Amazon Bans Bad USB Type-C Cables

Everyone knows about USB cables. Used for everything from transferring important information from one device to another to charging your devices, they are seen everywhere and the USB Type-C Cables are no exception. Some people were put off when a google engineer fried his Chromebook using a bad cable from Amazon, a move which has now made Amazon ban bad USB Type-C Cables from its site.

USB Type-C (also known as USB-C) is loved for many reasons, from their lack of orientation, no more finding if you’ve put the cable in the wrong way round on the third or fourth time, to the fact that both ends are identical, meaning that there is no right and wrong end, there is only the right ends!

USB-C are also twice as fast as USB 3.0, a standard that barely took off before people noticed USB-C’s popularity. With speeds of up to 10Gbps and the ability to output up to 20V(100W), the USB-C is quickly gaining favor to replace the variety of USB connections that came before it. Sadly with the recent interest in the connector, some people have taken to selling some not so great copies. Listed under their prohibited electronic listings, Amazon now ban any USB-C cable that can be described as:

Any USB-C (or USB Type-C) cable or adapter product that is not compliant with standard specifications issued by “USB Implementers Forum Inc.”

With the ability to report and have bad cables removed from the site, hopefully, fewer people will have to lose their precious devices to cut price and bad quality products.

CTL Reveals Rugged Flip Convertible Chromebook

CTL has revealed its J5 Rugged Convertible Chromebook, and just like its name suggests, this device was designed with durability in mind. That’s why it features a drop-resistant body as well as a splash-resistant keyboard, which makes it ideal for school use. Naturally, professionals who usually work in rugged environments might also want to consider buying this gadget especially since it offers the versatility of a Chromebook as well as the portability of a tablet. Thanks to a 360-degree hinge, the user can choose to use the regular keyboard in “laptop mode” or to fold it completely and angle the screen back for presentation purposes.

Apparently, this Chromebook can also be transformed into a tablet by rotating its screen all the way around, and there’s even an optional stylus available. The IPS panel screen measures 11.6” and offers a resolution of 1366 x 768. The device is powered by an Intel Braswell N3050 processor complemented by 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM. Moreover, the 16GB eMMC hard drive is expandable to 32GB while the connectivity options include one Micro SD card slot, one HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and one combo audio jack. The operating system is Chrome OS, obviously, and the battery can last up to 10 hours.

The CTL J5 Rugged Convertible Chromebook features a price tag of $249.00, and it is currently available for pre-order.

Bounty for Chromebook Hack Doubled to $100,000

Many companies seek to outsource the finding of vulnerabilities in their products to external hackers, offering monetary rewards in exchange for details on successful hacks that they can fix. In a show that should both display their faith in the security of the Chromebook as well as entice more hackers and security experts to probe the laptops for vulnerabilities, Google has doubled the previous bounty offered for a Chromebook hack to $100,000.

This new and larger reward has a high bar set for anyone wishing to challenge the Chromebook’s security. In order to qualify for the full $100,000 bounty, a hack must be demonstrated that is delivered through a web page accessed in guest mode and have the compromise persist in guest mode, even between boots of the device. The reason this hack is challenging is that while in guest mode, a Chromebook is employing its highest levels of security. A guest user can download files, but is forbidden from installing apps, even those officially released from Google’s store, which circumvents one of the major angles of attack that are used by hackers. Chromebooks are also set to automatically install updates, runs all of its software in sandboxed environments and even has a “verified boot” function, which can detect if the OS is compromised by malware on boot and roll it back to a clean version.

“Since we introduced the $50,000 reward, we haven’t had a successful submission,” Google wrote on their security blog. “That said, great research deserves great awards, so we’re putting up a standing six-figure sum, available all year round with no quotas and no maximum reward pool.” Whether that means that no-one can hack the Chromebook or simply not enough people have tried remains to be seen, but we will have to see whether anyone will be able to claim this bounty in the near future

The True Cost of Using USB-C Cables

Remember the story of a Google engineer who declared war on USB-C cables that failed to meet specifications? His continuing battle took a turn so grim even he was surprised at how dangerous it had become. Back in November, Benson Leung, who works on Google’s Pixel range of computers – one of the first systems to support USB-C – found that many cheap cable available on sale failed to meet the official 1.1 specifications, and so began reviewing every cable he could get his hands on from Amazon.

Leung’s mission, though, has met an abrupt end. Not because he has reviewed every USB-C cable available, but because the last one he bought and tested destroyed his computer, as well as the two USB PD sniffers he was using for testing. He bought a Surjtech 3M USB A-to-C cable (now removed from sale) and plugged one end into his Chromebook Pixel and the other into the sniffer. The sniffer failed immediately, and the Pixel soon followed.

On 1st February, Lueng posted the following product review of the offending cable to Amazon:

“Hi Benson here doing another USB Type-C legacy cable review. This one will probably be the last one I do for a little while because this cable (1-star review score, straight off) seriously damaged the laptop computer I am using for these reviews, a Chromebook Pixel 2015, and two USB PD Sniffer devices (Twinkie).

I plugged this cable into the twinkie (as a pass through) and my Chromebook Pixel 2015 and the A end into a 1st party Apple 12W iPad charger.

Twinkie’s current and voltage measurement command (tw vbus) failed immediately after plugging this cable with the adapter into it. This is permanent damage. I tried resetting the Twinkie analyzer and having the firmware reflashed, but it continues to exhibit this failure. It is no longer able to use its voltage and current measurement capability on the Vbus line.

On my Pixel, both USB Type-C ports stopped responding immediately. Neither would charge or act as a host when I plugged in a USB device such as an ethernet adapter. Upon rebooting my Pixel, the system came up in recovery mode because it could not verify the Embedded Controller on the system. No amount of software recovery could revive the EC. Upon closer analysis, serious damage has been done to components related to charging and managing the USB Type-C port’s capabilities.

I directly analyzed the Surjtech cable using a Type-C breakout board and a multimeter, and it appears that they completely miswired the cable. The GND pin on the Type-A plug is tied to the Vbus pins on the Type-C plug. The Vbus pin on the Type-A plug is tied to GND on the Type-C plug.

This is a total recipie [sic] for disaster and I have 3 pieces of electronics dead to show for it, my Pixel 2015, and two USB PD analyzers.

Needless to say, this cable is fundamentally dangerous. Do not buy this under any circumstances. I will be contacting Surjtech directly shortly.”

Remember, kids: if you’re buying a new USB-C cable, always check to see if Leung has reviewed it. It could save your devices from being fried.

Image courtesy of MacWorld.

Dell Unveils 13-Inch Chromebook Featuring Full-HD Display

Dell has expanded its Chromebook line-up to include a 13-inch 1920×1080 model and signifies a significant step up from the Chromebook 11. The Chromebook 13 comes in a wide range of specifications and allows you to choose between a fifth-generation Celeron, Core i3-5005U or an extremely capable Core i5-5300U which turbo boosts to 2.9GHz. In terms of memory, this new device supports up to 8GBs and a 16 or 32GB Solid State Drive.

Connectivity wise, the Chromebook 13 utilizes 802.11AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 USB 3.0 port, plus an HDMI socket to mirror the display on a monitor or Television. As previously mentioned, the display is 1920×1080 to suit the increased screen size and probably based on an IPS panel. Interestingly, Dell have coated the screen in Gorilla Glass to prevent scratches from occurring which adds an additional sense of rigidity. On another note, the island-style keyboard is backlit and the casing is constructed from high-quality aluminium.

Cosmetically, the carbon fiber finish is superb and evokes a luxury feel without being too overbearing for business use. The Chrome 13 is set for a September 17th release with a starting price of $399. However, specific details referring to component upgrades haven’t been confirmed.

Would you ever consider a Chromebook or do you find it overly limiting to completely rely on cloud storage?

Thank you Digital Trends for providing us with this information.

Google Reveals Chromebit, the Chrome OS Computer in an HDMI Dongle

Google is entering the HDMI stick computer market with the Chromebit. It made the announcement in a blog post about its growing range of Chromebook devices which, like the Chromebit, run Google’s proprietary Chrome operating system.

The Chromebit, built by Asus, is a slim HDMI dongle – “Smaller than a candy bar,” as Google describes it – that plugs directly into a monitor or TV. It is powered by a quad-core Rockchip 3288 ARCM Cortext-A17 processor, and has an ARM Mali 760 GPU, 16GB of storage, 2GB RAM, USB port, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.0.

Google expected, as with Chromebooks, that other manufacturers will develop their own Chromebits. The device, which is due out this Summer priced $100, will compete with Intel’s Compute Stick, a slightly larger HDMI system which will hit stores this April for $150.

Source: Android Central

Lenovo Rolls Out N21 Chromebook

The rumoured N21 Chrome book is here at last! Looking at its specs, the N21 appears to come with a 11.6-inch display, Intel’s Celeron N2840 Bay Trail CPU, 16GB storage space and up to 4GB of RAM. Connectivity-wise, the Chromebook has a 802.11ac wireless adapter, comes with HDMI, SD card reader, one USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port.

The battery life is also promising, having Lenovo stating that the N21 eats up 36 Wh. This means that users should expect a battery life of up to 9.5 hours, give or take, depending on the number of applications running on the device.

The N21 Chromebook appears to come in a rugged case and is available for purchase at stores at a starting price of $219.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

Android Phones Will Feature USB Type-C in the near Future

The new USB Type-C seems to be getting a lot of appreciation on the market for mobile devices. Google is said to already have included the technology in its Chromebook Pixel series and is now looking to include it in new Android smartphones too, according to product manager Adam Rodriguez.

Though Google did not officially mention which Android devices would feature the new technology in the future, it would only make sense to see it on the new Nexus handsets. USB Type-C is great for a number of reasons, one of them being tat it is reversible, it can transfer data and power your devices simultaneously, and many more.

“We at Google are very committed to the USB Type-C spec,” Rodriguez said. “Expect to see this in a lot of Chromebooks and Android phones in the near future.”

By introducing the new Type-C USB on a variety of devices, users can then sync and charge their devices, from laptops to smartphones, using only one USB cable. Though it will take some time for the change to fully take place, it is something to look forward to.

Thank you TechnoBuffalo for providing us with this information

MediaTek Wants to Get under the Hood of Chromebooks

MediaTek wants to take Intel’s place in Chromebooks and expand its reach beyond Android-powered smartphones and tablets. Up until now, MediaTek has been the leading chip manufacturer for Android devices.

Kevin Jou, vice president and chief technology officer at MediaTek, stated that MediaTek’s new high-performance chip, the Helio X10, already has support for Chromebook OS. Google’s low-cost alternative to Windows PCs seems to be growing a lot in popularity and since the Chromebooks require Internet connectivity for most of its applications, it would make sense for MediaTek to grab a piece of the pie.

At the moment, Chromebook applications do not require a lot of processing power to run its cloud-based applications. However, together with MediaTek’s eight-core Helio X10 solution, we could see a lot of potential in Chromebooks, including support for 4K videos and 64-bit architecture support for apps.

The Helio X10 comes with four Cortex-A57 cores set to handle a lot of demanding tasks in applications and four Cortex-A53 for the less demanding operations, such as audio playback. In terms of benchmarking, the Helio X10 is currently competing with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810, considered to be one of the fastest mobile chips on the market.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information

Google Developing new Chromebook Pixel

Google’s Chromebook equivalent of the Nexus phones, the Pixel, is apparently due to for an update. The ‘showcase’ device designed to show off the potential of the Chrome OS, was first introduced over two years ago. Well, now a Google employee let it slip that a new one is on the way.

Speaking at the TeamWork 2015 partner event, Google’s head of Android and Chrome programs for work and education, Renee Niemi, said that a new model is coming, something recorded and uploaded to YouTube. However, Google has since taken down that particular video, suggesting that they don’t want us to know about it yet. Fortunately, OMG Chrome transcribed the portion in which Niemi made the revelation.

“We do have a new Pixel coming out and it will be coming out soon. We will be selling it but I just have to set your expectations: this is a development platform. This is really a proof of concept. We don’t make very many of these — we really don’t. And […] our developers and our Googlers consume 85% of what we produce. But yes, we do have a new Pixel coming out.”

This suggests that Google won’t be deviating from its original plans for the Pixel – that it is a limited and expensive device, and that its sole purpose is to demonstrate the capabilities of the Chrome OS to developers.

Source: OMG Chrome Via: The Verge

You Can Now Unlock Your Chromebook With Your Android Phone

Google has just released Smart Lock – it basically turns your Android phone into one of those fancy ‘walk up’ keys for cars, but instead for your Chromebook.

Yes, being in close proximity to your Chromebook will unlock it without you really having to do anything else. The company has had the feature in testing for some time, but it is now available to all.

However, that doesn’t include tablets and your Chromebook must be running version 40+ and have Bluetooth connectivity. Your phone must be running Android 5 and also have Bluetooth.

The feature could be a sign of things to come for Android – Chromebook connectivity, with many suggesting that Google will be interested in bringing more interactivity between the two platforms. Apple’s OS X Yosemite introduced Continuity and Handoff, two features which allows users to continue their activities between the two devices seamlessly. Windows 10 will also bring a similar feature called Continuum.

Source: The Next Web 

15.6-Inch Chromebook Unveiled by Acer

After a strong showing for Chromebooks – the family of netbooks that carry Google’s Chrome operating system – over the recent Holiday season, Acer has announced the release of a new Chromebook with a 15.6-inch screen, making it the largest of its kind. Acer was the second-highest selling manufacturer of Chromebooks last year, according to statistics gathered by IT researchers Gartner, and the company is showing its intent to continue that success in 2015.

The Acer Chromebook 15 has a fifth-generation Intel Celeron chip, a 1080p display (1920×1080 resolution), an 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth LE, plus USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI ports. The 4.85lb computer has an eight-hour battery life.

Prices for the Acer Chromebook 15 start at $250, with either 16GB or 32GB SSD on-board storage and up to 4GB RAM. No release date has yet been announced, though more information may be forthcoming at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that starts Monday in Las Vegas.

Source: Wired

Chrome OS Now Supports Running Linux in a Window

If you wanted to show off that Chrome OS-powered device of yours, now you can; you can run Linux in window. How special!

Google evangelist François Beaufort posted on Google+ that with the help of the Crouton Chrome extension, Chrome OS users can run Linux in a window. Before you do any of this, you’ll need to get your Chromebook in Developer Mode, and then grab the Extension from the Chrome Store.

Source: GigaOM.

Google to Introduce Always-On Voice Commands to Chromebooks

Google voice search has been available on Android smartphones and tablets for a while, and the company is now introducing the function to its Chromebook laptops as an ‘always-on’ function. Included with the latest Chrome OSbuild, the function is operated by the user speaking the phrase “OK Google” before saying the desired search terms out loud. So long as the screen is on and unlocked, the computer will always be listening for the activation phrase.

Google employee François Beaufort announced the news on Google+. Only users that have access to the Chrome Dev channel can access the new voice command protocol. There is no indication when the function will be made available to all Chrome OS users, but Google isn’t one to take its time when rolling out new features.

Source: The Verge

Get 1TB Free Google Drive Storage with Every Chromebook Purchase

Google Chromebook has limited on-board storage by design – it’s an entry-level, stripped-down netbook, running the lightweight Chrome operating system, designed to be easy to use, run, and maintain, functioning mainly as a portal to the internet. Google has decided to expand the potential of its laptop by introducing 1TB of Google Drive storage for every new Chromebook purchase between now and 1st January 2015, free for two years.

Although Google has offered similar deals with specific Chromebook models – the high-end Chromebook Pixel offered 1TB cloud storage free for three years – this is the first time they have expanded the offer to all Chromebook models. Google Drive subscriptions usually cost $9.99 a month for the 1TB plan.

Source: Ars Technica

Toshiba Announces New Chromebook with 1080p Display

Still on the fence about picking up a Chromebook? Toshiba today announced that it’s refreshing its Chromebook lineup for 2014. Starting at $250 -the new “Chromebook 2” model will feature a 1080p display, 16GB of speedy flash storage, 4GB of RAM and HDMI out port. To assist with the minimal storage – owners also receive 100GB worth of cloud storage through Google Drive to help backup documents, photos and media.

Toshiba’s opted for a Intel Celeron N2840 clocked at 2.16GHz – which should see the Chromebook reaching around nine hours of usage. It’s more than adequate mileage for usage at the office or on the go. We’ve already seen Google build and expand their set of cloud applications with rich features and impressive collaboration offerings – the question will all come down to how much the minimal flash storage will impact your workflow.

Port wise, the new Toshiba Chromebook 2 features one USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port a combination 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack and a security lock. The Chromebook also comes with the latest 802.11 AC wireless and Bluetooth 4. The folks over at Skullcandy have tuned up the audio drivers on the system – so hopefully we’ll see some decent audio coming out of the budget Toshiba Chromebook 2. If you’re looking to dive into Google’s Chrome filled world, the new Toshiba Chromebook should be right up your alley – available in the US starting October 5.

Image courtesy of Zicos.

Nvidia’s Tegra K1 Coming To HP’s Chromebook 14

Nvidia’s Tegra K1 processor has already hit the market with Nvidia’s Shield Tablet and Xiaomi’s MiPad and according to the latest reports it will now start arriving with Chromebooks.

HP’s Chromebook 14 is set to be the second Chromebook to get Nvidia’s Tegra K1 chip after Acer recently unveiled a Tegra K1 powered notebook. HP’s Chromebook 14 will have a 14 inch 1366 x 768 display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 3 cell battery and of course Nvidia’s Tegra K1 system on chip which includes a quad core ARM processor and 192 Kepler GPU cores. Nvidia’s power frugal Tegra K1 should be able to sustain better battery life two – around 12-14 hours seems likely.

Current pricing of HP’s Chromebooks equipped with Intel Haswell Celerons is around $299 so we should expect the Tegra K1 variant to be similarly priced if not slightly cheaper.

Expect more details soon.

Source: Mobile Geeks (de), Via: Softpedia

Image courtesy of HP

Chromebooks to Hit Sales of 5.2 Million by End of 2014

Chromebooks are getting big, their popularity is increasing, especially within the educational areas, their cost is attracting schools everywhere to replace the expensive IT rooms we all used to use. People who buy a Chromebook aren’t hardware enthusiats let me assure you, their specs are minimal, I’m amazed they even open Office.

Research firm Garter has conducted some, well, research into the Chromebook market and revealed that the sales by the end of 2014 will be 5.2 million units sold worldwide. Back in 2013 Samsung launched their Chromebook and sold 1.3 million units, Samsung are estimated to have 64.9% of the Chromebook market by the end of 2014. Acer has 21.4 percent, relying on the cost-effective ARM-based CPUs, while Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo have 6.8 and 6.7 percent control of the market, respectively.

” Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014,”said Isabelle Durand, Gartner Principal Analyst, in a press statement. ” Now that the PC market is no longer growing strongly, vendors are searching for new business opportunities. They launched Chromebooks to revive interest in sub-$300 portable PCs once the netbook bubble had burst.”

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Microsoft Planning New Sub $250 Notebooks – Wants To Beat Chromebooks

It isn’t a secret that Microsoft is not fond of Google’s Chromebooks. They are one of the things Microsoft has attacked Google for in its scroogled campaign. However, up until recently Microsoft hasn’t been able to compete that well with Google’s Chromebooks because its partners haven’t offered enough cheap devices. That all changes now according to Microsoft’s rhetoric at its WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference). For this holiday season Microsoft has been working with Acer, Toshiba and HP to bring full Windows 8 notebooks to the same price as Chromebooks. The two models displayed above are from Acer and Toshiba and cost $249 but HP is also expected to bring a $199 Windows 8 notebook in for this holiday season too, the device will be called “Stream”. HP will also release 7 and 8 inch versions of its Stream PCs for just $99.

How are Windows partners achieving these cost savings? Well firstly Microsoft is cutting the bulk Windows license costs to its partners so they can produce cheaper notebooks: this is important given Chrome OS is totally free. Secondly, Intel’s latest Bay Trail CPU platform is helping bring the costs of Windows tablets down. Although Bay Trail is arriving with Chromebooks too so it isn’t just Windows notebooks that will benefit. The main worry for Microsoft here is that its partners “under-equip” these budget notebooks, such a move would be fatal since Chrome OS runs a lot more efficiently than Windows 8.X. If Microsoft’s partners simply sell rubbish spec’d Windows notebooks: 2GB of RAM, Bay Trail CPUs and 500GB mechanical hard drives, then it is unlikely these units will be able to compete against the snappy Chromebooks that use SSD storage and require minimal RAM.

Source: The Verge

Image courtesy of The Verge

MediaTek To Enter Chromebook Market, Others Could Follow

Chromebooks have currently hit a pricing “brick wall” of around $200, you’ll be hard pushed to find anything cheaper than that based on current hardware solutions: but that could all be about to change. Enter MediaTek, the ARM giant famed for producing affordable, quad, hex and octa core CPUs for smartphones and tablets. According to Google’s Francois Beaufort MediaTek have submitted code for an experimental board with an ARM Cortex A7 processor to the open source Chromium OS project. What does this mean? Well it means that other ARM players are looking to get involved in producing the hardware for Chromebooks. If MediaTek get involved we could see the likes of Rockchip, Allwinner and many more follow in their footsteps. In fact, Rockchip have already demonstrated an ARM prototype Chromebook using its RK3288 processor and we’ve seen ARM solutions from Samsung based on their Exynos processor. However, Samsung’s Exynos processor is a fairly expensive chip so this hasn’t actually brought the cost of Chromebooks down. On the other hand MediaTek and Rockchip literally make dirt cheap ARM processors and if they can break into the Chromebook market then prices could start to tumble south of $200.

The main question now is whether such budget ARM processor from Rockchip and MediaTek are up to the job. We’ve already seen that most Intel Bay Trail and Haswell Celeron Chromebooks are faster than Samsung’s ARM Chromebook. Yet Samsung’s Exynos ARM Cortex A15 based Chromebook is also likely to be faster than any of the cheap ARM Cortex A7 based Chromebooks MediaTek and Rockchip would create. Is that sluggish performance going to be a viable option? Are consumers going to be willing to make that kind of performance trade-off to bring the price down to $125-150? We’ll have to wait and see on that one but certainly more competition and options can only be good for consumers.

Source: Liliputing

Image courtesy of Liliputing

 

First Intel Core i3 Powered Chromebook Launched by Acer

Acer has just announced its release of the first 4th Generation Intel Core i3 CPU-powered chromebook, having it be the first company to release a chromebook device with similar performance ratios. The company has stated that the Acer C720, powered by the latter processor, is available in two models in order to provide customers with even faster and more responsive performance in multi-tasking workflows, while also providing a long battery life of up to 8.5 hours.

“Acer has been a leader in the Chromebook space and the new C720 based on 4th generation Intel Core i3 processors marks a new class of Chromebook with enhanced performance and battery life,” said Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of Intel Mobile Client Platforms Group. “As one of the most powerful Chromebooks on the market, the additional performance of Core i3 enables an extremely responsive experience while surfing multiple tabs of web pages. Students, families and business users will recognize the difference in how snappy the new Acer C720 is with Intel Core i3.”

The chromebooks are said to be ideal for families and students, as well as anyone requiring a simple and secure computer to work with. Having the devices running on Chrome OS, updates are said to roll in regularly, this making the latest features available right away to customers, including various layers of security such as data encryption and verified boot.

In terms of specs, both C720 models are said to have a 11.6-inch ComfyView HD screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, providing a clear and enjoyable image quality. The 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi antenna along with the integrated HD webcam and microphone are said to provide the best quality for video calls and connectivity features. Breaking the series down, the first C720-3404 model is said to boast Intel’s Core i3 Processor, 4 GB of memory and will be priced at $379.99.

The second one, the C720-3871, is said to boast the same Intel Core i3 CPU, while providing less memory, having it come with only 2 GB. However, while the specs are a bit low, the price is set to match it, having the tag set at $349.99. The latter chromebooks are currently available in North America, having other regions receiving the chromebooks later on.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

Acer Chromebook 11 Coming With Bay Trail – Cheap Haswells Running Out?

A month ago we brought you the news that Intel had been subsidising the use of its Haswell Celeron CPUs inside Chromebooks from major vendors like Acer, Samsung, and so on. We also revealed that this was to end in the near future: Intel had immediate plans to stop selling cut-price Haswell Celerons to vendors. In place of the subsidy program Intel was rumoured to start offering Bay Trail CPUs instead, it now appears that transition is happening. Acer’s latest Chromebook 11 is going to be offered with Intel’s Bay Trail Celeron N2830 CPU. This will be paired up with an 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of SSD storage, a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI output and 3220 mAh battery. This Bay Trail powered Chromebook is retailing for €220 which is about $235 when you scrub out the 20% VAT Germans pay that Americans won’t. Chromebook buyers will now be faced with a fairly important choice: do they opt for the Bay Trail platform that is likely to give better battery life but less performance, or do they grab subsidised Haswell Celeron stock while it lasts which has worse battery life but dramatically better performance? One thing is for certain though, Acer’s Chromebooks will continue selling like hotcakes as long as the price is right!

Source: Mobile Geeks (de)

Image courtesy of Liliputing

Rumour: Tegra K1 Equipped Acer CB5 Chromebook Spotted

With Intel and Samsung dominating much of the Chromebook market, there hasn’t been a lot of options out there for those who want something a little different, at least until now. The new Acer CB5 Chromebook looks set to take a different approach by using the new Nvidia developed Tegra K1 SoC.

The Chromebook offers up the Tegra K1 CPU with 4GB of RAM, a 32GB SSD and a 13.3 inch HD display. As well as the usual array of audio jacks, USB ports and an Ethernet port.

Since it was leaked in an Acer product listing the page has since been pulled, but the product images did remain and were quickly downloaded. The page said that the device would be available from August 1st, but there is no indication if this was only a place-holder, so we’ll have to wait for an official announcement for more details.

With no other commercial Tegra K1 devices on the market, it’s not known how fast the CB5 will be compared to rival offerings from Intel and Samsung, but giving the previous successes of Tegra, we have high hopes and expectations.

Thank you AndroidAuthority for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of AndroidAuthority.

Intel Has Been Subsidising Chromebooks, Now It’s Going To Stop

If you’ve ever wondered why Intel-based Chromebooks have been so cheap over the past year then you may be fairly surprised, or maybe unsurprised, to know it has been because Intel was subsidising them. For anyone looking at Chromebooks the obvious options are Intel based ones since ARM based ones tend to be a lot more expensive, but of course that in itself makes no sense: ARM CPUs are broadly always cheaper than Intel ones. The example in question is the newest Acer Chromebook based on an Intel Haswell Celeron which costs just $199 while Samsung’s Chromebook based on the ARM Exynos 5 processor costs $279.  Intel has apparently been offering its Haswell Celeron mobile CPUs to hardware partners, like Acer, at an “extremely cut rate” allowing vendors to create high performance Chromebook devices at a price point that “should not be possible”.

It has been nice while it has lasted but apprently the end of Intel subsidies is near. Intel is rumoured to be withdrawing its subsidy program in the near future and will try and push hardware vendors towards using its newer Bay Trail chipsets and SoCs instead. This allows Intel to offer similar price points, but obviously with much less performance. Intel’s Bay Trail platform will be competitive with similar ARM based Chromebooks but neither will be as fast as current Haswell Celeron based Chromebooks. The only benefit of Bay Trail is expected to be slightly better battery life of around 11 hours compared to the current Haswell Celeron 9.5 hour battery life. So if you’re in the market for a Chromebook, buy now before the subsidies vanish!

Source: techtainian

Image courtesy of Liliputing

Octa-Core Exynos-based Chromebook To Be Released In 2014 By Samsung

Samsung Electronics is said to release a Chromebook equipped with its Exynos 5 Octa 5420 next year, according to an article from Business Korea. It is a successor to the Exynos 5250 Chromebook that hit the market last year.

The report states that the Exynos 5 Octo 5420 is an application processor based on “big.LITTLE” technology and has four low-power Cortex A7 at 1.3 GHz cores and four high-performance Cortex A15 at 1.8 GHz cores, having a built-in Mali-T628 graphics chip. The new Chromebook is likely to have an improved resolution of 2560×1600 with 3 GB RAM, a storage capacity of between 16GB and 32GB, and a screen of 12 inches or less. Also, it is predicted to support USB 3.0, have a built-in battery lasting for at least seven hours, and weigh slightly over 1 kg.

The chromebook is expected to be priced at between $250-300. However, the company said that they are not planning to unveil laptops at CES 2014, meaning that they are planning to unveil the Exunos 5 Octo 5420 later on this year.

Thank you Business Korea for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Business Korea

World’s First Chrome OS All-in-One Revealed By LG

LG Electronics has become the first company to announce an all-in-one PC based on Google’s Chrome OS cloud-powered operating system, a platform more normally associated with ultra-portable laptops.

Based on Linux, Chrome OS eschews the traditional computing paradigm in favour of turning the Chrome browser into the primary user interface. Applications are rarely installed locally, with the user instead being pointed to web-based apps which make heavy use of the browser’s HTML5 and JavaScript support. The downside, for users who didn’t pay extra for a Chromebook with in-built mobile broadband at least, is that the device loses a great deal of its feature set when disconnected from the internet.

Disconnections may be frequent for road warriors, but less so for those who do the majority of their computing at home. It’s in this typically permanently connected environment that LG hopes to push Chrome OS as a real alternative to the like of Microsoft Windows. Step one: the world’s first Chrome OS all-in-one desktop PC, the Chromebase.

Looking for all the world like a slightly bulky monitor, and owing an undeniable debt of gratitude to Apple’s curved iMac design, the Chromebase packs a Haswell-based Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of local storage – the bulk storage of files being offloaded to the Google Drive cloud platform – and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing webcam with support for 720p video capture. The front, meanwhile, is dominated by the Chromebase’s 21.5″ 1,920×1080 in-plane switching (IPS) liquid-crystal display panel. The sides and rear include a single USB 3.0 port, three USB 2.0 ports, analogue audio connectivity to supplement the on-board speakers, an Ethernet connection and – interestingly – a HDMI input, allowing the device to double as a monitor for an external system.

‘Simple to operate for all types of users, the award-winning LG Chromebase computer represents the successful combination of simplicity, power and great design,’ claimed Hyoung-sei Park, head of the IT Business Division at LG Electronics. ‘LG Chromebase is the wave of the future for desktops, [and is] expected to be widely adopted not only at home, but especially in schools, hotels, call centres and other business settings.’

Pricing for the LG Chromebase has yet to be confirmed, with the company expected to make a more detailed announcement at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next month.

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Bit-Tech

Homeless Man Being Taught Coding Since August Launches His First App, Trees For Cars

You have probably heard about the homeless guy named Leo Grand and programmer Patrick McConlogue offering him a choice between $100 and 16 free coding lessons. Grand, homeless since 2011 after losing his job at insurance provider MetLife and being priced out of his home when a high-rise apartment block was built nearby, didn’t have to think for long and a coding life for him began.

Grand received a refurbished Chromebook and three books on coding, having McConlogue meet with him every weekday morning for some coding sessions. We are pleased to hear that Grand has released his very first app named Trees for Cars, available for iOS and Android. The idea behind the app, Grand said, is to decrease the number of cars on the roads with an eye toward reducing CO2 emissions. Users have to sign up and specify whether they want to catch a ride or offer one, and the app will connect them with fellow carpoolers nearby. The app will then track how much CO2 was saved by all the passengers. To be noted here is that Grand wrote every line of code, and all app purchases from both stores will go directly to him.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ2INl29sfc#t=0[/youtube]

McConlogue’s tutoring was based on the course found here and you can also read the story of Grand’s remarkable journey here. And don’t forget to check out the app on iTunes and Google Play and maybe even buy it for $0.99 / £0.67.

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of Cnet