Android passes Windows

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Albeit by just a small amount, for the first time ever, Android has passed windows in market share.  According to Statcounter.com, Android passed windows in March and is now 37.93% to Windows’ 37.91%.  This is a tiny percentage and therefore a small victory for Android, but is the first time any OS has surpassed Windows in Market Share, making it quite significant.

Android 37.93%

Windows 37.91%

iOS 13.09%

OS X 5.17%

Unknown 2.85%

Linux 0.75%

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source – Statcounter.com

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Massive update for Crossover on Chrome OS

Yesterday, Codeweavers released their first update for Crossover since October.  I installed it last night and was very pleased. With this update, there is now much greater compatibility for a broader array of Windows programs running in ChromeOS.  In addition to the increase in the amount of programs supported, they did a great job polishing the interface.

Screenshot 2017-03-30 at 7.46.16 PM

There are two key things that Chromebooks will need to do to take advantage of the new programs now available to it.  First problem that they’ll run into is a storage issue. Most Chromebooks run on 32 GB or less. I installed steam but found that my Chromebook Pixel didn’t have enough space to install most of the games. This will be a huge problem going forward if things don’t change, but the upside is that more storage is cheap. The cost difference between a 32 GB and a 64 GB SSD is just about nothing for manufacturers.  Secondly, as features increase, a Celeron processor is just not going to cut it. I would love to see more manufactures use the M series processors from Intel.

I have recently written some articles on my opinions on what ChromeOS needs to do to thrive.  If you are interested, here are the links below:

Should Chrome OS evolve?

5 Things I Want – Chromebooks

5 things I want – Chromebook Pixel 2017

CODEWEAVERS RELEASES V.2 TECH PREVIEW FOR CROSSOVER ANDROID

Chrome OS and Android users now have access to Office 2013, Steam, multi-windows, and an enhanced GUI. CrossOver Android V.2 is significantly improved from initial offering.

SAINT PAUL, Minn (March 29, 2017) — CodeWeavers, Inc., developer of CrossOver—the easiest, fastest way to run Windows software on Mac, Linux, Android, and Chrome OS—announced the V.2 Tech Preview of CrossOver Android. The latest Tech Preview now gives Chrome OS and Android users access to Microsoft Office 2013, the Steam Client, Wizard101, and other interesting Windows applications too numerous to mention. Additionally, V.2 Tech Preview includes multi-window support for running multiple applications, cut and paste between Windows applications and Android applications, and an enhanced user interface that makes installing applications simpler and more intuitive.

Initially released in August, CrossOver Android was a proof-of-concept for running Windows applications on Android devices. Over the course of six months, CrossOver Android has evolved from a concept with interesting potential to a more developed technology that is rapidly incorporating support for a larger library of Windows applications. It is also bringing the convenience, ease, and interoperability of the full-featured modern Office suite to Android and Chrome OS users.

“I’m incredibly excited about CrossOver Android. The technology is rapidly coming up to speed with our Windows application support for our other software platforms,” exclaims President James Ramey. “The portability and convenience of a Chromebook combined with the library of Windows applications, as well as Android and Chrome applications, will give most end users a complete solution. ”

CrossOver Android is available today in the Google Play Store in closed Beta. Users can request access to the Beta program by signing up at https://www.codeweavers.com/products/crossover-android.

Best $230 dollar phone – Now up for Preorder

If you are in the market for a cheap but good Android phone look no further than the Moto G5 Plus.  For only $229 you get specs that compete against phones that are far more expensive.  In addition to the low price you don’t have to deal with all the bloat of a carrier  phone (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile).

Preorder at Bestbuy.com

Full review at androidcentral.com

Specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processorOcta-core 2GHz processor and 2GB of RAM deliver outstanding overall performance for opening and running applications, flipping through menus, running home screens and more.
  • Android 7.0 Nougat OSMakes it easier to take action in the moment, with more personalized settings and smarter notifications.
  • Compatible with CDMA and GSM carriers, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T and T-MobileAlso compatible with prepaid SIM Kits, including Verizon Wireless Prepaid, Cricket Wireless, Tracfone, Net10, H2O, GoPhone and Simple Mobile.
  • 4G LTE speedProvides fast Web connection for downloading apps, streaming content and staying connected with social media.
  • 5.2″ touch screen LCD with Full HD 1080p resolution and 424 ppiExtra-large screen is matched with a slim body to comfortably fit in your hand. Corning™ Gorilla™ Glass 3 resists scratches.
  • 12.0MP camera with Dual Autofocus PixelsWith a high pixel density sensor the camera is able to lock onto a subject easily. Fewer missed shots, more stunning photos day or night. Also includes a front-facing 5.0MP camera for self-portraits.
  • 32GB internal memory plus microSD slotProvides plenty of storage space for your contacts, music, photos, apps and more. Expand storage up to 128GB by adding a microSD card (sold separately).
  • Your fingerprint keeps your phone secureSwipe your finger on the backside sensor panel to unlock your phone.
  • Use your smartphone as a mobile hotspotShare your 4G data connection with other compatible wireless devices.*
  • Access to Google PlayBrowse and download apps, magazines, books, movies, and television programs directly to your phone.
  • Listen to your favorite tunesStore and play your MP3 files on your phone.

Looking forward to this feature in Google Maps

For me, the ability to share your location in Google maps has been a long awaited feature.  When I am traveling and want to share my ETA with family or plan to meet someone somewhere, I currently use Glympse. The problem is that to use it with others I have to convince them to put an app on their phone and create an account in order to share my location. Having this feature baked right in to every phone is a great advancement, by eliminating the need for an extra app.

The update should be available soon.

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Next time you’re on your way or running late, you can share your real-time location and trip progress from navigation as well. During your next trip, tap the “More” button on the bottom on the navigation screen, and then tap “Share trip.” When you share your trip with people, they’ll see your expected arrival time and can follow your journey as you head toward your destination. Sharing automatically ends when you arrive.

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Location sharing on Google Maps is rolling out soon worldwide, and you’ll be able to quickly let your friends and family know where you are and when you’ll get where you’re going. The answer to “where are you?” is only a tap away.

source – Google

Android O has been announced – Downloadable images now live

Preview builds of the new Android OS are now live and available for download for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C devices. I’ll wait for the beta build but if you would like to give it a try, head on over to the developer site and download the image for your phone.

 

What’s new in O?

Android O introduces a number of new features and APIs to use in your apps. Here’s are just a few new things for you to start trying in this first Developer Preview:

Background limits: Building on the work we began in Nougat, Android O puts a big priority on improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance. To make this possible, we’ve put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user’s device and battery. Background limits represent a significant change in Android, so we want every developer to get familiar with them. Check out the documentation on background execution limits and background location limits for details.

Notification channels: Android O also introduces notification channels, which are new app-defined categories for notification content. Channels let developers give users fine-grained control over different kinds of notifications — users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app’s notifications together.

Notification channels let users control your app’s notification categories

Android O also adds new visuals and grouping to notifications that make it easier for users to see what’s going on when they have an incoming message or are glancing at the notification shade.

Autofill APIs: Android users already depend on a range of password managers to autofill login details and repetitive information, which makes setting up new apps or placing transactions easier. Now we are making this work more easily across the ecosystem by adding platform support for autofill. Users can select an autofill app, similar to the way they select a keyboard app. The autofill app stores and secures user data, such as addresses, user names, and even passwords. For apps that want to handle autofill, we’re adding new APIs to implement an Autofill service.

PIP for handsets and new windowing features: Picture in Picture (PIP) display is now available on phones and tablets, so users can continue watching a video while they’re answering a chat or hailing a car. Apps can put themselves in PiP mode from the resumed or a pausing state where the system supports it – and you can specify the aspect ratio and a set of custom interactions (such as play/pause). Other new windowing features include a new app overlay window for apps to use instead of system alert window, and multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display.

Font resources in XML: Fonts are now a fully supported resource type in Android O. Apps can now use fonts in XML layouts as well as define font families in XML — declaring the font style and weight along with the font files.

Adaptive icons: To help you integrate better with the device UI, you can now create adaptive icons that the system displays in different shapes, based on a mask selected by the device. The system also animates interactions with the icons, and them in the launcher, shortcuts, Settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.

Adaptive icons display in a variety of shapes across different device models.

Wide-gamut color for apps: Android developers of imaging apps can now take advantage of new devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display. To display wide gamut images, apps will need to enable a flag in their manifest (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, etc.).

Connectivity: For the ultimate in audio fidelity, Android O now also supports high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as the LDAC codec. We’re also adding new Wi-Fi features as well, like Wi-Fi Aware, previously known as Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN). On devices with the appropriate hardware, apps and nearby devices can discover and communicate over Wi-Fi without an Internet access point. We’re working with our hardware partners to bring Wi-Fi Aware technology to devices as soon as possible.

The Telecom framework is extending ConnectionService APIs to enable third party calling apps integrate with System UI and operate seamlessly with other audio apps. For instance, apps can have their calls displayed and controlled in different kinds of UIs such as car head units.

Keyboard navigation: With the advent of Google Play apps on Chrome OS and other large form factors, we’re seeing a resurgence of keyboard navigation use within these apps. In Android O we focused on building a more reliable, predictable model for “arrow” and “tab” navigation that aids both developers and end users.

AAudio API for Pro Audio: AAudio is a new native API that’s designed specifically for apps that require high-performance, low-latency audio. Apps using AAudio read and write data via streams. In the Developer Preview we’re releasing an early version of this new API to get your feedback.

WebView enhancements: In Android Nougat we introduced an optional multiprocess mode for WebView that moved the handling of web content into an isolated process. In Android O, we’re enabling multiprocess mode by default and adding an API to let your app handle errors and crashes, for enhanced security and improved app stability. As a further security measure, you can now opt in your app’s WebView objects to verify URLs through Google Safe Browsing.

Java 8 Language APIs and runtime optimizations: Android now supports several new Java Language APIs, including the new java.time API. In addition, the Android Runtime is faster than ever before, with improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.

Partner platform contributions: Hardware manufacturers and silicon partners have accelerated fixes and enhancements to the Android platform in the O release. For example, Sony has contributed more than 30 feature enhancements including the LDAC codec and 250 bug fixes to Android O.

source – Google

Android O has been announced – Downloadable images now live

Preview builds of the new Android OS are now live and available for download for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C devices. I’ll wait for the beta build but if you would like to give it a try, head on over to the developer site and download the image for your phone.

 

What’s new in O?

Android O introduces a number of new features and APIs to use in your apps. Here’s are just a few new things for you to start trying in this first Developer Preview:

Background limits: Building on the work we began in Nougat, Android O puts a big priority on improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance. To make this possible, we’ve put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user’s device and battery. Background limits represent a significant change in Android, so we want every developer to get familiar with them. Check out the documentation on background execution limits and background location limits for details.

Notification channels: Android O also introduces notification channels, which are new app-defined categories for notification content. Channels let developers give users fine-grained control over different kinds of notifications — users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app’s notifications together.

Notification channels let users control your app’s notification categories

Android O also adds new visuals and grouping to notifications that make it easier for users to see what’s going on when they have an incoming message or are glancing at the notification shade.

Autofill APIs: Android users already depend on a range of password managers to autofill login details and repetitive information, which makes setting up new apps or placing transactions easier. Now we are making this work more easily across the ecosystem by adding platform support for autofill. Users can select an autofill app, similar to the way they select a keyboard app. The autofill app stores and secures user data, such as addresses, user names, and even passwords. For apps that want to handle autofill, we’re adding new APIs to implement an Autofill service.

PIP for handsets and new windowing features: Picture in Picture (PIP) display is now available on phones and tablets, so users can continue watching a video while they’re answering a chat or hailing a car. Apps can put themselves in PiP mode from the resumed or a pausing state where the system supports it – and you can specify the aspect ratio and a set of custom interactions (such as play/pause). Other new windowing features include a new app overlay window for apps to use instead of system alert window, and multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display.

Font resources in XML: Fonts are now a fully supported resource type in Android O. Apps can now use fonts in XML layouts as well as define font families in XML — declaring the font style and weight along with the font files.

Adaptive icons: To help you integrate better with the device UI, you can now create adaptive icons that the system displays in different shapes, based on a mask selected by the device. The system also animates interactions with the icons, and them in the launcher, shortcuts, Settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.

Adaptive icons display in a variety of shapes across different device models.

Wide-gamut color for apps: Android developers of imaging apps can now take advantage of new devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display. To display wide gamut images, apps will need to enable a flag in their manifest (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, etc.).

Connectivity: For the ultimate in audio fidelity, Android O now also supports high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as the LDAC codec. We’re also adding new Wi-Fi features as well, like Wi-Fi Aware, previously known as Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN). On devices with the appropriate hardware, apps and nearby devices can discover and communicate over Wi-Fi without an Internet access point. We’re working with our hardware partners to bring Wi-Fi Aware technology to devices as soon as possible.

The Telecom framework is extending ConnectionService APIs to enable third party calling apps integrate with System UI and operate seamlessly with other audio apps. For instance, apps can have their calls displayed and controlled in different kinds of UIs such as car head units.

Keyboard navigation: With the advent of Google Play apps on Chrome OS and other large form factors, we’re seeing a resurgence of keyboard navigation use within these apps. In Android O we focused on building a more reliable, predictable model for “arrow” and “tab” navigation that aids both developers and end users.

AAudio API for Pro Audio: AAudio is a new native API that’s designed specifically for apps that require high-performance, low-latency audio. Apps using AAudio read and write data via streams. In the Developer Preview we’re releasing an early version of this new API to get your feedback.

WebView enhancements: In Android Nougat we introduced an optional multiprocess mode for WebView that moved the handling of web content into an isolated process. In Android O, we’re enabling multiprocess mode by default and adding an API to let your app handle errors and crashes, for enhanced security and improved app stability. As a further security measure, you can now opt in your app’s WebView objects to verify URLs through Google Safe Browsing.

Java 8 Language APIs and runtime optimizations: Android now supports several new Java Language APIs, including the new java.time API. In addition, the Android Runtime is faster than ever before, with improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.

Partner platform contributions: Hardware manufacturers and silicon partners have accelerated fixes and enhancements to the Android platform in the O release. For example, Sony has contributed more than 30 feature enhancements including the LDAC codec and 250 bug fixes to Android O.

source – Google

Chrome OS – The most popular Linux distro in the USA?

 

Among fans of the Linux operating system, a common topic of discussion is “the year of the Linux desktop.” Fans keep waiting for their operating system to make a big push in popularity and become a main contender for home computing and each year the user base grows but only by small amounts. I think the fuse has finally been lit but not by traditional Linux companies like Ubuntu, SuSE and Redhat, but by Google via Chrome OS.

 

Chrome OS is Linux

At its core, Chrome OS is Linux. It runs the same kernel as every other Linux Distribution.  The difference is the UI. Most other distros use KDE, Gnome, or a lightweight variant but Google decided to go a different direction and developed a UI of their own, one that they could control and evolve. When Google started with this, they designed it as a very basic interface, acting only as a browser. Since conception, it has grown into something that is now starting to be able to compete with the likes of Windows and Mac.

Application support

Android apps are just the beginning. By introducing them into Chrome OS, it starts the transition process from web OS to desktop OS.  By adding the Play Store, chrome OS gets access to millions of apps and gives it a base to grow from.  Google will need to incentivise top app developers to make more robust apps designed specifically for the more powerful OS.  To bridge the gap between until more robust applications are released, Google may find it works in their best interest to work with a company called Codeweavers who currently makes Crossover Office for Linux and Mac, allowing both to install Windows based programs natively.

Gaming

Basic gaming will start with Android’s vast array of games, ranging from very basic apps to popular console games of days past.  The next step will be to encourage modern games to make the jump.  This might be easier to do than one might think.  Even though Traditional Linux distros have 1.45% of the market, many game developers release their newest games simultaneously for Windows and Linux.  This is mainly due to the support of Steam, providing an easy way to install games across multiple OSes.  Chrome OS has over double the user base of other Linux distros, but at this point doesn’t have any console style games. It might be harder to do this for Chrome OS due to the hefty requirements of many games because the majority of Chromebooks use Celeron processors and would not be able to run most, if not all, modern games.  However, this trend is changing. More high end Chromebooks have been popping up with higher end processors. Machines like the  Samsung Chromebook Pro and the Asus Chromebook C302CA both use Intel’s M3 processor.

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Wrapping up

Chrome OS could be the desktop to bring to pass “the year of the Linux desktop” and directly take on Microsoft for dominance of computing, but many changes will have to be made to make this possible. Development of robust applications and console grade games will be the next essential step in the further adoption of Chrome OS.

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 to arrive on March 24th – available for preorder at Best Buy for $599

 

Samsung announced pre-order and availability of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, a powerful and fast 2-in-1 tablet packed with advanced technology. Pre-order for Tab S3 begins on March 17 at $599.99 at Samsung.com and select retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon, with in-store availability starting March 24. The Tab S3 will be available in Black and Silver.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Specifications*

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
DISPLAY 9.7” Super AMOLED QXGA (2048×1536)
CHIPSET Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820

Quad Core 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz

MEMORY 4GB + 32GB
microSD up to 256GB*
CAMERA 13MP AF + 5.0MP, Flash
PORT USB 3.1(Type-C)
SENSORS Accelerometer, Hall Sensor, RGB Sensor, Finger print Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geometric Sensor
WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth® 4.2
GPS GPS + GLONASS, BEIDOU, GALILEO
DIMENSION, WEIGHT 237.3 x 169.0 x 6.0mm 429g(Wi-Fi) / 434g(LTE)
BATTERY CAPACITY 6,000mAh, Fast Charging
OS/UPGRADE Android 7.0
SAMSUNG SERVICES & APPLICATIONS Samsung Smart Switch, Samsung Notes, Air Command, Samsung Flow
VIDEO Recording: 4K (3840×2160) @ 30fps

Playback: 4K (3840×2160) @ 60fps

*Sold Separately

Product page at Bestbuy.com

Wemo smart plug for only 29.99

I have used Wemo brand smart switches for years in my own home (before Amazon Echo or Google Home).  All of the them are still in use today and get new updates from Belkin periodically.  The most recent update was to enable Google Home support.  I have yet to use the smart plug but I would imagine that they are built to the same quality.  If you have an Amazon Echo or a Google Home you may want to take advantage of this sale.

source – Amazon | Best Buy

Keep your kids safe – Google Family Link – Coming Soon

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Family Link

With the Family Link app from Google, you can stay in the loop as your kid explores on their Android device. Family Link lets you create a Google Account for your kid that’s like your account, while also helping you set certain digital ground rules that work for your family — like managing the apps your kid can use, keeping an eye on screen time, and setting a bedtime on your kid’s device.

Google

Manage the apps your kid can use

Kids will need to ask before any app is installed on their tablet or phone.  This allows you to approve or block access to any app that you deem appropriate or not.

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Keep an eye on screen time

Being able to monitor what apps and sites your kids are using is an important part of keeping them safe.  With Google Family Link, you can do just that with weekly and monthly reports. You can see what apps your kids are using the most and are able to set daily screen time limits for each device.

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Set device bedtime

Set times when it is appropriate for your kids to have access to their Android device. Remotely lock your kid’s device when it’s time to play, study, or sleep.

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Get started by applying to get early access – Request access

I have requested access to the program and will post an update as soon as it is granted!