Intel announces conflict-free computer micro-processors, starting with those in new Chromebooks

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In addition to the new ChromeOS and Intel-based ChromeBook announcements this morning, Intel announced an important new manufacturing initiative for its computer microprocessors. The company announced via a video that it will be moving production of its processors to completely lack conflict materials. These new chips, including the more efficient Bay Trail, will be conflict free in the new ChromeBooks. Intel’s video explicitly mentions materials such as gold, tungsten, and tin coming from war zones in the Congo. The video says that Intel is choosing to completely revamp its processor manufacturing operations and to assist these zones rather than abandoning them and moving to already conflict-free zones for sourcing materials.

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‘Easy Unlock’ feature could soon come to Chrome OS, automatically unlocks your Chromebook if your phone is nearby

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Android Police has spotted a new feature in the Chrome OS dev channel that could one day allow users to unlock devices running Chrome OS by simply having their phone near the computer. The feature, which is still in a very early beta, is dubbed “Easy Unlock.” With this feature, your Chromebook could sense when your phone is nearby and Easy Unlock would automatically unlock the Chromebook, preventing the need to enter your password.

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HP 11.6″ Chromebook LTE available from Best Buy for $199

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If you’ve been wanting to try a Chromebook, but have held off due to their need for an internet connection, Best Buy might have a remedy for your dilemma. The blue and yellow big box is currently knocking $100 off HP’s 11.6″ LTE Chromebook, bringing its asking price to $199. The device is backed by Verizon’s LTE network, you’ll pretty much have internet access anywhere in the US.

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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.

In wide-ranging interview, Google’s Sundar Pinchai downplays Android/Chrome I/O announcements

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I’m not going to lie, this is a bit depressing. Among other boilerplate-type of answers to good questions that Wired’s Steven Levey threw at him, Sundar Pinchai said:

What can we expect from I/O this year?

It’s going to be different. It’s not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system. Both on Android and Chrome, we’re going to focus this I/O on all of the kinds of things we’re doing for developers, so that they can write better things. We will show how Google services are doing amazing things on top of these two platforms.

We’ll be on hand this week to see exactly what that means.

Some other tidbits from the interview: On Firefox OS: “It isn’t surprising. If we don’t do ChromeOS, someone else will”. On Google-branded hardware: “Any hardware projects we do will be to push the ecosystem forward”. Read more