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14 Dec 12 Google Nexus 10 Reviews From Critics And Users: Great Tablet, Just Needs …


(Photo : Google) The new Google Nexus 10 tablet.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a 10-inch tablet, two contenders should be at the top of your list: the Apple iPad and the Google-Samsung Nexus 10. While Apple’s iPad is a given smart choice, it would be wise to see what the Nexus 10 has to offer. Here’s what reviewers and users are saying about the Nexus 10. 

Reviewers

For the most part, reviewers gave the Nexus 10 solid praise, with few complaints. 

“The Google Nexus 10 is a tablet that’s near impossible not to like. It has the best screen on the market and is first to bring the new generation chipsets,” said GSMArena in its review. “If you are looking for an Android tablet and you don’t have a special use of a stylus-enabled Galaxy Note 10.1, the Nexus 10 would be the straightforward recommendation. It’s easily among the best and most complete tablets on the market at a price point that’s just hard to beat.”

“Working this time with Samsung, the Nexus 10 is a good alternative to the iPad. I’ve been using it for the past week, and I love the gorgeous display and design. The latest Android software also brings some nice extras, such as enhanced voice search and support for multiple users. Plus, it’s $100 less than the latest iPad, at $399 for the 16 gigabyte Wi-Fi model and $499 for the 32GB Wi-Fi version,” says Bonnie Cha from AllThingsD

The only real complaint reviewers generally had was about the lack of tablet-tailored Android apps. It seems that there simply isn’t enough apps out there taking advantage of the Nexus 10.

Website TheVerge gave the Nexus 10 a score of 8.3 out of 10 and stated that, “Yes, the Nexus 10 wins on price – $399 for this incredible display is a nice deal. But consider the extra $100 you’ll spend to get the iPad an entry fee to the App Store, and its many apps and accessories that just aren’t available to the Nexus 10. Google’s now proven conclusively that it can design great Android hardware, but until developers prove they can design great Android software it’s still hard to recommend the Nexus 10 over an iPad.”

Users

Nexus 10 owners seem to be ecstatic about their device, and are content with having the 10-inch Android tablet over the much more popular iPad. 

“What can I say? This is my 4th tablet I have owned since the craze began. Without a doubt this Nexus 10 is the best, even better than my iPad 3. Just everything about this tablet is superb! The build quality is simply fantastic and feel sooo good to hold (something my iPad completely fails in),” writes Inquisitor78 on CNET.

Econ_Andy shares a similar opinion of the Nexus 10. 

“‘I’ve been very happy with my purchase. It’s great value for me reading, browsing, using netflix and facebook etc., basic text editing and spreadsheets. This tablet is such an improvement to any other 10″ Android tablet I’ve seen. I tried my friends iPad 3 and I’d say it definitely raises on that one.

The only real complaint on the user side seems to be the slow battery and lack of expandable storage. While Google does offer cloud-based storage services, most users would prefer to upgrade their storage capacities past 32GB.

Let us know which one you prefer – the Apple iPad or the Google Nexus 10.  

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Article source: http://www.latinospost.com/articles/8178/20121213/google-nexus-10-reviews-critics-users-great.htm

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19 Jun 12 Samsung Series 5 550 Review: The Case for Google’s New …


Jared Newman / TIME.com

Why buy a laptop that runs nothing but a web browser, when you could buy a laptop that runs everything? That’s the question that comes up in pretty much every debate about Chromebooks — a series of stripped-down laptops that are merely vessels for Google’s Chrome web browser.

Unlike Windows PCs or Macs, Chromebooks cannot install any software. If you can’t access it through the web browser, you can’t run it on a Chromebook.

What you can’t do defines so much of the Chromebook experience — the laptops have very little local storage as well — that the existence of the products has been tough to justify. This was especially true with the first generation of Chromebooks from 2011, which were so underpowered that they couldn’t even provide a decent web browsing experience.

But now there’s a new Chromebook on the market that fixes many of the old ones’ problems. It’s fast enough to handle dozens of tabs across multiple windows. It’s got an excellent trackpad and keyboard. The Chrome OS software has been refined, so it rarely gets in the way of surfing the web. Best of all, the price is a mere $450 for the Wi-Fi model. (A 3G-equipped version with 100 MB of free Verizon data per month costs $550.)

During the E3 trade show in Los Angeles this month, I used a loaner Chromebook — built by Samsung and dubbed the Series 5 550 — as my primary laptop. I took notes on the Chromebook during press conferences and filed my stories through the WordPress blogging platform. When I needed to edit an image, I used the online photo editor Pixlr. I brought my three year-old Windows laptop as a security blanket, but never used it.

In the end, I was convinced that I’d happily ditch my Windows-based travel laptop in favor of a Chromebook.

Understand that I’m very close to the ideal user that Google envisions. Chrome is already my browser of choice, and I rarely use native applications. When possible, I prefer web apps, because they don’t clog up my system and they reside in my existing browser windows for easy access. If I need a document editor, I can get by with Google Docs. The Chromebook required no major tweaks to my work routine.

The latest version of Chrome OS includes some big changes that make the Chromebook more useful. Browser windows now reside in a desktop-like setting, so you can resize them, minimize them and place multiple windows side-by-side. Users can also pin their favorite web apps to the bottom taskbar for easy access alongside other browser windows.

The hardware is attractive too, with an aluminum shell and palm rest that give the Chromebook a hint of MacBook-like quality. (Much of the laptop, however, is clad in plastic.) The island-style keyboard is firm and responsive, and although the jumbo matte trackpad isn’t as smooth as the MacBook’s glass panel, it’s not as jerky as the trackpads on so many run-of-the-mill Windows laptops. The Chromebook’s speakers — usually a throwaway feature on laptops — are loud and rich enough to hear the bassline while listening to music.

The only major pain point on the new Chromebook is its 12.1-inch display, whose resolution is a measly 1280-800 pixels. It’s not a dealbreaker — and the matte screen was great at fending off outdoor glare — but when on-screen text runs small, it can be tough to read.

Other nitpicks: I wish the web app list in Chrome OS showed up in new tabs as it does in the desktop version of Chrome, instead of in a separate menu that I never got used to visiting. Also, when you’ve got a pinned app open already, it’d be nice if clicking the pinned icon led you to the relevant tab instead of opening a new tab every time.

On a few occasions, Chrome OS crashed, requiring a hard reboot by holding down the power button. In one instance, a website didn’t recognize my version of Chrome as a supported browser. (I got around this with an extension that tells websites a different browser is in use.)

I should also note that the original review unit Google sent had problems staying connected to Wi-Fi for more than 15 minutes at a time. One other reviewer, at PCWorld, had the same issue, but a Samsung representative said she was unaware of any other reported problems. After ruling out that it was a problem on my end, Google sent a second unit, which had no problems, so I’m assuming this was a freak defect.

Small gripes aside, the new Chromebook was light, fast, and quick to resume from standby, which made it an excellent travel companion. But back to the original question: Why limit yourself to a browser-based PC in the first place?

You need only look to Apple for the answer. Apple is successful because it builds its hardware to carry out the goals of its software. And that’s exactly what Google and Samsung have done with the new Chromebook. Gone is the clutter that you get with a traditional laptop–things like the row of F1 through F12 keys that you never use, the long bootup times, the annoying notifications and sluggishness from software you installed and forgot about.

By contrast, the Chromebook is built solely to help you browse the web faster. Instead of a caps lock key, there’s a search button. Instead of F-number keys, there are buttons for switching tabs, switching to full screen mode and moving backward and forward in the browser. You’ll find some of these functions on other laptops, but they must share real estate with the legacy keys they’re obligated to support.

Chromebooks are liberated from the baggage. Even the laptop’s storage limitations embody that idea: Instead of loading up the machine with pictures, music and video, just leave them on a networked PC or hard drive, or in a cloud storage service, and only store copies of the ones you immediately need.

Of course, there’s the issue of offline use. Most of the Chromebook’s apps require Internet access, but for those who scoff at the idea, I challenge you to unplug your router and see how much you get done on any other PC. Chrome OS could use some more built-in offline tools, such as a full-featured image editor and a version of Docs that lets you edit files and not just view them, but if you live and breathe offline, Chromebooks aren’t for you to begin with.

I’ve always been optimistic about Chromebooks, and was disappointed that the first wave of them were such a letdown. With the Series 5 550, Samsung has finally executed on Google’s vision. Chrome OS still feels like a futuristic concept, but it now it serves a practical purpose: The new Chromebook is a thin, light, inexpensive laptop with well-designed hardware that’s made for web browsing. You’ll have a tough time finding other laptops that meet all those criteria.

MORE: Apple Retina MacBook Pro Review: The MacBook Pro, Only More — and Less — So

Article source: http://techland.time.com/2012/06/18/samsung-series-5-550-review-the-case-for-googles-new-chromebook/

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18 Jun 12 MacBook Pro Retina display ruins web, Google fixing Chrome browser


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Article source: http://www.macvideo.tv/editing/news/?newsId=3364478&pagType=samechandate

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17 Jun 12 Apple iOS 6: Playing catch-up or breaking new ground? – ABC15.com (KNXV


PHOENIX – Ask an Apple fanboy and they’ll probably tell you this week’s annoucement about Apple iOS 6 was revolutionary. Ask an Android fanboy and they’ll probably tell you Apple is playing catch-up. I think the truth actually lies somewhere in the middle.

This week, Apple laid out many of the key features that will be showcased in the next version of iOS 6 when it is released this fall. iOS 6 is the software behind iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. Apple has an entire page listing some of the changes, have a look . The biggest changes include:

- A complete re-do of the maps app. Apple is no longer using Google Maps, it has built its own app including (FINALLY) turn-by-turn navigation.

- An improved Siri including sports, restaurants and movies. Siri will also now be available on the new iPad.

- Facebook integration. Apple integrated Twitter with iOS 5 and has finally sorted out its differences with Facebook to add a similar feature in iOS 6.

- Facetime will now work over cell connections as well as Wi-Fi. Previously the service was limited to Wi-Fi only.

The way I look at it, the smartphone world is a lot different than it was in 2007 when the first iPhone was launched. Then, most of what Apple was doing was revolutionary. The company single handedly changed what people expected from a smartphone. Now, Android has a fast growing market share and is adding features as fast as Apple and in some cases, faster.

Sure, there is some catch-up going on. Google has offered turn-by-turn navigation as part of Google Maps for a while. It’s included on most Andriod phones. Apple has been stuck on the Google Maps app that launched 5 years ago (with some minor changes here and there). Facebook sharing has been integrated into Android since the beginning. Android is built to allow any app to integrate their sharing service without Google having to add it. Facetime over cellular is great but Skype has been doing it for years on both iOS and Android.

As for Siri, it doesn’t matter…  yet. It will, but for now it doesn’t. It’s not good enough and I have a hard time finding any iPhone 4s owner who actually uses it on a regular basis besides Samuel L. Jackson . It’s fun to show your friends but isn’t reliable enough in real life. Someday it will change the way we use our phones. That day has not come yet.

While I just pointed out some of the catch-up that is happening, let me point out why it’s different than other companies. When Apple does something, they typically do it right and with some flair. Their map app does turn-by-turn by also does helicopter flyovers! The navigation looks slick and it seems Apple has done a solid job with this app.

Facebook sharing on Android is there but it’s not always pretty. It essentially sends you to the Facebook App with the information that you want to share. Apple has built deep Facebook integration. The interface and experience will be the same no matter what app you are sharing from. This creates a great user experience. This is what Apple is all about. I expect Android to play some catch-up with this if Facebook is willing to play nice.

Facetime may just now be coming to cellular but it’s all about experience. Facetime on Wi-Fi is the absolute best video calling service I have ever used (and I’ve tried almost all of them). It simply works and works really well. Apple refused to allow it to be used on cell networks until the company could guarantee it would work well. I commend them for that. I haven’t tested it out yet on a cell network so I hope they figured out a way to keep the quality up. If you haven’t tried Facetime over Wi-Fi, you should. It makes you wonder why people use Skype on their smartphones.

In the end, there is some catch-up happening here and there is some innovation. I expect to see a few more features added to iOS 6 before its official release later this year. With increased competition from Google, the pressure is on more than ever before to figure out what the next “must have” feature is. I can’t wait to see it.

You can catch me co-anchoring ABC15 mornings every week day from 4:30a.m. – 7:00 a.m.  I’m also always online, find me on Facebook and Twitter .

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/science_tech/Apple-iOS-6-Playing-catch-up-or-breaking-new-ground

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17 Jun 12 Apple iOS 6: Playing catch-up or breaking new ground? – ABC15.com (KNXV


PHOENIX – Ask an Apple fanboy and they’ll probably tell you this week’s annoucement about Apple iOS 6 was revolutionary. Ask an Android fanboy and they’ll probably tell you Apple is playing catch-up. I think the truth actually lies somewhere in the middle.

This week, Apple laid out many of the key features that will be showcased in the next version of iOS 6 when it is released this fall. iOS 6 is the software behind iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. Apple has an entire page listing some of the changes, have a look . The biggest changes include:

- A complete re-do of the maps app. Apple is no longer using Google Maps, it has built its own app including (FINALLY) turn-by-turn navigation.

- An improved Siri including sports, restaurants and movies. Siri will also now be available on the new iPad.

- Facebook integration. Apple integrated Twitter with iOS 5 and has finally sorted out its differences with Facebook to add a similar feature in iOS 6.

- Facetime will now work over cell connections as well as Wi-Fi. Previously the service was limited to Wi-Fi only.

The way I look at it, the smartphone world is a lot different than it was in 2007 when the first iPhone was launched. Then, most of what Apple was doing was revolutionary. The company single handedly changed what people expected from a smartphone. Now, Android has a fast growing market share and is adding features as fast as Apple and in some cases, faster.

Sure, there is some catch-up going on. Google has offered turn-by-turn navigation as part of Google Maps for a while. It’s included on most Andriod phones. Apple has been stuck on the Google Maps app that launched 5 years ago (with some minor changes here and there). Facebook sharing has been integrated into Android since the beginning. Android is built to allow any app to integrate their sharing service without Google having to add it. Facetime over cellular is great but Skype has been doing it for years on both iOS and Android.

As for Siri, it doesn’t matter…  yet. It will, but for now it doesn’t. It’s not good enough and I have a hard time finding any iPhone 4s owner who actually uses it on a regular basis besides Samuel L. Jackson . It’s fun to show your friends but isn’t reliable enough in real life. Someday it will change the way we use our phones. That day has not come yet.

While I just pointed out some of the catch-up that is happening, let me point out why it’s different than other companies. When Apple does something, they typically do it right and with some flair. Their map app does turn-by-turn by also does helicopter flyovers! The navigation looks slick and it seems Apple has done a solid job with this app.

Facebook sharing on Android is there but it’s not always pretty. It essentially sends you to the Facebook App with the information that you want to share. Apple has built deep Facebook integration. The interface and experience will be the same no matter what app you are sharing from. This creates a great user experience. This is what Apple is all about. I expect Android to play some catch-up with this if Facebook is willing to play nice.

Facetime may just now be coming to cellular but it’s all about experience. Facetime on Wi-Fi is the absolute best video calling service I have ever used (and I’ve tried almost all of them). It simply works and works really well. Apple refused to allow it to be used on cell networks until the company could guarantee it would work well. I commend them for that. I haven’t tested it out yet on a cell network so I hope they figured out a way to keep the quality up. If you haven’t tried Facetime over Wi-Fi, you should. It makes you wonder why people use Skype on their smartphones.

In the end, there is some catch-up happening here and there is some innovation. I expect to see a few more features added to iOS 6 before its official release later this year. With increased competition from Google, the pressure is on more than ever before to figure out what the next “must have” feature is. I can’t wait to see it.

You can catch me co-anchoring ABC15 mornings every week day from 4:30a.m. – 7:00 a.m.  I’m also always online, find me on Facebook and Twitter .

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/science_tech/Apple-iOS-6-Playing-catch-up-or-breaking-new-ground

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13 Jun 12 Michael Gartenberg: Google polishes Chrome OS


Computerworld - A year ago, I wrote that the first Chromebooks felt more like a science project than a strategic product. They were interesting but of little practical value. A lot has changed since then, and while I wouldn’t say that Google has developed a truly compelling device, it has shown that the Chromebook and its underlying Chrome OS are evolving.

Chrome OS is Google’s attempt to create a new class of Web-based operating system, designed to work on special devices, the first of which were last year’s Chromebooks. Since then, Google has refreshed Chrome OS (the actual version number is 19) and with partner Samsung has introduced both a new Chromebook and a desktop device called Chromebox. After using both for the last few weeks, my impression is that Google did a nice job of polishing Chrome in ways that help it shine much better than it did a year ago.

The new Chromebook, called the Series 5, has a 12.1-inch display and 16GB of built-in flash storage. You can add a Verizon Wireless 3G radio, with 100MB free per month for two years. There’s a much-improved trackpad (the trackpad on the first Chromebooks was all but unusable), and the device is now powered by an Intel Celeron processor, which dramatically improves performance, especially for things like streaming high-definition video. Pricing is $449 for the Wi-Fi-only version and $549 for the 3G models.

The Chromebox Series 3 is a small, sleek box that takes some design cues from the Mac Mini. It has the same CPU and memory as the Chromebook. It doesn’t include a monitor, keyboard or mouse, but it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support for keyboards and mice, along with DVI and HDMI output. It costs $329.99.

Both devices are good-looking and solid pieces of hardware, though I’d argue that 3.3 pounds is too much weight for a laptop that isn’t really a laptop at all. I could give you more specs, but specs don’t have that much to do with what you’re buying here. What really matters is the updated Chrome OS experience, and the newest version shows just what a difference a year makes.

One of the biggest drawbacks of Chrome OS was that an offline Chromebook was pretty much a brick with a monitor. Google has worked to address that, adding offline access for Google Docs and Gmail. Both are a little rough around the edges, but they do work. Originally, Google eschewed the idea of a file system in its operating system, but it has now abandoned that stance. The current version of Chrome OS is integrated with Google Drive, giving users a convenient way to access, store and sync content across devices, including PCs, Macs, smartphones and, of course, Chrome.

Opinions

Article source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9227947/Michael_Gartenberg_Google_polishes_Chrome_OS

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12 Jun 12 Google polishes Chrome OS


A year ago, I wrote that the first Chromebooks felt more like a science project than a strategic product. They were interesting but of little practical value. A lot has changed since then, and while I wouldn’t say that Google has developed a truly compelling device, it has shown that the Chromebook and its underlying Chrome OS are evolving.

Chrome OS is Google’s attempt to create a new class of Web-based operating system, designed to work on special devices, the first of which were last year’s Chromebooks. Since then, Google has refreshed Chrome OS (the actual version number is 19) and with partner Samsung has introduced both a new Chromebook and a desktop device called Chromebox. After using both for the last few weeks, my impression is that Google did a nice job of polishing Chrome in ways that help it shine much better than it did a year ago.

The new Chromebook, called the Series 5, has a 12.1-inch display and 16GB of built-in flash storage. You can add a Verizon Wireless 3G radio, with 100MB free per month for two years. There’s a much-improved trackpad (the trackpad on the first Chromebooks was all but unusable), and the device is now powered by an Intel Celeron processor, which dramatically improves performance, especially for things like streaming high-definition video. Pricing is $449 for the Wi-Fi-only version and $549 for the 3G models.

The Chromebox Series 3 is a small, sleek box that takes some design cues from the Mac Mini. It has the same CPU and memory as the Chromebook. It doesn’t include a monitor, keyboard or mouse, but it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support for keyboards and mice, along with DVI and HDMI output. It costs $329.99.

Both devices are good-looking and solid pieces of hardware, though I’d argue that 3.3 pounds is too much weight for a laptop that isn’t really a laptop at all. I could give you more specs, but specs don’t have that much to do with what you’re buying here. What really matters is the updated Chrome OS experience, and the newest version shows just what a difference a year makes.

One of the biggest drawbacks of Chrome OS was that an offline Chromebook was pretty much a brick with a monitor. Google has worked to address that, adding offline access for Google Docs and Gmail. Both are a little rough around the edges, but they do work. Originally, Google eschewed the idea of a file system in its operating system, but it has now abandoned that stance. The current version of Chrome OS is integrated with Google Drive, giving users a convenient way to access, store and sync content across devices, including PCs, Macs, smartphones and, of course, Chrome.

Chrome OS can’t do everything a PC or Mac can do, and I doubt that Google wants it to. But in the past year, the company seems to have recognized that users who invest in a Chromebook (or now a Chromebox) are going to expect to be able to do the same things they do on PCs and Macs. Google’s response to that problem has been to integrate remote PC access directly into Chrome OS. This feature is still in beta, but I was able to test the latest version and had no problem connecting to my office Mac and working with it remotely. This feature amounts to a big deal, since it removes a major impediment to adoption.

Because the Chromebox supports HDMI output, I thought it might be fun to connect it to my TV set. It worked rather well. Unlike Google TV, none of my browser content was blocked, and I had full access to sites like Hulu, Netflix and all the major networks. As far as those sites were concerned, there was nothing to block. I’m a skeptic when it comes to Web browsing on a TV set, but the Chromebox does make it easy if that’s what you want to do.

As they stand now, the Chromebook and Chromebox are transitional. They point toward potential that could eventually make them good choices for a lot of people who have embraced the concept of the personal cloud and for whom a PC is but one device among many. It’s a lot easier now than it was a year ago to see how a Chromebook or Chromebox could become a user’s additional screen.

But the price of these machines is going to have to come down for that to happen, and the hardware probably has to move even beyond the slimmed-down aesthetics of ultrabooks. The current versions of both hardware and software do suggest, though, that Google is going to keep trying to get there.

Michael Gartenberg is a research director at Gartner. The opinions expressed are his own. Follow him on Twitter @Gartenberg.

Article source: http://www.cio.com.au/article/427230/google_polishes_chrome_os/?utm_medium=rss&utm_source=sectionfeed

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11 Jun 12 Another Look at Chrome


A year ago, I wrote that the first Chromebooks felt more like a science project than a strategic product. They were interesting but of little practical value. A lot has changed since then, and while I wouldn’t say that Google has developed a truly compelling device, it has shown that the Chromebook and its underlying Chrome OS are evolving.

Chrome OS is Google’s attempt to create a new class of Web-based operating system, designed to work on special devices, the first of which were last year’s Chromebooks. Since then, Google has refreshed Chrome OS (the actual version number is 19) and with partner Samsung has introduced both a new Chromebook and a desktop device called Chromebox. After using both for the last few weeks, my impression is that Google did a nice job of polishing Chrome in ways that help it shine much better than it did a year ago.

The new Chromebook, called the Series 5, has a 12.1-inch display and 16GB of built-in flash storage. You can add a Verizon Wireless 3G radio, with 100MB free per month for two years. There’s a much-improved trackpad (the trackpad on the first Chromebooks was all but unusable), and the device is now powered by an Intel Celeron processor, which dramatically improves performance, especially for things like streaming high-definition video. Pricing is $449 for the Wi-Fi-only version and $549 for the 3G models.

The Chromebox Series 3 is a small, sleek box that takes some design cues from the Mac Mini. It has the same CPU and memory as the Chromebook. It doesn’t include a monitor, keyboard or mouse, but it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support for keyboards and mice, along with DVI and HDMI output. It costs $329.99.

Both devices are good-looking and solid pieces of hardware, though I’d argue that 3.3 pounds is too much weight for a laptop that isn’t really a laptop at all. I could give you more specs, but specs don’t have that much to do with what you’re buying here. What really matters is the updated Chrome OS experience, and the newest version shows just what a difference a year makes.

Addressing Drawbacks, Looking Forward

One of the biggest drawbacks of Chrome OS was that an offline Chromebook was pretty much a brick with a monitor. Google has worked to address that, adding offline access for Google Docs and Gmail. Both are a little rough around the edges, but they do work. Originally, Google eschewed the idea of a file system in its operating system, but it has now abandoned that stance. The current version of Chrome OS is integrated with Google Drive, giving users a convenient way to access, store and sync content across devices, including PCs, Macs, smartphones and, of course, Chrome.

Chrome OS can’t do everything a PC or Mac can do, and I doubt that Google wants it to. But in the past year, the company seems to have recognized that users who invest in a Chromebook (or now a Chromebox) are going to expect to be able to do the same things they do on PCs and Macs. Google’s response to that problem has been to integrate remote PC access directly into Chrome OS. This feature is still in beta, but I was able to test the latest version and had no problem connecting to my office Mac and working with it remotely. This feature amounts to a big deal, since it removes a major impediment to adoption.

Because the Chromebox supports HDMI output, I thought it might be fun to connect it to my TV set. It worked rather well. Unlike Google TV, none of my browser content was blocked, and I had full access to sites like Hulu, Netflix and all the major networks. As far as those sites were concerned, there was nothing to block. I’m a skeptic when it comes to Web browsing on a TV set, but the Chromebox does make it easy if that’s what you want to do.

As they stand now, the Chromebook and Chromebox are transitional. They point toward potential that could eventually make them good choices for a lot of people who have embraced the concept of the personal cloud and for whom a PC is but one device among many. It’s a lot easier now than it was a year ago to see how a Chromebook or Chromebox could become a user’s additional screen.

But the price of these machines is going to have to come down for that to happen, and the hardware probably has to move even beyond the slimmed-down aesthetics of ultrabooks. The current versions of both hardware and software do suggest, though, that Google is going to keep trying to get there.

Michael Gartenberg is a research director at Gartner. The opinions expressed are his own. Follow him on Twitter @Gartenberg.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/257304/another_look_at_chrome.html

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08 Jun 12 Chrome OS review


The first version of Google’s Chrome OS wasn’t much more than a Chrome browser window with a few apps. It felt more like a statement – “Who needs local storage?” – than an operating system you could rely on.

A year and a half later, the latest version of the Chrome OS adds some of the features of a more traditional OS: a file manager (hooray!), a desktop and the ability to use storage connected through a USB port. Google’s Cloud Print system even makes it fairly easy to print.

The only thing that’s missing is the ability to keep writing, working on a spreadsheet or reading email when you’re offline. We used to have that capability through Google Gears, but since Google shut down that project last winter, services like GMail and Google Drive work only when you have a connection. (Google Senior Vice President of Chrome Apps Sundar Pichai reportedly told the audience at All Things D this week that Google Drive offline is coming in five weeks.)

The advantages of the Chrome OS remain the same. The new Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook I tested shuts down in less than 5 seconds and starts up again in less than 10. When you log in, there’s no waiting for programs to load. You go right back to the last browser window you were working in, with all the same tabs you had open before you shut down. Jumping from window to window (that’s right — now you can have more than one) is instantaneous. And while all new machines are fast, it’s hard to imagine what would slow down a Chromebook over time — there’s no registry to get junked up and no local software to leave debris on your hard drive. Battery life is great, too. I was able to work a full day on a single charge.

And, unlike previous incarnations, you now get a significant price break for buying a Chromebook: The machine I tried, with a 12.1-inch display, costs roughly £288 ($449). The Samsung Series 5 13.3-inch Windows model costs about £799.99.

Multiple windows in separate browsers

Chrome’s new file manager is rudimentary, but its very existence is a big deal. It comes up as a browser tab that shows the different storage devices on your machine. There’s Downloads, which sits on the 16GB SSD drive. You can also store files on a USB drive or a memory card. You can move files from one storage device to another, though you don’t have the drag-and-drop convenience of most operating systems – you have to copy and paste them.

Printing through Google Cloud Print was simple, even though I didn’t have access to an official Cloud printer. I set up cloud printing on my desktop at work (it’s a setting within the Chrome browser), then the Chromebook could use any printer my desktop could access, including printers on the PCWorld network.

Chrome OS now has a desktop, though you likely won’t spend much time there. There’s a taskbar, where you can put shortcuts to apps you use frequently, and a status area that reports things like Wi-Fi connection status and battery life. But I couldn’t find a way to put a shortcut to an app or file on the desktop itself – it’s really just a pretty picture.

You can now use multiple windows in Chrome, though they’re all just separate browser windows. Still, that can be helpful – you can jump from one window to another with Alt-Tab or with a special function button. Each window has something that looks like a Windows maximise button, but it operates four ways through gestures. If you click on it and drag down, the window minimises. Drag up and it goes full screen. Drag to the left or right and the window docks on either side, taking up half the screen. It’s a fun innovation.

Quirky keyboard still in place

The Chromebook still features its quirky keyboard. The biggest quirk is the lack of a Caps Lock key – that’s replaced with a pretty unnecessary search button. All the search button does is open a new tab, something that’s easily done with Ctrl-T. If you miss Caps Lock, you can restore it through the Chromebook’s settings. Other unconventional keyboard choices work better. I like the function button for switching between windows and one for toggling between full screen and normal mode. There are also dedicated forward, back and reload buttons, which make lots of sense for a notebook built for the web. Hit Ctrl and the Search button and you’ll go to an smartphone-like grid of shortcuts to your apps. And if you have a better memory than I do, you can learn the dozens of keyboard shortcuts– hit Ctrl+Alt+? for a full list.

As much as I liked the Chromebook I tested, it had one fatal flaw. I’ve left it to the end of this review because I hope that it’s just a failing of my particular test machine and not one that’s endemic to the Samsung Chromebooks. The problem: My Chromebook would regularly lose its connection to the web – kind of a big deal for a notebook built to work almost entirely online.

I noticed the problem both at work and at home. In both cases, I had other systems on the same Wi-Fi network at the same time and they never seemed to lose their connection. I tried using a mobile hotspot and experienced the same problems. In some cases when I had connection problems, the status area would report that it was trying to reconnect to my Wi-Fi network. In other instances, it would report it was firmly on my Wi-Fi network, even though the browser was unable to reach the web. When I tried surfing from my other system on the same network at the same time, I had no problem. A Samsung representative said she hadn’t heard about similar problems with other test machines. I’ll work with the company to troubleshoot the problem and update this story with what I find out.

Article source: http://review.techworld.com/operating-systems/3362524/chrome-os-review/?intcmp=ros-md-acc-rv

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03 Jun 12 Android this week: Nexus 7 Tablet surfaces; Flipboard opens beta; MotoActv …


At its annual I/O developer event, Google is widely expected to debut a Nexus Tablet that it will sell directly to consumers. Conversation about such a device started up several months ago, but as of this week, there’s evidence of the actual device. Dubbed the Nexus 7 — which could be an internal code name as opposed to an actual product name — several websites have been visited by this device, or perhaps different variations of the device for testing. Our own server logs show nearly a hundred hits from what appears to be a 7-inch tablet running with 1280 x 768 resolution and Nvidia’s Tegra 3 processor.

Other data points from the logs show the Nexus 7, expected to be built by Asus, to be running Android 4.1, which looks to be the Jelly Bean version of Android. That follows Ice Cream Sandwich, or Android 4.0, which is currently on newer devices and will soon be arriving on T-Mobile’s Galaxy S II smartphone. According to our logs the browser used to visit the site has varied between the native Android browser, Chrome for Android and Currents; Google’s Flipboard-like app for news and social network reading.

Google’s I/O event takes place late in June, so we only have a few weeks to wait and see if the next Nexus is a tablet. I see little reason to doubt it as Google typically uses a single device to show off major software advances; if the company has Android 4.1 ready to roll, a new smartphone or tablet is sure to spotlight it. And since Google has jumped back into the direct sales game — it now sells a GSM Galaxy Nexus without contract for $399 — it makes sense that a Wi-Fi tablet priced at $249 or less could be the next piece of hardware for sale in Google Play.

The mention of Google Currents reminds me that Flipboard is still generally an iOS only product as only one phone officially has Flipboard for Android: Samsung’s Galaxy S III. But the Flipboard team is looking to expand its software release to other Android phones, this week opening up a beta program. You can get in on the beta simply by providing your email address here and then waiting a short bit. I filled out the form and had a download link in under 24 hours. My first look at the app shows it to be a great reading experience, just as it is on my iPhone and iPad.

For a smaller screened reading experience, I’m now turning to the Android-powered Motorola MotoActv on my wrist. A software update released this week added support for Twitter messages and Facebook wall posts on the smart watch / health tracker.

The data comes from a Bluetooth-connected Android phone and is great for quick reading, although you can also retweet and like posts directly from your wrist thanks to the capacitive touchscreen. What started out as a wearable GPS tracking device for exercise is fast becoming a capable Android smart watch.

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Article source: http://gigaom.com/mobile/android-this-week-nexus-7-tablet-surfaces-flipboard-opens-beta-motoactv-gets-social/

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