2017

5 things I want – Chromebook Pixel 2017

I have had the current Chromebook Pixel for about 2 years and it still runs like new. However, Chromebook trends have changed and I would love the next Chromebook Pixel to take better advantage of these trends. Here’s 5 things I want from a 2017 version.

  1. Tablet with a detachable keyboard – Two examples of this come to mind, the Surface Pro/Surfacebook and the Pixel C.  Both would be good options from a design standpoint.
  2. More Native Storage – Lets get real with storage.  32 GB is no where near enough storeage.  I use a 256 GB SD card in mine as secondary storage.  Lets bump the minimum storage to 128.
  3. An Integrated Stylus – After playing with the Surface and the new Samsung Chromebook Plus, I think a stylus is very useful for many varying tasks, especially if more advanced apps come to chromebooks, ie Photoshop.
  4. Fingerprint Reader – This functionality is coming soon in Chrome OS 58.  I would love to see this on the next Chromebook Pixel.
  5. More Robust Native Google Apps – With the introduction of the new Windows 10 creators update, it would behoove Google to work on their core apps to better compete with Windows and Mac

Over the last few years, Google has slowly added much needed features to the Chrome Operating System.  I would love to see google show off what they can do with the next Chromebook Pixel.

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No new Chromebook Pixel this year?

In a report by techcrunch.com, Google is not planning on bringing back the Chromebook Pixel Laptop this year.  They sat down with Google’s senior vice president for hardware, Rick Osterloh, and he said “we have no plans for Google-branded laptops.” Maybe it’s just me being optimistic, but I’m hopeful that they have no plans for a Google branded laptop this year because they are going to be releasing a Google branded Pixel Chrome OS tablet.

Update: Never say never! Osterloh sent us this additional comment after we published: “Regarding the future of Google-branded laptops (whether called Pixel or not), I should clarify that we don’t have any plans to discuss at this time.”

Chrome 58 just added even better security – and how to set it up

Yesterday, I saw some chatter online stating that Chrome will be supporting fingerprint readers. However, when I opened my Chromebook, which is running the developer build, I couldn’t find this new security capability.  I spent some time looking around and found out where it is.  Here is a quick tutorial on how to set up the fingerprint feature.

Make sure that you are running the developer build.

screenshot-2017-02-21-at-9-01-18-am

  1.  Go in to your browser and type chrome://flags, and find the fingerprint feature.screenshot-2017-02-21-at-9-01-15-am
  2. Change the drop down menu from Default to enabled.
  3. You will be prompted to restart.screenshot-2017-02-21-at-9-01-44-am
  4. Go to settings and find smart lock under that menu you will find enable fingerprint.screenshot-2017-02-21-at-9-08-09-am
  5. If you have a USB fingerprint reader, give it a try.screenshot-2017-02-21-at-9-10-14-am

 

 

Basics – Setting up a printer on a chromebook

Over the past few years, it has been getting easier and easier to set up a printer on your Chromebook.

Quick Set-up instructions

  1. Click on the user icon at the bottom right of your screenscreenshot-2017-02-16-at-9-19-58-pm
  2. Click “Settings”, scroll down and click “Show advanced settings”
  3. Scroll until you see the setting for “Google Cloud Print”screenshot-2017-02-17-at-4-52-43-pm
  4. Choose your printer from the listscreenshot-2017-02-17-at-4-53-18-pm

Here are some google videos that walk you through setting up a traditional printer and a cloud printer.

Cloud printing can be very handy if you are printing things on the go.  It gives you the ability to send files from anywhere right to your home printer.

 

If for some reason your printer is not supported by Google Cloud Print, I found an alternate wifi chrome app that sets up a local IP based printing service.

  1. Open the Chrome Store
  2. Search for HP Print (or click the link)
  3. Download and openscreenshot-2017-02-17-at-4-53-48-pm
  4. Go to your printer and print off its’ set up page.  On this page you will see the printer’s IP address.
  5. Once you have this, click “add printer,” enter the IP address and give it a name.screenshot-2017-02-17-at-4-54-08-pm

 

Evolution of the Chromebooks

original-hp-chromebook

My entry into the world of Chome OS started with the original HP Chromebook (shown above).  It was a 14 inch, no frills, cheap laptop body that they put no extra effort behind.  Essentially, they took an existing, low end pavilion laptop and put Chrome OS on it.  When I ordered this device, I chose to do so because I didn’t want to spend a lot on a new laptop. I needed something to suffice until I saved enough for a higher end machine.  Much to my surprise, the Chromebook far exceeded my expectations.  The build of the laptop was about what I expected (cheap and made of plastic) but once I started using it I noticed that it didn’t perform like a low end computer.  The performance on the internet was similar to a machine (in the windows world) that was double or triple the price.

chromebook-cr48

The first Chromebook on the market was released in December 2010 and was called the CR 48. It was an ugly, boring, matte black laptop that was testing a concept of Google’s. They wanted to make a low powered simple machine that did everything on the web without downloading extra programs.  This early Chromebook was essentially a stripped down version of the Linux operating system that ran one program, the Chrome web browser.  Google and Tech enthusiast were the targeted market.  According to reports, only about 60,000 were made but this started something much bigger.

chromebook-pixel

While the total number of Chromebooks sold last year is still unknown, the first quarter of 2016 shows sales that outpaced mac laptops, shipping around 2 million machines.  Today, Chromebooks are much more than just a web browser and with each release they inch toward Mac and Windows level ability and performance.  More basic functionality is baked right in to the operating system including things like printing and being able to organize in folders. However, most programs (in the Chrome web store) are online only and do not work without an internet connection. This is about to change.  In the fall of last year google released the beta version of the Android Play Store for Chrome OS.

chromebook_hero_v2_1417_v2

Pictured above is the new Samsung Chromebook Pro/Plus (Click here for more infomation). It will be the first Chromebook to ship with the non-beta version of the Play Store for Chrome OS.  Co-Developed by Samsung and Google, it is designed to take advantage of all the new features coming soon to Chrome OS.  This new vision essentially combines an Android tablet and a Chrome OS Laptop into one powerful device.  Adding this functionality will be a big step forward into allowing users to move their Chromebooks from an ancillary device to their main device.

The key to Chrome OS is to keep the operating system streamlined and fast but also to add features to make it more robust.  I have put together a wish list for future Chrome OS machines.