Tag Archive | "chrome"

The Lucky 13 Security Checklist. Prepare your Windows PC for better on-the-road security and privacy.

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wipe-97583_640-290x300_editedI’m preparing to go to Mobile World Congress where one of my worries will be security and privacy. To that end I’ve hardened my Windows build and written it up below as a checklist of tasks that I urge you to look at and consider, especially if you’re connecting to unknown hotspots.

The checklist has evolved from work I did training journalists in Ukraine, work I’ve done here on Windows 8 tablet security and work I’ve done on Clean Computing with Chromebooks which, interestingly, would have a checklist just half as long as this. Points 1-7 don’t apply to a Chromebook. Unfortunately I’ll be needing video editing and gallery management tools in Barcelona so I can’t use a Chromebook as my main PC there.

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User Report – Chrome OS on a Netbook

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chromebookYou don’t have to buy a Chromebook to get Chrome OS. Using the Hexxeh open source Chrome OS builds, Lars F. Jørgensen built a Chromebook out of an early netbook, the Aspire One A110. With netbooks in Europe dipping under 200 Euros occasionally now (here’s an offer for a current Acer D255 at Amazon, Germany – my Affiliate link) it doesn’t have to be old or expensive either.

I’ve posted the article over at Chromebook News as I feel there’s limited ultra-mobile capability in it but it’s interesting to think of Chromium, the browser, on something like Ubuntu or Meego that may not provide the support-free software layer but would provide all the local facilities needed and, as time goes on, some extended power-saving features too.

Many thanks @faarborgs for this guest post.

Chrome OS on Aspire One A110 – User Report

Angry Birds – Chrome App Version Struggles

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So Google tell us that the Chromebooks will be fast. It all hinges on the apps (again!)

I took the newly released Angry Birds for Chrome and tested it on a desktop, a tablet and a netbook. I also took a beta version of Chrome and tested it on that. Then I took a native version downloaded via AppUp (Yes, Angry Birds is already available for your Windows desktop!)

The results – I’m not impressed with the Chrome version at all. Windowed and running slowly on Chrome. The Native version runs flawlessly.

This, of course, isn’t a Chromebook test but remember, Chromebooks will run in Intel Atom N570 (at least the first devices) so the CPU and GPU power is limited. The Chrome OS is likely to be faster and WebGL will get better and as we go forward, the platforms will obviously get better but based on what I’ve seen this evening, I’m a little wary of performance. It’s not going to stop me from buying an Acer Chromebook for testing but this test gave me a good reality kick.

Update: Feeback from others in my circle that have tested isn’t that positive either.

Note: We’re not sponsored by AppUp or Intel. The ads you see are agency sales.

Are Chromebooks Netbooks? Can they be Ultra Mobile? Are You Interested?

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Acer Chromebook 4I want to wind back to a post I wrote about Chrome OS last year…

Personally I’m having trouble working out what Google are doing here. Is it to promote HTML5 development? Am I failing to see the long-term play? Are we really going to be using operating systems on our desks that are dumber than the ones on our phones?

The advantages for netbooks users are limited. The license cost advantage will be just $15-$25, the device support will be poor and there will be a million and one re-distributions causing confusion and splintering for Linux.

High-speed javascript processing won’t be unique to Chrome. Fast boot won’t be unique to Chrome. HTML5 won’t be unique to Chrome. Web apps won’t be unique to Chrome. What’s going to get people to buy a Chromium OS computer? I doubt people will be queuing up for an OS that never needs upgrading.

I’ve also talked about the cloud NOT being mobile.

Put the two together in a Chromebook and you’ve got something underwhelming for Ultra Mobile fans.

Despite that, I got very excited listening to the Chromebook announcements this evening. Very excited. It peaked when I heard that the Angry Birds game (yes. I’m getting bored of that too!) had been written, in HTML5, to work offline. Some of the HTML5 performance demos were impressive too. And then, I saw the 1.3KG 11.6” 1366s768 Acer Chromebook. OK, it’s not as attractive as the Samsung Series 5 but look what’s inside.

Not only is it running on an Intel N570 netbook platform but some of the code, according to my source, came from the Meego project and there’s a tight connection between Google and Intel on this. Intel are even calling these Chromebooks, Netbooks!

samsung series 5 chromebook 3Finally, it was music to my ears to hear that legacy PC support was being dropped. No checking for floppys on boot. I assume it’s not a BIOS-based start-up too. USB support will be slim to start with, true, but it’s what we need to do. To start from scratch. Windows has the apps, but not the underpinnings to be a great mobile operating system.

Put THAT all together and you’ve got a slim OS build on a Linux Kernel where all the functionality is in the browser. Put that browser in MeeGo and what have you got? Chromebook and Laptop? Put Chrome OS on Oaktrail or Moorestown and what have you got? Always on?

As with MeeGo, Honeycomb and other ‘new’ OS’, the apps are going to be the big issue but look what Google just went and did. They offered an app store where the dev gets 95%. 95%! (Update: OK. Thats in-app purchases although doesn’t it mean you can offer a free app and then sell the license for the full version in-app for a 5% fee?)

I’m interested now because app development could be fast. Why? It’s very interesting for devs from day one. How many Chrome browsers are already installed?

I’m as interested in Chrome OS as I am in Honeycomb as a slim OS and app layer that could help in many ultra mobile scenarios….in the future. I’m buying an Acer Chromebook for testing, that’s for sure. I hope you can join me on the live session because that’s going to be a very interesting one.

But you may not be so interested. Looking at the 12” 1.4KG Samsung Series 5 Chromebook you might think – what the hell has this got to do with Ultra Mobile? Let me know in the comments below. Lets talk it through and shake-out the issues and queries. Here are some starting points.

  • Touch
  • USB support
  • No Bluetooth
  • Apps
  • Offline Cloud
  • Ethernet Port missing

Both devices are in the database along with all the specifications and links available at the moment.

Acer Chromebook

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook

Google Chrome Blog announcement

Acer Chromebook, Samsung Series 5 Chromebook Specs, Pics

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At 11.6 and 12.1” respectively, the two Chromebooks announce today fall right alongside netbooks. They even utilise a netbook CPU, the Intel Atom N570 dual-core 1.66Ghz part – the top of the range.

Acer Chromebook.

Full specs and links here

Acer ChromebookAcer Chromebook 2Acer Chromebook 3Acer Chromebook 4Acer Chromebook 5

  • Intel Atom N570
  • 11.6” 1366×768 screen
  • 16GB SSD storage
  • 1.34KG


Samsung Series 5 Chromebook

Full specs and links here.

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This is the larger, heavier of the two. Note the sealed battery compatment.

  • Intel Atom N570
  • 12.1” 1280×800 screen
  • 16GB SSD storage
  • 1.48kg

There’s a 3G option available on the Samsung Series 5.

See the two devices side-by-side

Google’s CR-48 Chrome OS Netbook on Video and in Photos

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IMG_3741We’ve got our hands on Google’s Chrome OS test hardware (you can apply for one yourself at http://www.google.com/chromeos/pilot-program.html). This netbook won’t ever be released to the public and is purely for testing Chrome OS, but it can give us a good idea of what to expect from future Chrome OS devices. Namely, a huge battery, 3G built-in, a somewhat altered keyboard from what you’re used to with Windows/Mac OSX, and not much more power than what’s necessary for basic web browsing. Jump over to Carrypad’s sister-site, UMPCPortal.com for an overview video and gallery.

Google’s CR-48 Chrome OS Netbook on Video and in Photos

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We’ve got our hands on Google’s Chrome OS test hardware, the CR-48 (you can apply for one yourself at http://www.google.com/chromeos/pilot-program.html). This netbook won’t ever be released to the public and is purely for testing Chrome OS, but it can give us a good idea of what to expect from future Chrome OS devices. Namely, a huge battery, 3G built-in, a somewhat altered keyboard from what you might be used to with Windows/Mac OSX, and not much more power than what’s necessary for basic web browsing. Have a look at our overview video:

CR-48 Chrome OS Netbook Overview

We’ve also done our usual photo shoot with the unit so you can get a nice detailed look at the hardware. See an excerpt below, or swing by the gallery for all of our CR-48 photos (note: the slate being used for size comparison is the Onkyo TW317). More coverage to come, stay tuned.

IMG_3754 IMG_3741

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What Google’s Chrome OS Means For You.

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Google finally launched Chrome OS at a press event in San Francisco yesterday after first introducing the concept back in July of 2009. Its a straight forward idea, your browser is the operating system and you use web applications for your daily needs.

On the surface Chrome OS is virtually identical to Google’s Chrome browser but actually runs on a stripped down Linux core which promises to be lightweight and efficient.


As part of the announcement Google opened a pilot program to test Chrome OS on an x86 unbranded notebook called the CR-48. The Intel Atom based 12.1 inch notebook won’t be on sale to the consumers but does come with a speculated 8 hours in use battery life and an impressive 8 days standby. Whilst the CR-48 certainly doesn’t come under the Carrypad coverage I’m certain as the platform matures smaller ARM based devices will be available which will bring better portability, power efficiency and of course the all important full desktop browsing experience which we talk about so much. Couple this with the new Chrome Web Store providing web applications for both Chrome OS and browser and we could be provided some competition to the developing MeeGo ecosystem.

So, What Google’s Chrome OS means for you?… Nothing yet but watch this space.

Confirmed: Chrome is for Netbooks. Is Android 3.0 for Tablets?

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We’re getting a clearer picture of the operating system strategy from Google today as PCMag reports on Eric Schmidt’s closing keynote at IFA in Berlin. Apart from talking about the future of search, location search, fast search, personal search and the growth in mobile web and smartphones, he confirmed in a Q&A that Chrome OS is targeted at netbooks.

The next question is ‘what is a netbook’ but at least the strategy for Chrome OS aligns with what Google said on day one. If we consider Chrome OS to be a very fast way to access Google search and web applications and add the web application layer/web app store then you have a basic framework for a web-based user interface and application layer for a simple Linux-based PC. Interestingly, that Linux-based core could come from the Android space, from Linaro, from MeeGo or any of the other mobile-focused Linux platforms and could even contain an Android environment as part of the user-layer but we get the impression that Google is going it alone on this as a separate project. It will be interesting to see what netbook manufacturers pick it up and work their drivers and customisations into it because at the moment, the Intel/Nokia-backed MeeGo appears to have the better position.

With Chrome OS targeted at netbooks it would be easy to summise now that Android 3.0 is for next-gen high-end smartphones, tablets and smart-books. We need to be a little careful though because Google is also putting a lot of effort into TV and Eric Schmidt confirmed in his keynote that Android is a part of Google TV. Could this be the target for Android 3.0? Whatever the strategy here, the key point is that Google will open Android up to new screen sizes. Its a clear signal for developers to start thinking about large-screen applications.

When will this happen? Chrome partnerships will be announced later this year but Android 3.0 timescales are less clear.

With companies like Samsung, Dell and Toshiba moving real products into this space now and with Samsung pushing for 10M sales of the Galaxy Tab [That seems way too high to me – Chippy] there must be people at Google thinking about speeding up the Android 3.0 process. Major changes to Market and their app suite would be needed so this isn’t a minor task but with HP, Nokia, Intel and others breathing down their necks, it has to happen soon.

See also: Question Marks that Remain Over Q4 Tablets

Sidenote: Intel are working on an X86 port of Android for their ‘always-on’ capable platforms for 2011. These platforms are targeted at the 4-10” screen space and so clearly something has to happen with large screen support. With Intel and a key member of the Open Handset Alliance and a close Google partner (Google TV for example) we should also watch for clues from that side of the camp. Intel are likely to have X86-Android ready for mid-late 2011 and this, according to Intel, will be offered up as an official X86 Android. Some of this Intel/Android work is also likely to be part of Google TV.

The full and very interesting keynote is available here.

Via netbooknews.de

Google Chrome OS Tablet Rumored for Nov 26th

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Downloadsquad have had a tip-off that a Google Chrome OS tablet is coming. Finally we’ll be able to see if it’s just a dumb browser or whether Google have finalised the Chrome Web Store they were promising. It will be interesting to see what platform they’ge chosen too. Could this be the first Moorestown tablet?

Apparently HTC are building it but price and details are unknown at this stage. We’ll put it in the database as soon as we have info.

Google launching a Chrome OS tablet on Verizon, goes on sale November 26.

No Chrome OS at Computex 2010?

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Lets wind back to June last year, the web was buzzing with the news that Google had announced it was releasing an operating system, well a browser that acts like one. The software architecture is simple Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel, its open source, lightweight  and Google intend to get to consumers in the second half of this year. When they announced the project 12 months ago Google stated “Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year.”

Now come to the present day and Computex 2010, the perfect theatre to show physical devices running your shiny new operating system, be them prototypes or final products and there are none?

To make matters worse, the news of Meego and demonstrations of the Tablet Experience user interface have left lasting impressions on not just me, but the likes of Joanna Stern of Engadget,

“We saw a lot of new technology demoed at Intel’s Computex keynote this afternoon, but the most impressive thing may have just been Meego running on a 10-inch Moorestown Quanta Redvale tablet. While the demo on stage was very brief, we caught up with some of the product managers right after the presser and convinced them to give us a peek at what is coming in 2011. To say we’re impressed with the “pre-alpha” version of the software is a huge understatement.”

Acer’s president Gianfranco Lanci pointed out at Intel’s e21FORUM 2010 meeting that Acer will launch netbooks and tablet PCs that adopt Intel’s latest Atom processor and will also preload the MeeGo platform on them.

Its obvious that MeeGo and Chrome OS are fundamentally different but given today’s age of publicity, advertising and hype, Google could have really done with having something to show at Computex.

MeeGo 1.0 ‘Netbook User Experience’ Hands-On, Overview and Video

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4644302853_19f9daf69b_oThis won’t take long. What we’ve got here is a Moblin build that has picked itself up from being stopped-dead in it’s tracks buy a huge corporate direction change. I imagine that partners that were working with Moblin before MeeGo was announced are pleased that they can finally get back to work in optimising their builds for end products. The core build has been changed and there has been some re-working of the user interface. Chrome has been added as the browser. What is also clear though is that the pace of development appears to have picked up and the MeeGo teams are committing to a six-month cadence meaning that those partners can re-write their roadmaps now and that the products promised last September, can now move forward.

I installed MeeGo 1.0 ‘Netbook User Experience’ on a Medion Akoya netbook (an MSI-Wind clone) last night and it was a smooth experience. First-boot was fast at 27 seconds including my usual 10-second BIOS-lag. First login was simple although there were no options to set up contact syncing or online accounts which are core to the MeeGo experience. The ‘netbook user interface’ is almost exactly the same as on Moblin and is modeled around the ‘home zone’ and other zones that can be activated. People and Internet being the two most important. As before, the UI is fast and bubbly.

It’s a Chrome OS!

Chrome (Chromium, the open source version is being tested here but there’s a true Chrome version available too.) is the major change for the end user and I have to say it’s a good one. It appears to be a recent build because it’s flying through the Sun Spider Javascsript tests. 1.8s is a very respectable time. Full-screen works and Flash is integrated meaning you can expect to operate just as you would on a normal desktop. I used Google Docs to edit a spreadsheet and Flickr to upload some photos without any problems. Facebook works as expected too. If we look to MeeGo on Moorestown, you’ve got the basics of a product that could be the best and one of the most productive smart-books or ‘cloud’ books to date. Add the Intel AppUp store and you’re starting to solve that problem too although Chrome’s Web Application store will be interesting to see working on this.

Basic Applications

There’s an email client (Evolution), a messenger, a reasonable media experience (certainly the Banshee media player seems to be quite feature-rich although I haven’t tested video support yet) and there are a number of other basic apps available through the application manager and ‘Garage,’ a slightly more end-user-friendly application installer although nothing seems to be working in Garage right now.

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Photo and screen-grab. Image top-right is also from testing.

Other notes

  • Sleep works (Using sleep button on keyboard)
  • Gmail contacts sync working (uses SyncML)
  • Home screen still somewhat limited. 6-tweets on a 1024×600 screen is not exactly efficient use of space!
  • Chrome Browser crashes occasionally
  • AppUp store install fails
  • Media player fails to play imported MP3s
  • No GMA500 (Menlow, Poulsbo) support.
  • Read/Write to USB sticks and SD cards is no problem.

It’s a shame that MeeGo 1.0 hasn’t moved forward from Moblin 2.1 in terms of end user experience and there’s no way that it will challenge XP or Windows 7 in terms of productivity and flexibility (printing, network shares, application quality, etc.) however when you combine the thought of an efficient Chrome-based Web-focused OS and MeeGo’s future compatibility with the ‘always on’ Moorestown platform combined with a layer of ‘finishing’ you can see some nice possibilities for ‘smart’ productive devices. Certainly the full-internet experience is a major advantage with MeeGo compared to Android. Apps are needed though and until a nicely designed and well-marketed, polished MeeGo product hits the floor, developers aren’t going to be that interested. Maybe that changes after Computex.

We’ll be connecting with Intel’s software group at Computex next week so stay tuned for more information on the future of MeeGo, netbooks, handhelds and Intel’s ‘smart’ platforms. In the meantime, take the time to have a look at MeeGo 1.0 with the netbook user experience in the video below.

MeeGo V1.0 announcement