Chromebook 315," the 15.6-inch laptop is powered by AMD's excellent APUs (a combination CPU and GPU). So yes, this is a Chromebook with Radeon graphics! There are three display options from which to choose, with one of them offering touch -- a nice option for Android apps. The top-firing speakers should make it great for consuming media too.
Chrome OS has slowly become one of the most promising operating systems. What began life as a "glorified web browser" has grown to also run Android apps and traditional Linux programs. At the same time, Windows 10 has declined in quality, causing many users to lose faith in Microsoft's operating system. For education in particular, school districts are increasingly turning to Google's Chromebooks rather than devices running Windows 10.
Today, ASUS unveils four new Chrome OS devices for the education market. Three of them (C403, C204, and Flip C214) are laptops, with one of them (the Flip) being a convertible -- meaning it can fold into a tablet. In addition, there is a traditional tablet (CT100). While Chrome OS tablets are fairly unproven, the ability to run Android apps makes them quite useful.
For many consumers, Windows 10 is total overkill. If most (or all) of your tasks are web-based, a Chromebook is probably a much better option. After all, the Linux-based Chrome OS is fast and stable, while also being extremely secure. Why bother with all the malware and lag of Windows if you don’t have to?
Today, a company called Sector 5 launches a new Chromebook model. Called "E3," it has an attractive design, decent specs, plenty of ports, and an affordable asking price. Best of all, it supports both Android apps and traditional Linux desktop programs too.