Samsung’s new Chromebook 2s feature HD displays and faux leather stitching of Galaxy line

Chromebook2-13_013_Dynamic_Titanium Gray

Samsung’s new Chromebooks leaked a little bit last week and again over the weekend, but now they are official.  The biggest upgrades include the form factor featuring the faux leather stitching made famous by its Galaxy Note 3 and a new 1080P 13-inch display on the higher end $399 model. Both still use Exynos 5 Octocore processors that lack a little bit of the oomph of Haswell Intel processors, but they compete very well in battery life (8.5-9 hours claimed by Samsung). These machines also have wake times of less than one second and cold boots in less than ten.

Another prime area of improvement is the Hangouts video chat experience enhance by a 720P front side camera paired with improved mic and 2x 2W speakers. Read more

Developer version of Chrome OS lets you access multiple profiles at the same time

Google has announced an experimental feature in the developer version of Chrome OS that allows you to access more than one user profile at the same time, easily flicking between them, as well as passing both tabs and files back-and-forth between profiles.

Switching profiles is as easy as clicking on the profile picture in the system tray popup. […] One nice thing, but still highly experimental, is that you can move windows to different profiles with a simple right click in the window top bar. As you can see in the video, even the Files App even supports this feature.

To access the feature in the Chrome OS dev channel, enter the following line:

chrome://flags/#enable-multi-profiles

If you’re not currently using the dev channel, you can find instructions for switching here, but note that by definition you can expect to experience some glitches. The stable channel is always recommended when working on anything important.

Chrome 34 beta released w/ hands-free Voice Search, responsive images, new APIs, more

Google has just promoted Chrome 34 to the beta channel, bringing with it a few new features and a lot of new apps/extension APIs for developers. Perhaps the most notable new feature for users on Mac, Windows, and Linux is hands-free Google Voice Search, allowing users to initiate a voice search on Google using the “Ok Google” command without the need of an extension:

  • Responsive Images and Unprefixed Web Audio
  • Hands-free Google Voice Search in Chrome
  • Import supervised users onto new computers
  • A number of new apps/extension APIs
  • Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance

While users have been able to download a browser extension for Chrome since November that allows them to activate a voice search with the “Ok Google” voice command (just like on Android), it the native feature without the need of the extension will land for all Chrome users soon. Here’s how to enable it: Read more

HP 11.6″ Chromebook LTE model available from Best Buy for $249 ($30 cheaper than the Wi-Fi model)

If you’re looking to give Google’s ChromeOS a try, the 11.6″ HP LTE-equiped Chromebook may be your best option right now. The non-LTE version of the Chromebook usually sells for $279, but the LTE model is actually available now for only $249. The connectivity isn’t the only difference between the two, either. The LTE model comes with 16 GB of flash storage while the more expensive, less-capable version uses a standard hard drive of the same size.

Both come with 2 GB of RAM, a 1.7 GHz Samsung Exynos processor, built-in webcam, support for 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and weigh only 2.3 pounds. Both models are also available in a range of colors. Obviously, the connectivity differs between the two, as the LTE model comes with support for Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Read more

Two new Samsung Chromebooks pop up ahead of official launch

Chromebook-Samsung-11.6

While we’ve yet to get official word on the machines from Samsung, it looks like two new Samsung Chromebooks will be going on sale shortly as retailer B&H begins accepting preorders for the new models. The listings were spotted by OMGChrome (via GigaOM) but since removed.

Presumably replacing the original 11.6-inch Samsung Chromebook model that sells for $249 ($329 with 3G) is an 11.6-inch model starting at $299 featuring a Samsung Exynos 5 SoC and a $399 model with a 13.3-inch display. There isn’t much more information on the new Chromebooks at the moment, but we expect Samsung will announce them once it wraps up its big smartphone announcements at MWC this week.  Read more

Google to announce ‘Nexus’ smartwatch in March, to be released in June at Google I/O

google-watch-2

CNET is reporting that Google is set to announce a smartwatch next month, manufactured by LG (who also manufactured the two most recent Nexus phones). The device is described as the Nexus of smartwatches, with Google controlling the design of software and hardware.

Although Google will announce the product in March, the watch will not be released until June at Google I/O. As 9to5Google reported last year, Google’s smartwatch will revolve around Google Now’s assistant features with voice playing a major role in how users interact with the product.

Read more

Leak shows first Asus Chromebooks coming soon w/ C200 & C300 models

According to new reports pointing to what look like internal strategic documents, Asus appears to be preparing to launch its first Chromebook products in the near future. VR-Zone posted an image (via GigaOM) showing two Chromebook models, the C200 and C300, mentioned in a document titled “ASUS NB Strategy.”

We’ve seen Chromebooks from Acer, Samsung, HP, and more recently Toshiba, but one of Google’s closest OEM partners, Asus, has yet to release one. It’s not that surprising that it plans to, however, as it is already making a Chrome OS device soon to hit the market. Earlier this month the company announced the smallest-ever Chromebox set to go on sale next month starting at $179.

There aren’t any details about when we might be seeing the Chromebooks from Asus or specs for the two models, but of course there is speculation the company could make a hybrid tablet/Chromebook like line of Transformer products.  Read more

Google & VMware bring Windows to enterprise Chromebook users

windows_8_on_chromebook

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

hp-chromebox

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.

Read more

Google disrupts the videoconferencing market with $1000 Chromebox for Meetings

chrome_meetings

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

ASUS Chromebox frontangleS_575px

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

nowshot

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