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
People are still waiting to get their hands on invites to use Inbox by Gmail, but as those trickle in, Google's pushing out more ways to access to service. We've already provided a hands-on look at the Android app. Users can also interact with their spiffy new inbox in a web browser by heading to inbox.google.com.
For people who prefer a handy shortcut, or for Chromebook users who want something that kind of feels like a dedicated email client, Google has released an Inbox by Gmail app into the Chrome Web Store.
The web app serves as a glorified bookmark, but once opened in its own dedicated window, it could pass for something more. Read More
Update: the app has been pulled from the Play Store, presumably because of the "Chrome" name. You can now find it under the name ARChon Packager.
Earlier this month, Google officially made it possible to run a handful of Android apps on Chrome OS. Hardly a week later, a developer came along and produced a means of running theoretically any Android app within Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux (including Chromebooks). However, the instructions were somewhat intimidating, so then someone else came along and produced an Android app that can take care of those bits for you.
The app is called Chrome APK Packager, and while it's currently still in alpha and as ugly as you would expect, it delivers on its promise of taking any of your installed apps and turning them into usable Chrome extensions. Read More
Back at the Google I/O keynote this summer, we saw a very interesting demonstration - as Sundar Pichai explained, Google wants to make the experience between Android devices and Chromebooks seamless by allowing Android apps to run natively on Chrome (using App Runtime for Chrome, currently in beta). Evernote, Vine, and Flipboard were demonstrated on stage, and today Google has announced the first batch of Android apps that will run on Chrome right now. Among them are Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine. Flipboard is still notably absent.
For now, Google is working "with a select group of Android developers to add more of your favorite apps," meaning there won't exactly be a flood of native Android experiences coming to Chrome OS users. Read More
Spectators have long wondered whether/vehemently argued that Android and Chrome OS will merge someday, and while Google hasn't shifted towards turning the two operating systems into one, it has taken advantage of this year's Google I/O to show Android apps running on a Chromebook. The company only demoed a few of them and made no promises of complete compatibility across all apps, but it did show the likes of Evernote and Flipboard running just fine.
The tablet versions of these apps make for a nice experience on a Chromebook's larger display, but there's support for phone-oriented versions as well. Vine opened in a small window similar to Google Keep for Chrome OS, and more impressively, the app was able to tap into the laptop's webcam just as it would on a handset. Read More
Chromebooks are normally a little outside of our wheelhouse here at Android Police, but we figured that enough of our international readers would want to hear this that it warranted a post. According to this unaccountably rhyming entry on Google's official Chrome blog, Chromebooks will be available in nine new countries in the next few weeks.
Chile, Denmark, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, and the Philippines should have models coming in a matter of days (Google says "starting today"), and Belgium, Italy, and Spain will get them in the next few weeks. Of course, getting your Chrome OS hardware isn't as easy as downloading an app: Google's hardware partners will have to pick and choose which models to release in which markets. Read More
A new feature has snuck into the Chrome OS dev channel that, while not yet fully baked (okay, it's still mostly a block of ice), could one day allow users to unlock their Chromebooks automatically just by having their phone in close proximity. This feature is "Easy Unlock." Read More
Chromecast may perhaps be the evolution of the Nexus Q, but it's not a replacement for Google TV. True to form, the company believes that the two products do not compete with one another and can co-exist comfortably side by side. This should come as no surprise from the folks that brought us both Chrome OS and Android, two operating systems that just aren't going to merge regardless of how loudly some people cry. Instead, Google will add Chromecast functionality to Google TV in a future update, and the two will be good buddies.
Upon further reflection, it makes sense why the two products aren't competitors. Read More
One of Google's problem areas has long been the living room, and the Chrome team looks to be coming to the rescue by leveraging the huge mobile device ecosystem. The Chromecast is a new device running a simplified version of Chrome OS. It enables you to get content from your phone, tablet, or laptop to a bigger screen. This is not a Chrome OS computer in a tiny package, but rather a smaller, cheaper, more capable Nexus Q.
Chromecast is designed to have easy setup. Simply plug it into an HDMI port, power it with USB (this may be tricky in some situations), and use your device to control the streaming. Read More
Newly appointed head of Google's Android division Sundar Pichai - who perhaps not-so-incidentally also leads the Chrome OS team - recently sat down with Wired for his first interview since Andy Rubin's departure. Though he didn't speak to specifics about any mysterious Motorola smartphone or Chromebook Pixel follow-up, Pichai did shed some light on the state of Android, Google's open-source philosophy, and future projects.
When asked if separate operating systems - Chrome OS and Android, for instance - confuse users, Pichai said the OS is less important than the apps, ecosystem, and backend people rely on. He also emphasized that developers, concerned about distributing their products on particular platforms, appreciate the flexibility multiple operating systems provide. Read More