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[Update: Now in Dev Channel] ChromeOS will eventually have an automatic red-tinted Night Light mode

ChromeOS development is on fire these days. Just yesterday we got news that we'd have a new setting for closing the lid on a Chromebook. And today we find out that a new automatic Night Light feature is inbound and has just entered the Canary channel. If you've ever used Kindle's Blue Shade, f.lux, or LineageOS' LiveDisplay feature, then you know that this means. If you aren't familiar with any of those, think a red-tinted mode for use at night. 

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[Deal Alert] Samsung Chromebook Pro is $499 ($50 off) at Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H

Earlier this year, Samsung launched two new Chromebooks - the Chromebook Plus and Pro. Both have a 3:2 touchscreen with stylus support and the Google Play Store, but the Pro has slightly beefier specifications. Now you can grab one for $50 off at a handful of retailers.

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Acer's new rugged Chromebook 11 C771 series has IPS displays and 6th gen Intel processors

It's school season again and every company is either offering deals on existing products or introducing new ones to entice buyers for their back-to-school/college gear. In that vein, Acer has announced a new series of Chromebook 11s, the sexily-named C771.

First off, these are rugged Chromebooks and they've been tested to withstand drops from 48" height (122cm) thanks to corner shields around the keyboard and display, up to 330ml fluid spills on the keyboard, and they're MIL-STD 810G rated. That should help them stay strong in your bag or your kids' backpack, even when under stacks of books, and handle the rough treatment of a classroom environment.

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Google is deprecating the "OK Google" hotword on Chrome OS

Google Assistant is designed to work across a wide variety of devices, from smartwatches to phones to smart speakers. Assistant is also arriving on Chrome OS at some point in the future, as evidenced by several Google app teardowns. In preparation for the new feature, Google is deprecating the "OK Google" hotword on Chrome OS.

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Google is working on a new touchscreen-optimized launcher for Chromebooks

In the last two weeks, Google has been revealing a ton of new features for Chromebooks. The latest reveal is the biggest change in recent memory, though. Google is working on a new launcher for Chrome OS that is built for touch. With Chromebooks providing most of the same utility that Android tablets do now, these further optimizations for a finger-pokin' interface are more than welcome. 

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[Cruising around with the top down] Chromebooks will get power settings for closing the lid

Today Chromium Evangelist François Beaufort revealed a new feature in the current Canary channel for ChromeOS. Chromebook users everywhere can now look forward to being able to set the activity their device performs when the lid is closed. In the current Dev, Beta, and Stable channels, the behavior can't be changed, and when the lid is shut the device goes to sleep, but users that migrate to the Canary channel (or who are fine waiting) will be able to set their Chromebook to stay awake. 

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CrossOver for Android Alpha 4 is now available, supports Android Nougat and fixes bugs

If you're not familiar with it, CrossOver is a program for Mac and Linux that allows you to run Windows programs through a compatibility layer (without actually running or owning a copy of Windows). It's based on Wine, and the developers frequently contribute code back to Wine, but CrossOver is commercial software and has a few additional features.

After three years of development, CodeWeavers (the company behind CrossOver) released an alpha build of CrossOver for Android in August of last year. Since then, CodeWeavers has continued to update it with new features and bug fixes, and today the company has released Alpha 4.

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Google adds Play Store support to more Chromebooks from Acer, Dell, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung

Google promised that all Chromebooks shipped in 2017 and beyond would support Android apps, but the company has been a bit slow to deliver on that claim. However, Google has just updated its list of Chrome OS devices compatible with the Play Store, and a whopping 16 more devices can now run Android apps officially.

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[Update: Knocked down to $378] Deal Alert: Grab the Samsung Chromebook Plus from Amazon for $395 ($55 off)

It may be summertime, but the upcoming semester is closing in faster than some of us would like. That means it's coming time for college kids or grad students to be looking at getting a new laptop (or upgrading their current one) — that also means that we can expect to see some deals in the next month or so on computers. Starting the party early is Amazon, which has the Samsung Chromebook Plus for $394.36, which is a total savings of $55.63.

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Android app support comes to new Chromebooks from Acer, Lenovo, and HP

The vast majority of Chromebooks are still lacking Android app support. Over 80 models are listed as 'Planned' to receive the feature on the Chromium Wiki, with 14 devices currently supporting it to some degree. A few new Chromebooks have hit the market over the past month with the Play Store included, at least when using the Beta channel for Chrome OS.

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