Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Chrome OS looks to replace Android on tablets. Good riddance

What do you THINK?

For all of Android’s dominance on smartphones, Google’s never been able to nail the tablet experience. Now it seems companies are getting ready to give up on it altogether for a more sensible alternative: Chrome OS.
Asus today announced the  Chromebook Tab 10.  It has a 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536 display, 32 GB of storage (expandable) and 4GB of RAM. It’s powered by an OP1 processor, an ARM chip designed to Google’s specsspecifically for Chrome OS. It also comes with a stylus, and will sell for $329.
It’s the very first tablet to run Chrome OS. I expect there will be many more.
While we’ve seen Google’s browser-based OS on everything including laptops, desktops, convertibles, and even tiny thumb-drives, tablets have always been the realm of Android. That hasn’t turned out great; Google has built some wonderful tablet hardware, but has not given Android itself the tools it needs to compete with iOS and the iPad.
Multi-tasking feels like a second thought, decent tablet layouts in apps are rare, and tablets rarely have specs better than the average flagship phone. And though brands like Huawei and Samsung have tried to augment the lackluster Androidtablet experience by adding their own gamut of features. There are simply too few reasons to use an Android tablet over a Phone with a large screen.

Google’s Pixelbook is thin enough to make a decent tablet.

Google hasn’t said it plans to abandon tablets on Android, but it certainly appears to be preparing for Chrome OS to take over. Last year, it partnered with Samsung to introduce the first Chrome OS devices that could run Android apps out of the box, and the first ones to come with a stylus.
Later that year, Google introduced the Pixelbook, a convertible laptop that was thin enough to actually make a decent tablet, but ran Chome OS. In fact, Google hasn’t released an Android tablet since 2015’s Pixel C, which it discontinued in December.
At this point, why would it even bother with Android on tablets? Chrome OS can run virtually all the same apps, but provides a much more powerful web browsing experience, and better built-in stylus support. Besides, Chromebooks are already super popular in schools (in the US, at least), so Google at least has a foothold on that market. But even that’s ready to be contested – Apple is hosting an education eventtomorrow where it’s expected to announce a low-cost iPad for schools.
As much as I’d love to see Google surprise me with new and improved tablet support on Android, I’ve been waiting 8 years for a proper competitor to the iPad. I’m not holding my breath.
Checkout these great deals: www.120ChromeBooks.com

Source: https://goo.gl/zA2aqj
  • March 26th, 2018
  • w

Apple's new $329 iPad with Pencil support takes on Chromebooks

What do you Think?

Can Apple New iPad really replace Chromebooks in the classrooms. What do you Think?

At its education event in Chicago on Tuesday, Apple showed off a new iPad to help get ahead in the classroom.

t's back-to-school for Apple with a brand new iPad.
Apple unveiled a new version of its tablet franchise at its education event in Chicago on Tuesday, which it hosted at the Lane Tech College Prep High School. The school is the largest public high school in Chicago.
"Macs and iPads are used throughout schools by students for everything from music to language arts and even advanced robotics," Apple's CEO Tim Cook said at the event.
Apple called the new iPad "our most affordable iPad." It starts at $299 for schools, and $329 for consumers (£319 in the UKAU$469 in Australia) for the 32GB model. The new iPad is available to order starting today, and you can expect shipping to start this week. The current cheapest iPad is also $329. 
The new 9.7 inch iPad will be able to use Apple's Pencil stylus, which costs an additional $99. 
"The new 9.7 inch iPad takes everything people love about our most popular iPad and make it even better," Greg Joswiak, one of Apple's marketing executives, said.
It'll have an 8-megapixel camera, with 10 hours battery life and weigh just 1 pound (469 grams), Apple said. The new iPad uses an A10 chip and supports 300 Mbps LTE. The A10 Fusion chip means that the iPad is more powerful than most laptops and essentially every Chromebook. 
The iPad's Retina screen will also open up augmented reality possibilities for students, like virtually dissecting a frog
The iPad mimics features already available on the iPad Pro, like tilt and pressure, as well as a high-resolution touch system, which allows for quick responses. The Apple Pencil will also have its own set of apps available, the most popular ones which are Pages and Keynote.
The Pencil will allow users to add smart annotations to Pages, which means students and teachers can add marks to the Pages document directly.
Along with the update comes several software upgrades too, like Apple increasing the iCloud storage space for schools from 5 to 200 gigabytes. The company also revealed a School Manager program, as well as making the Classroom app available for the Mac. 
If the $99 Apple Pencil is too expensive, Logitech offers a $49 alternative aimed at kids, called the Crayon.
The new iPad is Apple's answer to Google's Chromebook, which has become the go-to gadget for teachers in classrooms. Apple devices used to fill up schools across the country, but has since slipped as Google's Chromebooks rose in popularity.
One of Google's major advantages over Apple for educators was that their Chromebooks were more affordable than iPads. While schools typically buy Chromebooks for about $250 to $300, iPads for schools can cost nearly $800 apiece, because of the education curriculum included with Apple's tablet. Apple offers a discount for schools with its newest iPad, at a $29 price drop, but it's still more expensive than most Chromebooks.
In the last quarter of 2017, six out of every 10 mobile devices shipped to a K-12 school in the US were Chromebooks, according to Google. That's compared to the 11 percent of schools that are using iOS, according to FutureSource Consulting.
This is Apple's first education-focused event since Apple's digital textbooks launched in 2012. As interest in tablets dwindle, Apple has increasingly relied on schools and businesses to drum up interests in iPads.
"Students and teachers alike love the iPad. They love that it's so easy to use ... It feels like an extension of their minds," Joswiak said.
Apple's iPad initially became a big seller when it hit the market in 2010 and was considered the third leg of the company's "three-legged stool" of strong businesses. But the tablets have struggled over the past couple of years as Apple's iPhones get bigger and its Mac computers get smaller. People who've bought iPads have held onto them longer, while others find they don't need a tablet once they have an iPhone Plus and a Mac.
In 2015, Apple tried to give new life to its iPad by introducing the 12.9-inch Pro model with an optional keyboard case and Apple Pencil stylus. The Pros, along with a lower-priced iPad model that Apple launched a year ago, have helped the company's iPad sales rebound after 13 straight quarters of declines.
With the new model announced at a school on Tuesday, it's Apple's latest bet to win back the education market.
For Great Chromebooks check out www.120chromebooks.com
Source: cNet.com

Monday, March 26, 2018

Google Debuts Chrome OS tablets

Ahead of Apple’s education-focused event tomorrow, which in itself is a reaction to the dominance of Chromebooks in schools, Google today announced the first Chrome OS tablet. The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is a new form factor for Chrome OS going directly after the K-12 market.

Since its 2011 launch, Chrome OS has expanded beyond laptops with Chromeboxes and all-in-onesConvertibles with touchscreens that can be used in several modes are also popular, with Google now expanding the operating system to dedicated tablets.
It runs the same full-featured Chrome OS already found on existing tablet convertibles with a dock at the bottom of the screen that features touch tools for quickly creating a note, taking a screenshot, and magnifying.
All existing Chromebook education features like classroom IT management already work, as does the Play Store and Android apps. Support for Google’s Expeditions AR software, which features a variety of lessons in biology, geography, and astronomy, is coming soon.
Design-wise and given the educational focus, this inaugural device looks like existing Android tablets. Thick bezels surround a 9.7 LED-backlit display with 2048 x 1536 resolution for a PPI of 264. This IPS panel supports an included Wacom EMR stylus that does not need a battery and can be seamlessly inserted into the tablet for storage.

At 1.21 pounds, it is slightly heavier than the entry-level iPad and about 2.5mm thicker at 9.98mm. The Chromebook Tab 10 is designed for collaboration, while Acer notes a portable design with a textured back in cobalt blue.
On the specs front, it is powered by a processor we first saw on the Samsung Chromebook Plus. The OP1 line is designed to meet Google’s guidelines for insuring a standard Chrome OS experience with Android apps, USB-C, and long battery life.
On this device, the chipset features two Cortex-A72 and four Cortex-A53 processor cores. Like other Chromebooks today, it features 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage with a microSD card slot for expansion.
Other specs include 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, and 5 megapixel on the rear. A USB Type-C port is accompanied by a 3.5mm headphone jack and dual speakers. Battery is rated at 9 hours per charge.
It is launching this April in North America for $329 and in EMEA this May at €329. Price-wise, it’s identical to the current entry-level iPad and on par with most Chromebooks today.

Check out Other Great Deals at www.120chromebooks.com

Source: 9-5 Google: https://goo.gl/jqQ3Yu

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Google Pixelbook review: Is it worth $999 now?

Is the NEW Google Pixelbook worth $999 now?

Google’s previous Chromebook Pixels were pretty mixed bags. The original launched in 2013 for $1299 and its successor for $999. The hardware was definitely worth the cash, but the software wasn’t.
Chrome OS was a glorified browser, which made the laptop inconvenient (or nearly impossible) to use for those who required specialized software. But times have changed and so have Chromebooks. The newest model is piggybacking on Android’s ample app portfolio, making the software struggle much more bearable. On top of that the lineup has undergone a complete re-branding and redesign. Throw in a shiny stylus and you have a whole new concept to show Chrome OS fans.
Are these changes enough to validate spending $999 on the Google Pixelbook though? We’ve spent the last two weeks putting the new Chrome OS 2-in-1 through its paces, so let’s jump in.

It all starts with the display

Love at first sight exists — when it comes to fancy tech, at least. It’s why we can stand in store aisles for hours, staring at fancy 4K content that seems to look better than real life. Screen quality can make or break your experience. It’s what you look at the whole time you use your computer.

Google never skimps on its Chromebook displays, and the Pixelbook is no exception. It touts a 12.3-inch panel with a 2400 x 1600 resolution and 400 nits of brightness; bright enough to work comfortably in direct sunlight. The screen can create a lot of glare, though.
The screen got smaller, but so did the laptop. It’s now more portable. The PPI decreased too, from 239 to 235, but the difference is unnoticeable.
Editor's Pick

Display specs: the good, the bad, and the completely irrelevant

All in all, the screen is very good. It is bright and vibrant, and the colors aren’t over saturated. Text and images look crisp. The only real complaint with the screen is that it has very large bezels (more on that later).

Stunning build quality and a 2-in-1 design to fit every need

Chromebooks made by Google are known for their outstanding build quality. It’s part of why they’re so expensive. The search giant has done it again, delivering an amazingly-built laptop you won’t be ashamed to show off on your coffee shop adventures.

The Pixelbook has an aluminum body, with silicone padding surrounding a glass trackpad. On the lid behind the screen you can also find a Pixel-like glass element, which contrasts very nicely against the otherwise metallic surface. Overall it is a stunning device and nothing ever feels anything short of premium.
...nothing ever feels anything short of premium
At first I was a little hesitant about the silicone areas, but they’re actually more comfortable than cold metal, which can become warm and sweaty after typing. The only bad news is white silicone gets dirty and stains quickly. My unit already has red accents in the corners — from what, I will never know.
The bezels are pretty large compared to what we are used to seeing in other premium laptops, but they’re there for a reason.

Google claims the bezels are there for two reasons. Apparently they sacrificed the bezel-to-screen ratio to make the Pixelbook thinner and more comfortable to hold in tablet mode.
Google claims the big bezels are there for two reasons: for comfort and thinness
But let’s focus on that new and exciting 2-in-1 form factor. Much like the many other devices that have adopted flippy screens that fold all the way back, the Pixelbook can assume multiple forms. You can use it as a traditional laptop, prop it up as a tent, or fold it all the way back to imitate a tablet.

This is certainly convenient to use. You can easily prop it up to watch a movie or fold it into a more traditional angle to get working. The hinge mechanism is solid enough for confident handling. It doesn’t wiggle, move around or make any weird noises.
The Google Pixelbook is super slim, at only 0.4 inches thick. Weighing 2.4 pounds, it is as light as an 11-inch Macbook Air. It’s hard to make such a thin and light laptop feel sturdy, and Google’s done just that.
The 12.3-inch Google Pixelbook is super thin at just 0.4 inches thick and weighs as much as an 11-inch Macbook Air
One thing I did not like was the placement of the power and volume buttons. They are pushed off to the edge — rare in conventional laptops. This shows how much of a priority Google is giving the tablet mode. Those buttons are only intuitive to use when the computer is folded into a pad. It’s a bit weird for those of us who use the laptop mode more often.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard and trackpad are some of the most important factors when choosing a new laptop, as they’re the main forms of interaction with a computer. The Pixelbook doesn’t disappoint here either.

The keyboard buttons feature a soft, rubberized texture. There is a certain sense of security when typing on non-slippery keys, unlike with premium metal keys. They offer solid feedback and comfortable travel, much like previous generations of the Chromebook Pixel.
The trackpad is nice and responsive. It is made of glass, so there is very little friction. The working area is large enough to move the cursor around with confidence.

Performance and hardware

Google’s Chromebooks were historically a little over-powered. Chrome OS didn’t need much to operate efficiently, so the specs seemed wasted. Things have changed, though. Google has since introduced support for Android apps in Chrome OS, apps which require more kick, and make the higher-end specs seem more appropriate.

The base model Pixelbook comes with a 7th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of internal storage. The processor can be switched for an i7, the RAM can be upgraded to 16 GB, and storage can be increased to either 256 GB or 512 GB.
The model we used had an i5 chipset, 256 GB of storage, and 8 GB of RAM, which still fared well against a decent workload. We experienced no hiccups and were only limited by internet speeds. Running Android apps was also smooth. The computer is still arguably over-powered, but at least now it can do much more than browse the internet.
The Pixelbook is still arguably over-powered, but now it can do much more than just browse the internet.

Battery life

Google says the Pixelbook should run for about 10 hours of mixed usage. I average around 8 or 9 hours, which is still a good amount of time. Heavy users need not worry, as the Pixelbook charges pretty fast. Google claims you can use it for 2 hours after just 15 minutes of charging. It should be able to run for 7.5 hours after a 60-minute charge.

Software and Android apps

Chrome OS is pretty much the same as you’d expect. It’s a glorified browser with a desktop-like UI which makes the workflow smooth and easy. The operating system is so light it boots up in about 5 seconds.
It’s got the usual browser, shortcuts, and Chrome apps, which make for a great experience, but it now also supports Android apps. Most of these are designed to be used in mobile devices with a touchscreen, so the Pixelbook’s tablet emphasis makes sense.

Chrome OS is no longer held back by its lack of software support. Now it has a huge chunk of one of the largest app portfolios around at its disposal. Over a million Android apps from the Google Play Store can be installed in a Chromebook. It’s gone from an abysmal selection of apps to more than you could ever download; it’s a true Chromebook renaissance.
Casual users will find the wide selection of Android applications very helpful. You can get Microsoft’s Office suite, apps like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and countless other goodies. Some of these apps might not be good enough for professionals and more specialized users though.
Remember that Android apps are still mobile applications made to keep you productive on-the-go
Android apps are not made for heavy workloads and busy labor sessions — they are mobile applications made to keep you productive on-the-go. The Office apps are not as complete as the Windows and macOS versions. The same applies to Photoshop Lightroom, which doesn’t get close to the productivity of desktop versions. Some features might be missing, or harder to find.
Because this device essentially works as an oversized Android tablet, things can also look a little wonky. Chrome OS treats these non-optimized apps as windows, which appear floating around the desktop, but that is clearly not the most comfortable way to use an app on a tablet. You can decide to launch it in full screen, but that usually makes the UI look too weird.

As a phone-shaped window, Facebook looks tiny and is annoying to use. The app must then be restarted for switching to full-screen, and once it re-launches things get even weirder. Icons and fonts look too small, while images are huge. Not to mention a weird bug that makes videos play cropped, displaying only a zoomed in section of the clip.
We can no longer complain about a lack of apps — except when they don't work properly
Things have gotten insanely better for Chrome OS, and the Pixelbook clearly displays its capabilities, but the experience is not as intuitive and smooth as it could be. We can no longer complain about a lack of apps — except when they don’t work properly.
This is also the first laptop to come with Google Assistant built in. You can simply say the now-iconic phrase “OK, Google” and the laptop will begin listening to your commands. You can also hit the dedicated Google Assistant shortcut button, between the Ctrl and Alt keys, or even use the Google Pixelbook Pen to circle content and get help from Google Assistant. Speaking of the pen, let’s get into that.

The almighty stylus!

The Google Pixelbook Pen is made in tune with the laptop. About 3/5 of its body is aluminum, with an end covered in silicone, much like the Pixelbook. The pen is made to work — and look — simple, featuring a single button for circling content you want Google Assistant to help you with.

The stylus is great, but its use is a little limited
The pen works well. It fits snug in the hand and has a light-yet-sturdy feel to it — for $99 extra, it had better. It offers pressure sensitivity and tilt support, making it a handy gadget for artists and creatives.
The pen is great, but its use is a little limited. There are plenty of drawing apps, but they all seem to have some kind of downside. Some are not optimized for a screen this size, others don’t offer the best stylus support. Even if you find the perfect application to use the pen with, they all seem to lag when it comes to stylus input. The only application in which I was able to draw with no issues was Squid.

Serious artists might see the Pixelbook Pen as pretty much a glorified pointer and Google Assistant tool, but the pen is still quite usable if you are not too picky. Making notes was simple (though laggy), and Squid is a pretty good app for drawing. Using a physical stylus for navigating can be very useful for certain apps though, especially for those of us who like editing photos or video.

So… is it worth the $999?

Chrome OS continues to be a fast, convenient, no-hassle operating system, but it is only as productive as Chrome and a selection of Android apps allow it to be. Very few have been modified to work well with a Chromebook. The “Apps for your Chromebooks” section in the Google Play Store only features 13 applications.
The Pixelbook is a great computer — at least until you start using it
The Pixelbook is certainly worth its price in terms of hardware. Its design is amazing. Its performance is on point. The battery life is great. The screen looks good. Overall, it’s a great computer — at least until you start using it. Chrome OS continues to limit the experience. It will be hard to get things done without some workarounds and hoop jumping. Android apps certainly help, but they are also wonky a lot of the time.

The way I see it, where we once were able to see the potential in Chrome OS, we can now feel it, but it’s just not quite there yet. Content needs to keep getting optimized, as the software evolves to better merge Chrome and Android. Until then, the Google Pixelbook will stay more of a novelty item, much like previous Chromebook Pixel models.
If you want a simple laptop mostly for browsing the internet and using some apps from time to time, this is a good option — albeit an expensive one. More demanding users will find this machine can get the job done, but computers with other operating systems at similar price points will get it done better and with less hassle.

For GREAT DEALS Check Out Others at www.120chromebooks.com

source: The Android Authority