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
The Chromecast is great! Wouldn't it be even greater if it could actually run Chrome, instead of being a point for streaming video and music? ASUS seems to think so. Tucked into an announcement of new Chrome OS laptops, Google posted a preview of the Chromebit on the official Chrome blog. It's basically Chrome OS on a stick: plug it into the HDMI port on your TV, add some MicroUSB power, and you've got access to a full copy of Chrome OS.
This isn't exactly a new idea - thanks to miniaturization of low-power hardware, manufacturers have been able to cram Android, various flavors of Linux, or even Windows onto these tiny HDMI sticks. Read More
Along with a fancy new hardware-focused Google Store, there's a shiny new version of the super-premium Chromebook. Google just threw the Chromebook Pixel 2015 up on its page in two models: one with an Intel Core i5 2.2Ghz processor for $999 (considerably less than the original) and one with a 2.4Ghz Core i7 for $1299. Sales appear to be limited to the United States at the moment.
The i5 model is ostensibly the low-end version, but even that is fairly super-powered compared to other Chromebooks. It comes with a 32GB SSD drive for storage and a generous 8GB of RAM - double the original Pixel and twice as much as any current Chromebook on the market. Read More
The Smart Lock feature that has been slowly cooking in the Chrome OS dev and beta channels has made its way into the latest stable release, version 40. Now anyone with a phone running Android 5.0 or later (sorry, no tablets) can automatically unlock their Chromebook just by keeping the two devices within 100 feet of each other.
You can find the option tucked away under advanced settings. In this shot I've scrolled the area to the top and have already turned things on.
Smart Lock is still in beta, but so far it works-ish. I find the feature to be amusing in practice. Read More