Google & VMware bring Windows to enterprise Chromebook users

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Google announced a partnership with virtualization software maker VMware today that will bring Chromebook users access to Windows desktops and apps. The deal means enterprise Chromebook users will have access to Windows apps through VMware Horizon DaaS and an upcoming Chrome Web Store app:

Cloud applications allow flexibility, scalability and security and enable a work-anywhere environment, but many of our customers still use traditional desktop applications. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) helps bridge the gap between the cloud and a traditional desktop by allowing you to run your traditional software in the cloud and have applications appear on your Chromebook similarly to how they run today. An example might be your Windows based accounting application.

It might sound a little bit like Google is admitting that enterprise customers need more than just Chrome apps to get the job done, but it’s also embracing the upcoming end of life for Windows XP and encouraging business customers to upgrade to Chromebooks. Giving businesses access to the Windows apps many rely on is certainly a good argument for upgrading to Chromebooks. In a statement in VMware’s press release, Google’s president of enterprise Amit Singh said “Chromebooks can save businesses about $5,000 per computer when compared to traditional PCs.” Read more

HP announces colorful new Haswell i7-powered Chromeboxes, coming this spring

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HP previously teased that it would be releasing a Chromebox this spring, but has today announced a few more details about the box, in addition to some images. HP’s Chromebox will come in four colors including white, black, silver, and turquoise. The device will be marketed towards homes and businesses, seeing that it will be more powerful than some of the other Chromeboxes we’ve seen so far this year (via Engadget).

HP’s Chromebox features an HDMI port and DisplayPort, in addition to four USB 3.0 ports. The device will be powered by a fourth-generation Haswell-based Intel Core i7 processor.

Missing from the details announced today is pricing. ASUS’ new box will come in at $179, although it is less powerful. Either way, HP will certainly have some tough competition in the Chromebox space. The company’s box is set to be released in spring.

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Google disrupts the videoconferencing market with $1000 Chromebox for Meetings

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Google announced today that ASUS is releasing a new “Chromebox for meetings” that comes bundled with a camera, microphone, and speaker as an all-in-one meeting room solution for using Google+ Hangouts and accessing Google Apps:

Chromebox for meetings comes with a blazing-fast Intel Core i7-based Chromebox, a high-definition camera, a combined microphone and speaker unit and a remote control. Set up your entire room in minutes and easily manage all meeting rooms from a web-based management console. All you need is the display in your room, and you’re good to go.

Walk into the room, click the remote once and you’re instantly in the meeting. No more complex dial-in codes, passcodes or leader PINs. Share your laptop screen wirelessly, no need for any cords and adaptors. Integration with Google Apps makes it easy to invite others and add rooms to video meetings, directly from Google Calendar.

Google says the new Chromebox for meetings will allow businesses to outfit 10 or more rooms “for the same price that companies have typically paid for one meeting room.”

The new Chromebox for meetings from ASUS (pictured above) is available in the U.S. starting today for $999 and other Chromebox for meetings products from HP and Dell will be released in the months to come. It’s also planning to launch the products in other countries later this year including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the U.K. Some of Google’s partners are also releasing new tools to make it easy for existing meeting room solutions to access Google+ Hangouts. Read more

ASUS announces smallest-ever Chromebox, available in March from $179

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ASUS has announced that the new Chromebox it promised last year will go on sale next month, priced from $179. The device – looking rather like Intel’s NUC ultra-compact desktop PC – is both the smallest and most powerful Chromebox to date, with a choice of three processors.

$179 will get you the base model, powered by a Celeron 2955U. Next model up is a Haswell Core i3 model, capable of driving a 4K monitor – and there will be an i7 version sold only outside North America. No pricing has yet been announced for the more powerful models.

“The Asus Chromebox offers the simplicity, security, and speed of Chrome OS in the most compact and powerful Chrome device to date,” said Felix Lin, director of product management at Google. “Perfect for home, the classroom or the office, Chromebox is designed for the way we use computers today” …  Read more

Google rolling out Google Now notifications to Chrome beta for desktop users

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After appearing in a developer build of Chrome last month, Google announced today that this week it will be rolling out Google Now notifications to the desktop through the latest beta version of Chrome. Google Now notifications were previously available to Android and iOS users, but can now be accessed through the Chrome notification center on Mac as well as through Chrome on Windows and Chromebooks. Google notes that Chrome will show a a subset of the cards that appear on iOS and Android including “weather, sports scores, commute traffic, and event reminders cards.” Here’s how to enable it: Read more

Google Play for Education gets new 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Tab & Chromebooks from Lenovo & Toshiba

Google today announced some updates to its Google Play for Education program that launched back in November. The program gets Android and Chromebook devices into classrooms and offers a special curated version of Google Play as well as tools for teachers to distribute apps and manage devices. It originally launched with support for just three tablets, but Google announced today that its partners will soon be launching new devices for students. The devices include a new Galaxy Tab just announced by Samsung and a couple of new Chromebooks from Lenovo and ToshibaRead more

Google offering more than $2.7 million to people that can successfully exploit Chrome OS

HP Chromebook 11

HP Chromebook 11

Since its release, Google has touted that Chrome OS is incredibly secure and can be used for any type of use case. In a blog post on the Chromium Blog, the company announced today that it is offering a total of $2.71 million USD to anyone that exploit Chrome OS. In order to compete for a portion of that pot, developers have travel to the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, which takes place in March.

The criteria for this Pwnium contest, which Google has been holding for years, is pretty specific. Developers and hackers won’t get money for exploiting any portion of the operating system. Instead, Google has guidelines for how much they will be paid, depending on how deep the exploit is.

  • $110,000 USD: browser or system-level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.
  • $150,000 USD: compromise with device persistence: guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.

Google will also consider cash bonuses for demonstrating a particularly impressive or surprising exploit. Hackers will be able to choose between the Haswell-based Acer C720 and the ARM-based HP Chromebook 11.

If this sounds like something you want to try, Google requires that interested parties register ahead of the even by emailing security@chromium.org. Registration will close at 5:00 P.M PST on March 10th.

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Latest Chrome Canary build brings Google Now to the desktop

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There have been indications for a long time that Google Now was eventually coming to the Chrome browser on the desktop. Via the Google Operating System Blog, the service has finally surfaced in the most recent release of Chrome Canary (Google’s name for the app’s ‘alpha’ channel builds).

As expected, Google Now in Chrome closely mirrors Google Now on Android. The contextually-relevant cards (which show information such as weather, news or upcoming flights) appear in Chrome’s Notification Center on the desktop. This area be found in the Window’s taskbar or the Mac’s menubar, represented by a bell icon.

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Chrome for mobile updated w/ data compression, Safe Browsing, application shortcuts, & more

Google just announced it’s releasing a new version of Chrome for mobile devices that introduces a new data compression feature alongside Safe Browsing malware protection:

In the U.S. alone, more than a fifth of adult smartphone users now do most of their online browsing on their mobile device.Around the world, we’re seeing a similar trend towards more mobile browsing. That’s why we’ll be rolling out a new feature on Chrome for Mobile to help you reduce data usage and save money on your mobile plan. When enabled, Chrome’s data compression and bandwidth management can reduce data usage by up to 50% while browsing the web on Chrome for Android and iOS.

Google noted the update will also enable the Safe Browsing technology it uses in the desktop version of Chrome to protect users from malicious websites. You’ll be able to turn on the new data compression feature and track usage from Settings” > “Bandwidth management” > “Reduce data usage in the updated app.

For Android users, the update also introduces an “Add to homescreen” toolbar item for quickly saving shortcuts to your homescreen, while iOS users will finally get access to Google Translate:

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HP’s LTE Chromebook 11 to skip on 3G hardware, says chip supplier Altair

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Update: Best Buy is already listing the new model online for $379 (via Liliputing).

Reuters is reporting a claim by Israel’s Altair Semiconductor that HP will be launching a LTE-only Chromebook 11, with connectivity provided by the company’s chips.

“Our solution equips the Chromebook with a dependable and incredibly fast Internet connection,” said Eran Eshed, vice president of marketing and business development at Altair. “By focusing on 100 percent LTE and eliminating costly 3G components, we were able to help our partners lower the cost of this critical LTE connectivity feature” …

Google’s high end Chromebook Pixel is also LTE-only but the move for a more bargain-centric product has some folks scratching their heads…. Read more

Google-powered Chromebooks account for 21% of all notebook sales in 2013

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Editor’s note: As noted in the graph above, the numbers in this article refer only to the commercial channel, as NPD does not measure direct sales. Some of the language below has been updated to clarify this point.

A new release from the NPD Group indicates that notebooks running Google’s Chrome OS have gained significant ground in the past year. According to the statistics, over one-fifth of all laptops sold in 2013 were running the free software. Of course, it should be noted that the numbers presented don’t take built-to-order machines or direct sales into account, instead relying on sales of pre-configured options, but even so, this impressive figure is still very good news for Google.

In fact, when considering all computer sales, including desktop and notebook form factors, Chromebooks have still gained a pretty sizeable chunk of the market. Last year Chromebooks took home a measly 0.2%. This year, however, the number comes in closer to one-tenth of the market at 9.6%.

While that may not seem like much next to the 34.1%  of all computer sales held by Windows-powered notebooks, it’s over five times better than Apple’s sales for its entire MacBook lineup combined. It now seems that Google—not Apple—is in the best position to someday knock Microsoft from the top of the notebook computer market.

Amazon’s ‘record-setting’ holiday season shows Kindle Fire, Chromecast and Chromebooks dominate

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Amazon has never been a company to provide specific sales numbers, but their just-issued press release shows us that Android, Kindle and Chromebooks dominated their holiday shopping season. Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprising at all is the Chromecast, which is the best seller in the Computers and Accessories category outselling the company’s own Kindle Fire lineup as well as Apple TV and the Roku 3 Streaming Media player.

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