Chrome OS Improvements!
Google’s currently in the process of detailing Chrome OS at Google IO, latest improvements and more are being showcased: Netflix and Hulu support will be available as well as two new netbooks one from Samsung and one from Acer. An improved file manager has also been added to the upcoming version of Chrome OS, plus offline versions of Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. Which will all will be made available for Chromebook users this summer. You can learn more about these improvements in the video after the break.
Far more monumental, Google’s also just announced the cost of these Chromebooks and there’s no upfront payment. Instead, Chrome OS laptops will be distributed on the basis of a recurring monthly subscription kind of like a mobile Phone contract in the UK, which will cost $28 Around £20 per user for businesses and $20 around £13 per user for schools. That includes regular software and hardware upgrades. Great!
Far more monumental, Google’s also just announced the cost of these Chromebooks and there’s no upfront payment to speak of. Instead, Chrome OS laptops will be distributed on the basis of a recurring monthly subscription, which will cost $28 per user for businesses and $20 per user for schools. That includes regular software and hardware upgrades. Hardware as a service, folks!
In among all the hard news of today’s second Google I/O keynote, we were treated to a tease of a Google Chrome OS nettop, which to our ears sounded like it was called a Chromebox. What we’ve no doubt about is that Google is planning a desktop version of its web-centric OS, which — together with that Samsung-branded computer above — is going to be showing up at some point in our collective future. Light on details, but rich on intrigue, just the way we like it.
Google just showed off a new 11.6-inch Chromebook from Acer at Google I/O promising an eight second boot time with an Intel Atom N570 CPU, 16GB SDD, instant-on, two USB ports, webcam, HDMI and 6.5 hour battery life. It’s cheaper than the Samsung Series 5 also announced, starting at $349 with optional world-mode 3G available for more cash and will be available for preorder on the same day — June 15th from Amazon and Best Buy. Check more details at the source link below, with pics in the gallery and specs are after the break.
Rumors told us what, when and even how much to expect, but Google just made it official on stage — Chrome OS netbooks are finally here, and Samsung is leading the way with a ultra-slim 0.79-inch thin machine. This is the Samsung Series 5 ChromeBook, which plays to Google’s new standard “Chromebook” spec –in short means they’ll each come with a dual-core Intel Atom processor and an “all-day” battery, which Google says will provide 8.5 hours of continuous usage here. Samsung’s particular clamshell will have a 12.1-inch, 1280 x 800, 300 nit screen, weigh 3.26 pounds and come with dual-band 802.11 WiFi, optional global 3G, two USB 2.0 ports, an HD webcam and a clickable trackpad that Google tells us has thankfully been revamped since the CR-48. You’ll be able to purchase one from Amazon or Best Buy beginning June 15th. It’ll cost $429 for the WiFi version and $499 for worldwide 3G — which includes 100MB of free Verizon data per month, just like the CR-48. PR after the break.
Update: Amazon’s Series 5 listing details some additional specs — we’re looking at a dual-core 1.66GHz Intel Atom N570 chip, a 1 megapixel webcam, and a 16GB mSATA solid state drive here, as well as an SDXC card reader, and VGA-out via an “optional” dongle.
Yet another platform has been conquered by the affronted fowl: the web! Angry Birds‘ web client is built in WebGL, so presumably browsers other than Google’s Chrome should be able to run it as well, and even if you can’t handle WebGL, there’s Canvas support too. 60fps are promised on most modern PCs, and we’ve spotted SD and HD labels, suggesting there’ll be a choice of quality to match your computer’s performance. Offline gaming will also be available.
Chrome will get some exclusive content, such as “Chrome bombs” and other cutesy bits. Rovio just noted it’s “really, really happy about the 5 percent,” referring to Google’s pricing model of charging a flat fee of 5 percent to developers on in-app purchases in the Chrome Web Store. Yes, the Mighty Eagle will be a purchasable option for the impatient among you. The game will be available in the Store immediately after Google’s I/O 2011 keynote, so look out for it shortly.
Update: And the Angry Birds have landed. Hit up the source link below to obtain the free app.
Google has just announced that it’s making the Chrome Web Store available to the “entire userbase of Chrome” — all 160 million, according to the company’s latest numbers — and in 41 different languages no less, although those outside the current markets will apparently only have access to free apps initially. What’s more, it’s also now added in-app purchases to the mix — which it notes developers can add to their apps with “literally one line of code” — and it’s announced that it plans to “keep it simple” by simply charging developers a flat five percent fee instead of opting for some of the more complicated fee structures out there. As for how the Web Store has been doing so far, Google revealed that there has been 17 million app installs to date, although it provided few details beyond that.
No, you aren’t losing your mind. You’re really tuned in to the second Google keynote in as many days, and if we had to guess, we’d say Chrome and / or Chrome OS will take top billing. Things haven’t started just yet, but your patience (or impatience) is greatly appreciated. Have a look below to see when things get going!
06:30AM – Hawaii
09:30AM – Pacific
10:30AM – Mountain
11:30AM – Central
12:30PM – Eastern
05:30PM – London
06:30PM – Paris
08:30PM – Moscow / Dubai
12:30AM – Perth (May 12th)
12:30AM – Shenzhen (May 12th)
01:30AM – Tokyo (May 12th)
02:30AM – Sydney (May 12th)
It’s been a while since we first laid eyes upon this rugged little guy, but Motion Computing’s CL900 tablet is finally available for orders, starting at $899. Designed with enterprise markets in mind, the 2.1-pound Windows 7 slate runs on a 1.5GHz Intel Oak Trail Atom Z670 processor and rocks a 10.1-inch, 1366×768 multi-touch display that’s shielded in Corning Gorilla Glass. Seated atop that display is a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, with a 3.0-megapixel sensor keeping watch over the backside. Boasting a thickness of 15.5mm, the device also offers up to 2GB of RAM (along with a 30GB or 62GB SSD), promises a battery life of up to eight hours and houses a USB port, SD card slot and Bluetooth 3.0 module. For now, the CL900 is only available at select retailers, though Motion is selling peripherals and accessories directly from its site. Check out the source links for more details.
LifeFitness may have taken one too many creative liberties with its Cyberbike Wii accessory, but it did a laudable job of redeeming itself at Google I/O this week. The outfit brought a USB-equipped exercise bike to the show floor, where an Open Accessory-enabled Nexus S promptly stole the show. We were shown a demo of the CardioQuest app interfacing with the cycle over the aforementioned protocol; the bike itself had a heretofore unreleased firmware update installed that allowed it to interact with the phone, and we’re told that said update will be available free of charge to existing customers in the coming weeks.
As was announced yesterday during the opening keynote, the Android Open Accessory API is currently only capable of handling communications over USB, but that didn’t stop a clever game from keeping a booth representative mighty busy. The gist is pretty simple — pedal harder to move the Android up, and relax your stride to see him float down. The goal is to avoid the surrounding walls, while also keeping your mind from focusing on the fact that you’re actually burning calories. Mum’s the word on whether or not this particular app will ever make it into the Android Market, but there’s a video of the chaos waiting just after the break, regardless.
If you asked us to design our ideal Android phone, it might well end up looking like LG’s Optimus Black. The handset that was once known under the codename “B” features a clean, elegant and exceedingly thin exterior, which is garnished with a 4-inch IPS display capable of generating 700 nits of brightness. There’s the usual litany of added features, too, like a 5 megapixel shooter with the ability to record 720p video, a special G-Key for motion controls, and Wi-Fi Direct for peer-to-peer file transfers. Of course, looks and headline features are just the tip of the iceberg that is user experience, so if you want to know about the mountainous whole, join us after the break for a deep dive with LG’s latest Android phone.
Google said yesterday that the new limited edition Galaxy Tab 10.1 would be getting updated to Android 3.1 in the next couple of weeks, and it looks like it will be a similar situation with the WiFi-only Xoom. Motorola has just announced that it will receive the update “within the next several weeks.” It also reaffirmed that the Verizon 3G Xoom is rolling out over the air this week, so you should be receiving it soon if you haven’t already. Full press release is after the break.
Residents of SoCal’s Torrance should consider themselves lucky, as they’re now living in America’s first-ever city to have a pipelined hydrogen-fueling station. You can thank Shell and Toyota for picking up this government-funded green project. Sure, while the few other hydrogen stations still rely on delivery by supply truck (presumably running on diesel, ironically), this nevertheless marks a new milestone for our squeaky clean fuel, and it’s only a matter of time before more stations get piped up to Air Products’ hydrogen plants. If there’s any indication of a time frame, Wired reminds us that 2015 should see the arrival of many new mass-market hydrogen cars from Toyota, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz. Not long to go now, fellow tree huggers.
Sure, it looks just about like every other Arduino board found at Maker Faire, but this one’s special. How so? It’s Google-branded, and not only that, but Google-endorsed. Shortly after the search giant introduced its Android Open Accessory standard and ADK reference hardware, a smattering of companies were already demonstrating wares created around it. Remote-control robots? Check. Nexus S-controlled gardens? Check. A laughably large Labyrinth? Double check. It’s already clear that the sky’s the limit with this thing, and we’re as eager as anyone to see ‘em start floating out to more developers. Have a look in the gallery for close-ups of the guts, and peek past the break for a video of the aforementioned Xoom-dictated Labyrinth.
Man, Lenovo isn’t even trying to keep the ThinkPad X1 under wraps anymore. The slinky new MacBook Air competitor has just slipped out in a video commercial on the company’s own YouTube channel, where it shows off a keyboard that’s both backlit and spill-resistant, and a Gorilla Glass screen that is apparently girlfriend-proof. See the video after the break and circle May 17th as your acquisition date if you’re after one — that’s when Lenovo promises the X1 will be arriving.
We made a few predictions about Google’s (then-presumed) music service in our streaming roundup last week, and thanks to the inability of an undisclosed amount of labels to take a whiff of whatever El Goog was cooking, it looks as if we’ve been left with something less robust, but nevertheless intriguing. It’s worth taking a glance at our team editorial on Music Beta by Android to get a feel of what could’ve been, but the reality is this: what was launched today is what we’ve been dealt, and now it’s time to break things down and see how it actually functions in practice.
Care to have a look at a full installation walkthrough, problem reports and two more pennies on how the service stacks up? That, along with tips on fulfilling your hopes and dreams, are tucked away just after the break.
Early previews of a new update for the Boxee Box mentioned a couple of different version numbers, but now the company has settled on v1.1 for the software update (sorry, still nothing for PCs) it’s rolling out over the next few days with a slew of new features. VP of Marketing Andrew Kippen confirms the “huge browser update” he’d mentioned earlier is included with the following features: favorites, history, a better UI to show more of the picture and include more options, plus expanded HTML5 capabilities that should fix login problems for HBO Go. There’s no mention of iPad support, but the whole on screen display has been trimmed with a new seek bar for more precise FF/Rewind action, along with support for customized local metadata and NFO files, a new MLB.tv app and two new content partners including the worst TV channel ever and SnagFilms. One thing that’s been removed? Volume controls, which Boxee says “improves consistency” and makes it the same as any standard Blu-ray player. As usual, the update will be issued automatically, but if you just can’t wait you can force it manually, check the source links for details, more screenshots and a full changelog.
This comes from the same touchy-feely Kajimoto lab in Japan that brought us the tactile kiss transmission device and we totally see where they’re going with it: maximum sensation, minimum effort. You only have to exert the gentlest of pressures on this prototype touch pad and it zaps your fingertip with little electrical signals, mimicking the feeling of sliding your finger over a surface. We imagine it’s a bit like the little red pointing stick in the middle of a Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard, for example, but with the addition of “position-dependent data input” to create the illusion that your finger is actually touching different areas of the screen. For now though, if you don’t mind stretching a finger to your old-stylee mouse or trackpad, then check out the video after the break.
As the resident Engadget home automation nerd, Google’s Android@Home announcement rocked my little low-powered RF world yesterday. Seeing a brand like Google get behind home automation is the stuff I’ve been dreaming about ever since Nokia dipped a toe into the tepid Z-Wave waters back in 2008. Unfortunately, Nokia abandoned its Home Control Center ambitions shortly thereafter, leaving the industry in the hands of such consumer powerhouses as Zensys, Sigma Designs, ExpressControls, AMX Corp, Control 4, Echelon, and Jung. Heard of them? No, no you haven’t, and that’s my point.
Home automation has long suffered from the lack of a consumer-centric approach. Consumer electronics companies have almost universally come around to the new mantra of user experience. Most companies have finally awoken from their deep eighties slumber to realize that a single product can no longer dominate an industry on its own — the age of the Walkman is over. For success, a product must encompass great software, great services, hardware that just works, and stellar support when it doesn’t. In short, the user experience is what sets the product apart. Home automators have yet to realize this but Google’s announcement could force the issue.
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The amount of traffic smartphones accounted for worldwide, according to AdMob.
AdMob’s February report showed a 10 percent gain in overall smartphone usage, up from 35 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2010.