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chrome os

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Pull-to-refresh is now working on Chrome OS

It's easy to take a gesture as intuitive as pull-to-refresh for granted. That simple downward pull to reload content really only came into being once smartphones started becoming a thing: it was only used for the first time by a Twitter app called Tweetie back in 2008. Before that, we were mostly reduced to tapping a little 'reload' button to refresh content. Yuck. Twitter eventually acquired the app and filed for a patent on the gesture, though it promised to only use the patent defensively. Anyway, that's a little history on the now-ubiquitous gesture, which I'm sure will come in handy at your next cocktail party.

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Google is improving Progressive Web Apps on Chrome and Chrome OS

Near the end of last year, Google told developers that it was working to phase out apps in the Chrome Web Store, in favor of platform-independent Progressive Web Apps. While PWAs already fully work in Chrome and Chrome OS, Google has been trying to make them look and feel more like desktop programs. Kenneth Christiansen (a contributor to Chromium) has shared some screenshots of how the work is progressing, and it looks fantastic.

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Chromebook split-screening for Android apps now available in Canary channel

Google recently added split-screen snapping to Chrome OS so you could easily put two windows or web apps side-by-side. This was a welcome improvement, particularly on convertible machines with a tablet mode. Unfortunately, it didn't apply to Android apps before, but that functionality has now been added to the Chrome OS Canary channel.

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VLC 3.0 exits beta, adds Chromecast support, faster seeking, and more

Last month, possibly the most-anticipated feature for VLC finally made it into the Android version - support for Chromecast. Now the feature has reached the stable branch, with the release of VLC 3.0. It's the first major version bump since 2012, and includes plenty of new features and bug fixes.

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More Chromebooks may get Google Assistant in the near future

One of the highlighting features of the Google Pixelbook at launch was the native integration of Assistant in the OS itself. It can be activated by either using the "Ok, Google" hotword like normal or via the dedicated Assistant key near the spacebar. But according to XDA, who have been playing around in the Chromium Gerrit, Assistant might be coming to other Chromebooks in the near future.

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'Secret upcoming 4K Chromebooks' mentioned in Chrome OS commit

The Pixelbook sports a 12.3" 2400x1600 display, and nobody's complaining about it. In fact, we even praised it in our review for being nice in basically every aspect. But companies are constantly seeking to cram more and more pixels into their devices' screens, and Google is no different. According to a recent Chrome OS commit, we'll be seeing 4K displays on Chromebooks in the near future.

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External monitor display size scaling is coming to Chrome OS

Google shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to expanding the utility of Chrome OS as a platform. We're already convinced that the operating system can be used to do real work—at least, in our workflow here at Android Police—but more useful features are still being added with each new version. The latest addition to the Chrome OS Dev Channel is a "display size" setting for external screens. 

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Chrome OS 64 hits stable, with tablet mode screenshot shortcut and Android app improvements

At the end of last year, we learned that Chrome OS was about to get some improvements in the way it handles Android apps. The Chrome OS 64 beta allowed you to run them side-by-side just as you can with regular laptop apps. This improvement and more should now be part of the latest stable release, which is up to version number 64.0.3282.134 (Platform version: 10176.65.0).

The most notable addition is a new screenshot shortcut for touchscreen devices. You can now press volume-down and power button buttons simultaneously, just like on Android phones and tablets. This will be useful for convertibles but could also be seen as preparation for Chrome OS devices with no keyboard whatsoever, like this leaked Acer tablet.

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Acer announces new Chromebox, two new Chromebooks

It appears to be new Chromebook season, as Acer has announced the Chromebook Spin 11 (pictured), Chromebook 11 C732, and Chromebox CXI3. All three are priced near the budget end of the price spectrum, with the latter two intended specifically for education and enterprise markets. The newly-announced models are run by 8th generation (Apollo Lake) Intel processors. As with all new Chrome OS devices, the trio support Google Play, allowing them to run Android apps.

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I used the Google Pixelbook as my only laptop at CES - and it completely converted me

The Google Pixelbook is a truly excellent piece of hardware, as I stated in my review of it over two months ago. The refrain so often heard about Chromebooks, though, is that Chrome OS's limited application ecosystem prevents it from being a "serious" laptop operating system. As someone who frequently travels and has to be mobile as part of my job, I thought I'd put Google's laptop to the test in a live environment: CES.

Now, CES isn't quite the on-the-ground reporting slog it once was for Android Police. The number of smartphones announced at the show is tiny, and much of our work stems from various briefings and meetings rather than rubbing shoulders with attendees on the show floor.

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