Acer announces $179 Chromebox appendage, launching late Sep in U.S. and Canada

Acer Chromebox CXI VESA Mount

Some of us are old enough to remember when desktop computers were large towers that you stored under your desk; these days, you can hide the desktop PC behind your monitor.

Acer has today announced a new Chromebox based on its C7 series Chromebook, the Chromebox CXI. The compact format makes it suitable for mounting on a monitor stand …  Read more

Chromecast boasts 400 million casts as it celebrates its 1 year mark w/ 3 months of free Google Play Music All Access

Chromecast 1st birthday

Happy birthday, Chromecast! That’s what Google is saying today as it announced the HDMI media streaming stick has been used to cast content 400 million times in the 12 months since it launched. The Chromecast, of course, allows you to stream content from services like Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora to your HDTV from your Android or iOS as well as your computer via the Chrome browser.

We’ve added hundreds of your favorite apps, including WatchESPN, Pandora, Hulu Plus, HBO GO and PBS Kids; announced new features like mirroring your Android device to the TV and expanded to 30,000 stores across 20 countries.

That’s certainly a lot of casting from the $35 accessory, and Google is giving all Chromecast users 90 days of its Google Play Music All Access service for free to celebrate. The offer to redeem 3 months of free access to the $9.99/month music subscription service will run from today, July 24th, through September 30th, for all existing Chromecast customers not already subscribed to All Access. Read more

New Google Fiber TV box passes through the FCC

Fiber-TV-Box

Google’s Fiber internet and TV services are scarce to say the least, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t working on making improvements to its platform before expanding it to bigger markets. The folks at Zatz Not Funny have uncovered a recent FCC filing for what appears to be a second-generation Fiber TV set-top box. While the listing is light on details, it does reveal that model number GFHD200 is loaded with connectivity options, including 802.11 ac/n WiFi, 10/100 Ethernet, MoCA, Bluetooth and HDMI 1.4.

Read more

Dell announces new $130 HDMI dongle that brings Android to any display

MaxPNG

After witnessing the success of dongles like the Chomecast, Dell has just unveiled its latest accessory, the Wyse Cloud Connect dongle. This accessory will run $130 and be able to connect to any display that offers an HDMI or MHL port. Once the Cloud Connect is connected to the display, users can connect keyboards and mice to it via BlueTooth or mini USB. There’s also a microSD card slot with support for up to 32GB of local storage. The big selling point, however, is that its powered by Android, Jelly Bean to be exact, and offers the full experience on the connected display. Users will have access to the Play Store and all compatible apps within it.

Dell is also touting that the Cloud Connect dongle can remotely access Mac OS X and Windows PCs via Citrix, Microsoft or VMWare virtualization technologies. This option will offer the same experience that we’ve expected with remote access services, but on a larger display and only a small, flash-drive sized dongle. Both the Android and OS X/Windows interfaces will be presented in 1080p quality.

Although, it’s important to note that Dell is main market with the Cloud Connect is businesses and schools. The Cloud Connect management dashboard allows IT administrators to set permissions and easily control what the end user can and cannot access. So this means that things like the Play Store could be heavily restricted for users.

The Wyse Cloud Connect is available on Dell’s website for $130.

Read more

Samsung launches Smartphone GamePad ready for its Galaxy lineup of devices

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 7.45.54 AM

Samsung’s riding the Android game train all the way to the bank with the introduction of the new Smartphone GamePad and Mobile Console app. The GamePad and app are made specifically to “enhance the gaming experience on Samsung’s popular line of Galaxy devices. Launched in response to the rapidly expanding global mobile gaming market, Smartphone GamePad provides consumers with a fun, convenient, and advanced gaming experience anytime, anywhere.”

Read more

Chromecast users can now stream Google Play movies and music direct from the web

movies cast

If you have a Chromecast stick and have purchased movies or music from Google Play, you no longer need to cast them to your TV from your smartphone or tablet – you can now do it directly from the Chrome browser on your PC.

Make sure you have the Google Cast extension installed on your Chrome web browser (http://goo.gl/nzbB6t), and then look for the Cast icon in the Google Play web player. Click it and your movie or song will instantly start playing on your TV through Chromecast …  Read more

Dell to join Acer, HP and Samsung as a Chromebook manufacturer in January

dell

Microsoft’s renewed nervousness about Chromebooks was likely influenced by advance knowledge of Dell’s announcement that it would be joining Acer, HP and Samsung in manufacturing the ultraportable laptops in January.

The machine will have a Celeron 2955U processor, a choice of 2GB or 4GB RAM and 16GB of flash storage. The screen will be an 11-inch 1366×768 display with 720p front-facing webcam. You’ll get two USB 3 sockets plus HDMI in a case less than an inch thick and weighing under three pounds. Battery-life is said to be around 10 hours …  Read more

Hulu Plus app adds support for Chromecast for big-screen viewing

hulu

Google has announced that Hulu has added Chromecast support to its Hulu Plus app, enabling online shows to be viewed on the big screen – something it promised back in July.

Now you can easily enjoy your favorite shows, such as “Modern Family,” “New Girl” and “Parks and Recreation,” on your big-screen TV by casting from Hulu Plus on your mobile phone or tablet. It’s the same intuitive, remote-free experience you’ve come to enjoy with the other Chromecast-supported apps, and is as simple as pressing the Cast button which will now appear in the app …  Read more

The amazing SlimPort will be on the next generation of LG phones too

Analogix, the company behind the SlimPort accessory that allows the Nexus 4 to output HD audio and video via its micro-USB port, today announced the next device to include support for the technology: the LG Optimus G Pro. We noticed SlimPort in the specs when LG just recently announced the quad-core, 5.5-inch, 1080p smartphone, but today Analogix confirmed in a press release it would indeed be a SlimPort-enabled device. The SlimPort technology, demoed by Analogix in the video above, allows users to output 1080p video and audio to any HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA or DVI-enabled TVs, projectors and monitors via its SlimPort accessories. We had a chance to try the technology on a Nexus 4 at CES this year and were very impressed with demos of graphic intensive 3D games running smoothly on the big screen while simultaneously charging the device.

“With SlimPort, LG is able to deliver unprecedented functionality at a lower cost, because of its streamlined design and standard USB connector,” said Dr. Ramchan Woo, division leader/smart phone platform division of LG Mobile Communications Company. “SlimPort unleashes content from the Optimus G Pro smartphone, making it a snap to share and enjoy videos, games, photos and more on any screen.”

The full press release from Analogix is below: Read more

5.5-inch LG Optimus G Pro spy shot and specs leak

There have been rumors of an upcoming Optimus device from LG, dubbed the “Optimus G Pro”.

Official press material for the device leaked last month alongside some specs that included a 5-inch 1,920-by-1,080 display, 1.7Ghz Snapdragon S4 processor, and a 13-megapixel camera. Japanese carriers recently confirmed that device, but today PhoneArena posted images and specs for an Optimus G Pro variant with a 5.5-inch display.

Apart from the slightly larger display on the device pictured above, which could be headed to United States and European Union markets, the majority of the specs for the device are the same as previous leaks.

According to the report, the device will include a 5.5-inch 1,080-by-1,920 full HD IPS-LCD screen, LTE, 2GB of RAM, a 13 megapixel rear camera, 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor. Other specs include a 3,140-mAh battery, microSD card slot, 32GB of onboard storage, and slim port for HDMI out.

There’s a good chance we’ll get our first official look at the device next month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Read more

HP unveils 14-inch Pavilion Chromebook, now available for $329

HP Pavilion 14-c01us Chromebook

We posted a leaked spec sheet late last month that showed off what appeared to be an upcoming 14-inch Chromebook from HP. HP has officially announced the new Chromebook today. While it might have a 14-inch display two inches wider than any other Chromebook, it also happens to be more expensive than Samsung’s latest offering at $329. That’s significantly more than Samsung’s latest $249 model.

HP offered up full specs on the device that is available to order through the company’s website now. Not only is the HP Pavilion 14-c01us Chromebook more expensive, it’s also heavier than Samsung’s offering at 4lbs compared to 2.5lbs. Battery life is unfortunately the same story with an approximate 4.25 hours quoted compared to the 6.5 hours Samsung’s Chromebook offers. If you can get past that, the new HP device packs in a 14-inch diagonal HD BrightView LED-backlit (1,366-by-768-pixel), 1.1GHz Intel Celeron 847 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB SATA SSD, HDMI, USB 2.0, as well as an Ethernet port.

The Samsung Chromebook has been the top-selling laptop on Amazon since it launched; Acer reported that Chromebooks make up 5-10% of US shipments; and in the first two months of 2013 Google announced two new devices from two new partners, Lenovo and HP. In the Enterprise, Google just announced 2,000 schools have deployed Chromebooks and businesses like Kaplan, Dillard’s and Quality Distribution are using Chrome devices as well.

HP’s hoping consumers will opt for the larger display, keyboard, and additional ports for the extra $80, but we’re not too excited about the battery life.