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Chromebooks To Sync Custom Wallpapers, and May Get a Power Saver App #chromeweekender

We are starting this week’s #chromeweekender with a rumour. I am not really sure about this commit that I found on the Chromium code, so decided not to write a post dedicated to it. I am adding it to the list of weekend news bits hoping that someone will read the code and tell me more about it.

chrome news  Chromebooks To Sync Custom Wallpapers, and May Get a Power Saver App #chromeweekender

Let’s get started.

The New Acer CB3-111 Chromebook is now Available From Amazon

The newest Chromebook from Acer,  Acer CB3-111 is now available from Amazon USA. This is the Intel Bay Trail processor  2GB of RAM model which retails at $199.99, a neat price point.

chromebook  The New Acer CB3 111 Chromebook is now Available From Amazon

Here is the specs list:

  • Screen Size 11.6 inches
  • Max Screen Resolution 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Processor 2.16 GHz Intel Celeron
  • RAM 2 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • Hard Drive 16 GB
  • Graphics Coprocessor Intel HD Graphics
  • Wireless Type 802.11 A/C
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports 1
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports 1
  • Average Battery Life (in hours) 8.5 hours

A light, fan-less and entry level Chromebook, if you are looking for something around $200 range. Order one from here. (affiliate link)

Thank you Brent Sullivan for this info and this great Chromebook tracking doc, all the information you need about new Chromebooks.

Chromebooks Getting a Dedicated Audio Player App [Future Feature]

I copied and pasted the title from one of my previous blog posts about the Video Player app and edited it for this post, because this is almost the same news, this time for Audio.

chromebook  Chromebooks Getting a Dedicated Audio Player App [Future Feature]

Chrome OS has a video player app now, but audio player is still a part of the Files app. (It has its own app icon though)

chromebook  Chromebooks Getting a Dedicated Audio Player App [Future Feature]

The media player and the gallery were separated and made standalone apps. They are doing this now for the audio player.

The Files app handles audio for now, but with this change (hoping that it will make it to Chrome OS) there will be two separate apps for audio and video.

And it is good. After separating from the Files app, Google added more capabilities to the new media player app and the gallery app. Media player got Chromecast support, and the Gallery got better editing capabilities. So, it is safe to assume that the new Audio player will bring in new features, may be even Google Play Music support.

Here is the official commit log (This is not saying much of course!):

Separate the audio player app from Files.app

Start guessing what’s coming to the new audio player app, shall we?

Special thanks to Mike McLoughlin for the help!

A Virtual Display on Chrome OS [Future Feature]

Here is something interesting future feature that is coming to Chrome OS. Virtual display. Since the commit log for this feature is very detailed and provides a pretty neat explanation of what is planned, I will just copy and paste that here.

chromebook  A Virtual Display on Chrome OS [Future Feature]

Add support for a virtual display on ChromeOS

The purpose of this feature is to extend the desktop capture functionality by
allowing the creation of a virtual screen at capture request time. The use case
here is to mimic, with e.g. a Chrome Cast, the behaviour that can be achieved
with a physically connected projector i.e that a presenter can have slides
showing whilst keeping notes on their own private screen.

The “Virtual Screen” appears as entry in the display picker, with a new
DesktopMediaID type. In the DesktopCaptureDeviceAura if an item of this type is
requested for capture the virtual screen is enabled in the DisplayConfigurator
and the resulting Aura root window used for capture.

Gaps:
- How to behave when there is already a 2nd display (just disable the ability
to create a virtual screen?)
- Chrome Cast currently uses getUserMedia directly rather than using
chrome.desktopCapture
- Should there be a new enum value “virtual” in DesktopCaptureSourceType in the
desktopCapture API.
- No thumbnail for the virtual screen as we only create it after the fact.

BUG=None
TEST=Use desktopCapture example extension, choose the Virtual Screen when
prompted and observe a new virtual display is created. When the capture is
stopped observe that the virtual display disappears.

So, you get the idea. A virtual display inside your display. When you are presenting something to your Chromecast or a projector, you can have a display (virtual) on the projected screen, and your own private/original display on the Chromebook.

Source: Chromium Code.

You Can Soon Remotely Connect To Your Chromebook

Chrome OS has a Remote Desktop app now which lets you connect to your Windows, OSX or Linux computers. With this new feature that is in the Canary Channel of Chrome OS gives the ability to connect from any of these computers to your Chromebook.

This feature is available in the canary channel behind the flag “#enable-remote-assistance”, and is not fully functional yet.

One more thing. This not being advertised as a Remote Desktop feature, but Remote Assistance. More like, when you have an issue with your Chromebook, give access to someone to connect to your Chromebook and troubleshoot it for you.

chromebook  You Can Soon Remotely Connect To Your Chromebook

Details are still sketchy, so we will have to wait for this to take shape. I will give this a try as soon as it is available in the developer channel, and update you all if I find something interesting.

Thanks Mike McLoughlin

Google Releases New Hangouts for Chrome with Chat Heads

This one looks more like the Facebook Messenger for Desktop. Really.

Google released a new Hangouts app for Chrome today, which looks better and works better, provided you like chat heads.  This is not an upgrade to the existing Hangouts app, but a new app altogether.

chrome extensions  Google Releases New Hangouts for Chrome with Chat Heads

chrome extensions  Google Releases New Hangouts for Chrome with Chat Heads

Now, do not jump into any conclusions about chat heads comparing it with your experience on the phone. I have disabled Facebook’s chat heads feature on my phone. I did not like it. However, when it is on my Chromebook where I have enough screen space to spare for chat heads and chat windows, this is a different experience, and I have started liking it.

Here is a video demo!

You can download and install it from here. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts!

Here is The Second Set of Android Apps for Chrome OS

I was hoping that Flipboard will be one of them. But now, they decided to go with these three:

  • CloudMagic: CloudMagic is an award winning email app for your Android phone, tablet and now on your Chromebook.
  • Onefootball: Onefootball is the most comprehensive Football App to stay up to date with all the latest football news, live scores, results, transfers and more from your favourite team and all other clubs around the world
  • Podcast Addict: With Podcast Addict, manage all your audio & video Podcasts as well as your YouTube channels and News feeds from your device.

I am using Pocket Casts for Podcasts, to I will not be using any of these three. CloudMagic looks good, but I don’t look at my work email much after I leave the office. But if you have a few emails accounts that you need to be watching, this is a great app.

chromebook  Here is The Second Set of Android Apps for Chrome OS

What I really want is Flipboard Google. Please!

via OMG UbuntuOMG Ubuntu

Google Launches New Chromebooks For Work Subscription – $50/Year

Note: Do not get confused, this does not include a Chromebook, this is just the admin panel and other features for $50 a year.

Google had schools and businesses in mind when they started pushing Chromebooks commercially. I am not saying consumer market was ignored, but they had a preference for education and enterprise markets.

chromebook  Google Launches New Chromebooks For Work Subscription   $50/Year

The school thing worked out well. More and more schools are deploying Chromebooks. However, the momentum on the enterprise side of things are not as fast as Google had wanted.

Here is one more attempt from Google to make this push happen. A simpler subscription model.

After listing out a variety of enterprise-friendly features, the Chrome Blog says:

More flexibility on pricing: Starting today, customers can purchase all of these advanced features, management, and support through a new annual subscription option of $50 per device per year. This new pricing option is available first in the US and Canada, with more regions to follow. We’re also supporting licensing portability, which means if you lose or replace a Chromebook you can easily apply your existing license to a new device.

You can see device specific pricing here. When you buy a Chromebook with the Chromebooks for Work program, you get the first year’s service free, saving $50.

Will this help Google increase the momentum in the enterprise market? Or, should they keep adding enterprise-friendly features to make these offerings compelling to companies?

Thoughts?

Android Apps on Chromebooks; Toshiba Leaks a Few Things We Already Know

Toshiba has leaked a couple of things about Android apps on Chrome OS. We know about most of these things already, but I still find these two tidbits interesting.

We already know that Chrome OS is getting Android apps. We know about the a bunch of official ports, and about hacks that let us port any Android app to Chrome OS, hacks that let us port any Android app to Chrome OS. Toshiba’s website has some more stuff on this.

Take a look at this screenshot first:

chromebook  Android Apps on Chromebooks; Toshiba Leaks a Few Things We Already Know

 

Now, let us concentrate first on the phrase “Android Synergy”

Synergy: the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.

Is this an official phrase, the name that Google is going to call the Chrome OS + Android thing? Or is this something that Toshiba’s PR guys came up with?

Second thing is more exciting to me than the first. Flipboard is listed as one of the apps coming to Chrome OS. Well, I love Flipboard! That was the only app that I used to test the Chrome OS port. If the next wave of Android apps includes Flipboard,  I’ll call it AWESOME!

But for now, this is just a leak. We will have to wait and watch to see how this goes.

via OMG Ubuntu.

Google Chrome for iOS Updated with Support for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Google Chrome on iOS was not a pleasant experience for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users. I do not own an iPhone 6 or 6 plus, but  from what I gather, the screen size was a bummer for apps that are not optimized for the new sizes.

Google has fixed that today with an update with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus support. Here is the official list of changes:

  • Better support for iPhone 6 and 6+.
  • Download and open files in Google Drive.
  • Stability improvements and bug fixes.

chrome news  Google Chrome for iOS Updated with Support for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

This version has a “notable” security fix as well:

[413831] Low CVE-2014-3187: Issue with facetime and facetime-audio URL schemes. Credit to Matias Brutti.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners, congratulations on your new phone, and hope this update makes your life a little better!