I consider myself quite lucky to be able to make a living writing things on the internet because it gives me an outlet for my natural geekery. Even if I had never started crafting snarky blog posts on a daily basis, I suspect many of the things on this list would still be in my office (I guess then I'd call it something else). However, in this version of reality, I'm a professional nerd, and these are the things that I use every day. Read More
Let me get this out of the way right out of the gate: I love Chrome OS. I wanted to love it back when I reviewed the original Chromebook Pixel some years ago, but it just wasn’t where it needed to be for me. Fastforward a bunch of months, and Google made a ton of useful and thoughtful changes that made Chrome OS a legit desktop contender (for me at least). So, like I said in my recent What We Use post, I made the leap to Chrome OS as my main laptop about 18 months ago (or so) and haven’t looked back. Read More
I've long been an advocate for the usefulness of Android tablets, but even I've been questioning my own words over the past year or so. After switching to a Chromebook Flip as my main laptop and tablet, I rarely even use my Android tablets for anything more than reading in bed or playing a quick game.
But deep down I guess I'm a dreamer—I keep hoping Google will step up and make Android tablets not only relevant for more than the "I want a cheap tablet" market, but for power users. People who want to get things done and don't always want to break out a laptop to do it. Read More
Google's Chrome development team regularly implements new APIs to extend the possibilities for web apps to behave more like their native counterparts. The most recent addition to the Chrome dev channel allows web developers to use Bluetooth to communicate with nearby hardware. This could be used for things like an online fitness tracker that gets data from a heart rate monitor or for a controller to drive a Sphero, all without installing a native app.
These things are possible with the new Web Bluetooth API. Still in the early stages of development, this allows a web application to query for Bluetooth devices based on their capabilities, then pass messages back and forth with little or no friction. Read More
Picture this: Someone you know needs help with their Android device. Crazy, I know, but bear with me here. They need help, and no one else can do the job but you.
You could try guiding them over the phone, but doctors have confirmed this as hazardous to your mental health. A better approach would be to send them a link to the TeamViewer app and remote into the device yourself. Thing is, you're using a Chromebook. Yeah, your friends gave you crap when you bought it, but those things have gotten pretty good these days.
Fortunately you're not out of luck. Read More
The Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell last week when it reported that Google planned to merge Chrome OS with Android and phase out the Chrome OS we've come to know and love. Googlers (including Android/Chrome head Hiroshi Lockheimer) reiterated the company's commitment to Chrome OS. Now, Google has made a post on the Chrome blog to set the record straight once and for all—Chrome OS isn't going anywhere. Read More
Google hasn't said much about how its new OnHub router works—it's a mysterious black box (blue cylinder, technically) with inactive radios and updatable firmware. The modders from Exploitee.rs have gotten their hands on an OnHub, and it didn't take long for them to root it. Interestingly, they rooted it like a Chromebook because that's sort of what the OnHub is—a Chromebook with no screen acting like a router. Read More
About four or five months ago, I got my Acer Chromebook 13, the second Chromebook I've owned. The first was the original Samsung Chromebook, which was more of a "test" device for me - something to get more familiar with Chrome OS, but it definitely didn't have the chops to be my daily driver. After getting the Acer, however, I realized that I basically stopped using my Windows laptop completely. In fact, I sold it a few weeks ago. I'm committed to Chrome OS at this point. (I still have a Windows desktop though, for those who are inevitably going to ask in the comments.)
Of course, using Chrome OS as a full-time OS has its share of...annoyances. Read More
Is it really an April Fools "prank" if what you put together actually performs its stated function? Either way, you probably won't want to keep the "Self-Browsing Chromebook" app on your machine for more than a day or so. According to Google's straight-faced Chrome Blog entry, the app is intended to automate your entire computer experience. What it actually does is take over your laptop with a full-screen interface that navigates around the web by itself.
And it's not just a random selection of websites loaded one after another. No, the slightly sci-fi app (which, yes, can really be installed on Chrome OS devices) uses its own cursor to select new links and scroll through pages, about one every three seconds. Read More
Google has been slowly rolling out Android apps for Chrome OS on a case-by-case basis, with new additions coming in a handful at a time. According to OMG! Chrome!, the company is opening the process up to all Android developers.
Porting relies on a native client extension known as the App Runtime for Chrome (ARC for short). It runs Android software at a speed that's close to native inside of a sandboxed Dalvik virtual window. The runtime is still in beta, and Google refers to the experience as a Developer Preview.
Developers also need to grab the ARC Welder app from the Chrome Web Store in order to test their work. Read More