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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
When it comes to installing applications from outside the Play Store, Chromebooks are at a disadvantage. On normal Android devices, all it takes is enabling 'Apps from Unknown Sources' in the settings (or doing it on a per-app basis on Oreo). Unfortunately, sideloading APKs on Chromebooks requires enabling Developer Mode, which disables boot verification and other security features. It also requires users to press a key combination when you boot up (on most models) - Google really doesn't want you enabling it. Read More
One week ago, details about widespread vulnerabilities in modern processors became public. One variant, named 'Meltdown,' affected every modern Intel chip. Two other variants, collectively known as 'Spectre,' are known to affect chips from Intel, AMD, and ARM (at the very least). Most Google products are already protected against these threats, but now the company has made it easier to tell which Chromebooks are patched. Read More
In today's other sunsetting news, Chrome is deprecating its Supervised Users feature, which was in beta and allowed you to have Chrome users under your profile but with limited access to certain features - think young children and teenagers. Google emailed users who had set up Supervised Users to let them know that starting January 12, they won't be able to create or import supervised users, and three days after that, the management dashboard won't allow them to change any settings for their existing supervised users.
Here's the full email, in case you haven't received it yet:
Important update on Chrome Supervised Users
We’re writing to you because you created a Chrome Supervised User in the past.
The Play Store keeps trickling down to more Chromebooks. The last time we covered it, 17 new models had received the Play Store either on the stable or beta channel, and now 10 more are joining the ranks. The most prominent of these is the Toshiba Chromebook 2, but only the 2015 model. If you're like me and you got way too excited thinking this is for your computer, hold your breath and make sure you have the 2015 model (the best way to know is if you have vents on the back next to the display hinge like so). Read More
While they might be less attractive than a full-fledged Chromebook, desktop computers running Chrome OS have their uses. The Asus Chromebox has been among the best in that form factor, and the company took to CES 2018 to announce a third generation of the device, alongside some other small form factor computing solutions. Read More
Android apps running on Chrome OS are taking a small but significant step becoming much more desktop-friendly, as the next update to Chrome OS will likely include the ability of Android apps to run tasks in parallel. Read More
Google has a history of selling very expensive Chromebooks, and that continues with the Pixelbook. Even the entry-level Pixelbook is more expensive than a lot of Windows laptops with its $999 price tag (currently on sale for $899). The most expensive Pixelbook variant has been unavailable until now. Google just started taking orders for the Core i7 version, which costs $1,549 on sale ($100 off). Read More