Chrome 73 was released earlier this month, and following the usual two-week delay, the Chrome operating system has been updated to match. Chrome OS 73 isn’t as substantial as the previous Chrome OS update, but there are still a few nice additions.
Google Drive offline sync
Since Chromebooks have been built from the ground up as always-online machines, basic offline features from other operating systems weren’t high up on the list of priorities. Read MoreChrome OS 73 adds Google Drive offline sync, audio focus for Android apps, and more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Earlier today, our buds over at Chrome Unboxed spotted a new progressive web app by Google called Chrome Canvas. It’s a very simple sketching/doodling app that works best on devices like Chromebooks with stylus-based input, but it will also run on your desktop or phone. The new app is showing up as an installed app on some Chromebooks running Dev and Canary channels, but you can pull it down manually on other devices right now. Read MoreGoogle Chrome Canvas PWA brings low-latency doodling to Chromebooks, Android, and even your desktop was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
For as exciting as product announcements can be, especially when we’re getting hands-on time with some brand-new gear, they also have the potential to be incredibly frustrating. At Google’s October event, we got to meet devices like the new Pixel 3 and 3XL, as well as the Home Hub smart display — and it wasn’t too long after their introduction that shoppers could take that hardware home. Sadly, the situation’s a bit different for the Pixel Slate, and while Google went official with its Chrome OS tablet last month, it held back on talking about sales in terms any more temporally precise than “later this year.” As we wait for the Slate to land, we just passed a major waypost on the path to retail sales, with the tablet showing off its certification docs at the FCC. Read MorePixel Slate pops up at the FCC as we (maybe not so) patiently wait for sales to open was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Chrome 70 was released on desktop platforms and Android earlier this month. Now it’s time for Chromebooks to get the update, with a few added enhancements — like a new UI geared at tablet use and support for Android app shortcuts.
The most important change in Chrome OS 70 is the new tablet-friendly UI. The quick settings menu looks far more like Android’s, and the app shelf (taskbar) is now centered with larger icons. Read MoreChrome OS 70 rolling out with UI tweaks, floating keyboard, and app shortcuts was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Google’s Chrome OS and Chromebooks have been around for years, but Google is hitting the reset button with the unveiling of the Google Pixel Slate. The new tablet offers a completely new experience, giving users productivity in a more mobile form factor. The Slate is thin and light with rounded edges and a balanced bezel on all sides, making it the perfect device for surfing the web or sitting back and enjoying your media. It’s a far cry from the utilitarian Chromebooks of the past and feels significantly friendlier than last year’s Pixel Book.
The body of the Pixel Salte is a bit thicker than 7mm and weighs 1.6 pounds which is thinner and lighter than most other 12-inch tablets on the market. The display features a resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 pixels with a new technology which allows electrons to move 100 times faster than they do in a standard display. The Slate also features stereo speakers which direct the audio directly at the user. You also get 2 USB-C posts so that you can plug in multiple accessories (in addition to the keyboard port on the bottom. Unfortunately, there’s no 3.mm headphone jack, so you’ll need to use Bluetooth or USB-C headphones if you want to enjoy your music or video without disturbing others, but Google is kind enough to include a 3.5mm to USB-C headphone adapter in the box. And for extra security, the power button on the side also doubles as a fingerprint sensor.
The official Pixel Slate keyboard features full-sized backlit keys which are round and quiet. It also includes a full-sized trackpad. The folio design of the keyboard allows you to use the Slate at different angles thanks to a magnetic connection between the tablet and the keyboard. And when you’re done with your work, the keyboard then folds over the front of the Pixel Slate to act as a protective cover.
The cheapest Pixel Slate model starts at $599 with an 8th Gen Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. That being said there are a lot of configuration options available which max out at $1599 with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Needless to say, the pixel Slate can pack a punch, as long as you’re willing to spend the cash.
With its front and rear 8MP cameras, the Pixel Slate also uses Google’s computational photography tech so that you can take amazing images. Users will also be able to take portrait shots an have the background of the image digitally blurred. The front camera also comes with a wide angle lens and improved low light photo and video capture making ideal for video conferencing.
The software experience is pretty much what you’re come to experience with new Chrome OS devices. You have split screen support, integrated Google Assistant. And App launcher which suggest which apps you might be looking for, Android and Linus app support. That being said, the Pixel Slate will jump into a “tablet” mode when the keyboard is not connected. This means that your windowed apps expand to full-screen mode, but things switch back to the standard windowed view as soon as you’re docked with a keyboard again.
Google’s official Pixel Slate Keyboard will set you back $199 and the tablet is also compatible with the $99 Pixel Pen. Google will start selling the Pixel Salte and its accessories later this year in the US, Canada and the UK.
The long-awaited Linux support for Chromebooks has just hit the Stable channel. According to the Chrome Releases blog, the consumer-facing release channel is in the midst of being updated to v69, which includes Linux application support — at least, on supported devices. The update also includes other features, such as a refreshed UI for browsing the filesystem, expanded dictation support for text entry, red-tinted Night Light, and some tablet-centric tweaks (among other smaller changes). Read MoreChrome OS v69 stable introduces Linux app compatibility, finalized Material Design changes was written by the awesome team at Android Police.