A key piece of software that has been missing from Chromebooks is now available to everyone -- Microsoft Office. Microsoft has made its office suite available for a range of platforms over the years, but Chromebook support has been notable by its absence. Now, without announcement from the company, this changes.
It's great news for anyone who has been put off by the idea of using a Chromebook because they couldn't use their favorite software. The arrival of Office is partly thanks to the appearance of the Play Store on Chromebooks.
Fact -- Chromebooks are much better than Windows 10 PCs. Well, for some people, at least. I'll concede that some consumers will be better served by Windows or macOS, but nowadays, most home users can get by with Chrome OS. After all, many folks live in the web browser, doing things like watching YouTube and checking Facebook. While Windows 10 can arguably do more, it is also less secure. If you can get by with a Chromebook, you should! By the way, Chrome OS is not a glorified web browser, but instead, a well-designed Linux-based operating system.
Today, Google unveils the "Pixelbook," which is a high-end Chromebook with a 12.3-inch touch screen and stylus support. It can even convert into a tablet. It weighs a mere 1.1 kilograms and is just 10.3mm thick. Since it can run Android apps, there isn't much you can't do with it. True, it isn't a solution for, say, professional photo or video editing, but most people don't need that. And so, the Pixelbook is here to offer an elegant Chrome OS experience, reminiscent of the excellent Chromebook Pixel.
I would like to thank Google for saving me thousands of dollars in needless spending. Near the end of today's gangbuster hardware event, I was ready to order two new Chromebooks and smartphones, one each for me and my wife. But "error 500" pages on the company's store website and long-lead new product availability dates prompted me to cancel the one order successfully made and to delete the others in process from my shopping cart.
For a company whose product managers droned on this morning about all the reasons why artificial intelligence is so right, Big G got the store selling experience all wrong. I have waited through most of 2017 for a new Google-branded Chrome OS laptop. While hardly a fresh hardware design concept, Pixelbook is nevertheless tempting enough to bring me back to the AI and voice-assistant contextual future from the Apple rotting on the overly-obsessed touch-UI tree. I was willing and ready but instead walked away angry.
Using a Chromebook and having problems? You aren't the only one. In the middle of typing, your cursor can jump to the center of another sentence or jumble all of your words. It's not only annoying, it can get confusing to fix. What you need to do is disable the touchpad.
On some Windows PCs there's a simple solution that involves pressing a key at the top. That isn't the case with Chrome OS. It can be done, it just takes a bit more work to accomplish the goal.
I absolutely love Chromebooks. Well, not for me exactly, but I love suggesting them to other people when appropriate. While they aren't for everybody, they are brilliant when they can meet a user's needs. The underlying Chrome OS operating system is based on Linux and is extremely secure. In fact, it can be argued that Google's laptop operating system is the most secure OS for web browsing. If you are tired of fixing either a friend or family member's Windows 10 PC, and they live in a web browser, get them on a Chromebook and get some of your time -- and sanity -- back.
Today, Acer unveils a new laptop running Chrome OS. The "Chromebook 11 C771," as it is called, is designed primarily for education (where they really shine), plus as thin clients for businesses too. The notebook features an 11.6-inch display with optional touch, and up to 13 hours battery life. Since it is designed primarily for students, and they can be rough on computers, the C771 has military grade (MIL-STD 810G) durability and a spill-resistant keyboard. It can even survive a 4 foot drop.
Chromebooks are great for many scenarios, but they really shine for education. Why? Well, they are often inexpensive, and best of all, they are very secure thanks to the Linux base and restrictive software design. ASUS has a new such laptop called "Chromebook Flip C213." The 11.6-inch notebook is designed to be very rugged so that if a student abuses it, it should hopefully survive. ASUS even promises an impressive 12+ hours of battery life.
This convertible laptop is powered by a 2.4GHz Intel processor and features 4GB of RAM. This should run Chrome OS very well. Besides the traditional camera at the top of the screen, there is an additional camera above the keyboard. When the laptop is folded to a tablet, that second camera becomes a "rear" camera. Cool, right?
Microsoft's latest anti-Google ad campaign has more than a slight whiff of Scroogled from a few years back. A pair of advertisements lay into Chromebooks, and suggest that Windows 10 devices are far better for both business and education.
Google has made much of the benefits that Chromebooks can bring to the classroom, but Microsoft disagrees -- and says Windows 10 Pro is far better for businesses too. In the two ads, the company highlights the security and features of Windows, painting Google's software as insecure and underpowered.
While many pundits are quick to dismiss Chromebooks, some consumers are embracing these laptops. True, from an overall market share perspective, Chrome OS is largely insignificant. With that said, it is absolutely dominating the education segment. Not to mention, as more and more consumers do everything in the web browser, Windows and macOS can be seen as overkill for some.
Unfortunately, many Chromebooks are both underpowered and low quality to keep costs down. While there are some solid models, they are few and far between. Samsung is looking to change this, however, with the long-promised Chromebook Pro. The company announced the premium convertible laptop in January, but now, we finally have a definitive release date.
Samsung unveiled two Chromebooks capable of running Android apps at CES 2017. The first to be available was the less expensive -- and less powerful -- Chromebook Plus, which arrived in February, while the more costly -- and more powerful -- Chromebook Pro was said to arrive sometime this spring.
And it looks like it will, indeed, be in customers' hands by the end of this month, as the Chromebook Pro is now available to pre-order on Amazon, with an estimated release date of May 28. Hey, that still technically counts as spring.
Many people don't seem to understand who Windows 10 S is for. That's why you'll read many comments and stories, including here at BetaNews, saying that Microsoft has introduced a crippled version of Windows 10 that will not appeal to anyone or that the operating system is only here to get people to pay an upgrade fee to the "proper" Windows 10. They're missing the point... by a mile.
If you look at the context in which Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 S, which is its #MicrosoftEDU event, you'll understand that this operating system has a specific scope. It's here so that educators and students who have complained of the complexity of using Windows and migrated to Chromebooks can fall in love with Windows again. That's it. There is no conspiracy, and there's nothing more to it.
Microsoft is due to hold an event in NYC on May 2, and it's widely expected that the company will unveil Windows 10 Cloud -- although it may not be until Build slightly later in the month. On paper, Windows 10 Cloud sounds very much like Microsoft's answer to Google's Chromebook, and leaks suggest this is precisely the market that Microsoft is targeting.
As the May event has an education focus, it's apparent that any low-cost Chromebook-like Windows devices will be aimed at the education sector -- but that's not to say that there won’t be interest from other people looking for cheap hardware. And thanks to the latest leak, we know the recommended minimum hardware spec to run Windows 10 Cloud.
At a meeting with journalists at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, Google's hardware chief, Rick Osterloh, said there are no plans to release any more premium Pixel laptops. We may have seen the last of Google's top-of-the-range Chromebook.
The Pixel name is these days reserved solely for Google range of smartphones. These have proved so popular that the company has struggled to meet demand -- something that also blighted the Nexus phone launched in the past.
Just yesterday, Acer unveiled a beautiful new Windows 10 360-degree convertible laptop for the education market. For many, Microsoft's operating system makes the most sense for preparing a student for the business world. After all, being well versed in things like Windows, Office, and Sharepoint look good on a resume.
Still, Windows is not the best operating system for all cases. Actually, the very secure Linux-based Chrome OS is a smart choice where learning is done entirely through the web or web portal. Today, Acer announces another 11.6-inch laptop for education, but this time, it is a Chromebook. The Spin 11 (R751T) can double as a tablet thanks to the 360-degree dual-torque hinge.
For Google, Chromebooks have not been quite the success the company was hoping for, firmly remaining a niche product. As part of a drive to boost popularity, the company announced last year that it planned to bring Android apps to Chromebook.
But there is, of course, the question of which Chromebooks this means: and now we know the answer. Google has published a list of devices that will support Android apps, as well as revealing that all new Chromebooks will have the feature.
Chrome OS is a very polarizing Linux distribution. While some people very wrongly call the operating system nothing other than a glorified web browser, in reality, it is actually very secure and capable. Many home users do all of their computing in a web browser nowadays, making Google's desktop OS an excellent choice.
Laptops running the Linux-based OS are called "Chromebooks". For many consumers, these computers are attractive for no other reason than cost -- they incorrectly think the platform is all about being inexpensive and low quality. Unfortunately, many manufacturers perpetuate that stereotype. As Google's wildly expensive Chromebook Pixel showed, however, Chrome OS devices can be elegant. Today, Samsung is taking aim at elegance with the all-new Chromebook Pro and Plus.