Much like Windows Mobile, Chromebooks have long suffered with something of a limited range of apps. Starting today, all this changes; Google is bringing the full range of Android apps to Chromebook users via the Google Play store.
With Chromebooks having just overtaken Macs in terms of popularity, the introduction of millions of Android apps to the platform is incredibly well-timed. Before you get too excited, the rollout is not immediate. Users on the developer channel with certain Chromebook models will get access first, but there are plans to bring Google Play to more devices over the coming months.
In the grand scheme of things, Chrome OS is hardly a major player from a desktop market share perspective -- for now. With that said, the Linux-based operating system has captured the hearts and minds of many consumers. It has matured quite a bit too, becoming a viable Windows alternative for home users. Actually, it is a great choice for some businesses too -- depending on needs, of course.
Today, Google announces the latest business-focused laptop running its desktop operating system -- the HP Chromebook 13. Not only is this Chrome OS laptop powerful, affordable, and beautiful, but very secure too. It can be argued that it is safer than a Windows notebook.
According to Google, 20 percent of people in the USA will experience a disability at some point in their life. Let's think about this for a moment -- that is one in five people. In other words, people with disabilities are a significant part of the population. While there are many laws on the books protecting the disabled from discrimination, this group of people can still be underrepresented.
Today, the search giant highlights some of the ways it is helping users with disabilities. Google is focusing on multiple platforms, such as Chromebooks, Android, and the web.
When it comes time to name a device, a marketing team usually gets involved. Many monikers are thrown about, often with a number designation that signals screen size, generation, or something else altogether. The Nexus 6 is based on screen size, iPad naming is sometimes based on generation, and the Xbox One -- well, who knows what Microsoft was thinking with its third console!
Today, Acer announces its newest Chrome OS laptop, the Chromebook 14. I know what you are thinking -- 14 inch screen, right? You would be correct -- that is the size of the display. While that is the obvious inspiration for the name, the number 14 is significant in another way too. You see, the Acer Chromebook 14 features up to 14 hours of battery life. While that is impressive, Acer has one more trick up its sleeve too.
The first thing you notice about iPad Pro is the size. The tablet is ginormous. Its 12.9-inch screen lays before you like a chalk slate -- a blank canvas demanding typed text or drawings made with Apple Pencil. Yet something also feels wrong about the thing. During the so-called Steve Jobs era, refined designs were smaller -- like iPod nano. Apple is no stranger to larger; 27-inch iMac today or 17-inch MacBook Pro of yesteryear are examples. Perhaps. But there's big, and BIG.
The giant tablet arrived around 2:50 p.m. PST on Groundhog Day 2016, marking a bold computing adventure for February: Using iPad Pro as my primary PC, and hopefully only one. Perhaps you read my recent obituary to Apple love lost and might wonder why buy anything Apple? I like to experiment and am paid to try out new things (so you won't have to). By sheer size, PC replacement -- not companion -- is the only sensible use for iPad Pro. Can it meet the demands? I want to find out.
For many consumers, a Chromebook is looked at as an inexpensive secondary computer. The truth is, yeah, they make excellent complementary devices. With that said, when it comes to consumers without a lot of money, laptops running Google's Chrome OS can be a perfectly fine primary computer too -- depending on needs, of course.
Chromebooks are more than low prices, however; they are also very low-maintenance too. Updates are automatic, and malware is largely non-existent. It is for that reason that the machines are perfect for scenarios where resources are scarce. Today, Google announces that it is donating $5.3 million to put Chromebooks in the hands of refugees.
Chromebooks are great for home use, but they truly shine for education. Its easy to see why -- they are easy to use, cost effective and (unlike the iPad) offer multi-user support. These are all essential things for school districts on a tight budget.
Today, HP announces the Chromebook 11 G4 Education Edition. Starting at a paltry $199, it looks to offer incredible value. Thanks to military-grade build quality, it should be very durable. This is very important, of course, as children are often rough on computers.
If you are in the market for a new laptop, you will probably target a Windows 10 variant. You know what? That's a smart choice. Microsoft's operating system has a ton of cool programs and apps available for it. The problem? There is a lot of malware targeting it too. With that said, if everything you do is on the web -- social media, web surfing, and email to name a few -- maybe Google's Chrome OS is the better choice. While limited compared to Windows, it is arguably safer. Chromebooks are often less expensive too.
Today, citing high consumer demand for Chrome OS, Samsung announces its all-new 11.6-inch Chromebook 3. This compact and beautiful laptop features a keyboard that looks absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, the rest of the package is a bit ho-hum.
CES 2016 does not officially start until January 6, but, as we have come to expect, most of the major product announcements will be made right before the big opening day. Case in point, Lenovo has just unveiled its new ThinkPad 13, alongside ThinkPad X1 Tablet and other new gadgets.
Why is ThinkPad 13 newsworthy? Well, Lenovo's choice of operating systems makes it one of the most interesting new products in its refreshed lineup, as the laptop will be offered with either Chrome OS or Windows 10.
Welcome to 2016, dear BetaNews readers. Another year is here, and some trends will continue as before. The most intriguing being Google's push into both education and home with its wonderful Chrome OS. While a bit limited, devices with Google's Linux-based desktop operating system are perfection for many; especially as more and more time is spent in the browser.
Today, Acer announces some new Chrome OS devices that look really impressive. Its new Chromebook 11 and Chromebase 24 should meet the needs for many, and in typical Acer fashion, shouldn't break the bank. The Chromebase is particularly newsworthy, as it is the first-ever such all-in-one "base" device with an Intel Core processor. Quite frankly, it should make an absolutely glorious family PC.
One of the most important -- yet thankless -- jobs in the world is being a teacher. Many educators are underpaid and under-appreciated. In some underfunded districts, teachers are forced to make do without essentials, like books and pencils -- a really sad state of affairs.
Luckily, technology is constantly improving and evolving, which translates to new solutions and tools for educators. One such brilliant solution is Google Classroom. The search-giant's education-focused organizational tool can make a teacher's life much easier -- especially when paired with a Chromebook and Google Docs. Today, Classroom is earning some extra credit in the eyes of educators with all new features that make it even better.
Chromebooks are viewed by many people as the Windows Phone of laptops, paling into insignificance when compared to Windows machines and MacBooks. But the cheap and cheerful nature of (most) Chromebooks has seen the share of certain markets rocket -- particularly in the classroom.
Back in 2012, less than one percent of devices in US schools was a Chromebook -- now the Google-powered laptops account for more than half of the market. Google's interest in education is not new, but the inroads it has managed to make in such a short space of time has caught many people off guard.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation claims that Google is gathering data about school children, including their web searches. In a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission about the search giant, the EFF gives details of the deceptive usage tracking it says was uncovered while conducting research for its Spying on Students campaign.
The campaign, which launches today, aims to "spread the word about companies collecting students' data and launching a campaign to educate parents and administrators about these risks to student privacy". At the center of the controversy are Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education.
Google has scotched rumors that Chrome OS could be ditched. There had already been some doubts about the truth behind suggestions that Android and Chrome OS could be on the verge of merging. Google has already gone to some lengths to stress how committed it is to Chrome OS, and today goes a step further in stating in very plain language:
"Chrome OS is here to stay".
If you've been thinking of investing in a new computer, Microsoft has an incentive that might just help to convince you that the time is right. You've probably got an old computer laying around that you need to get rid of, and Microsoft will happily take it off your hands and give you cash into the bargain.
The Trade Up program offers a minimum of $200 for a laptop trade-in, up to $300 for a MacBook. The caveat? The Windows 10 computer you buy must cost at least $599. The deal is running in the US and UK -- but people in the UK have a different, and somewhat less impressive, deal available to them.