The always-eagle-eyed PatentBolt has spotted a new patent application from Google (GOOG) that indicates the company is designing a way to bring radial menus to its Android and Chrome devices. From the initial designs, it looks as though the radial menus will not be visible on the screen until a user makes a swipe gesture from the edge of a device. Once the swipe is made, a semicircle menu pops up in the section of the screen where the swipe was made. The logic behind the semicircle menu is to save screen real estate and give users a simpler way to access different features of their applications. If Google is looking to dodge bullets with its new design, however, it may be out of luck: As PatentBolt notes that Apple (AAPL) has filed two patents for similar technology over the past couple of years. More →
Users who are interested in a Google-powered Chromebook only have two options, Acer’s AC700 or Samsung’s Series 5 Chromebook. Both laptops are powered by an Intel Atom processor, the only chip the platform currently supports. Recent rumors have suggest that Chrome OS may soon support ARM-based processors, however, opening up a number of new doors for the platform. According to the Chromium OS issue tracker, a new product code-named “Daisy” is mentioned numerous times, equipped a Samsung Exynos 5250 chip. Samsung’s 32nm chip will feature an ARM Cortex-A15 design and will be capable of running at speeds up to 2GHz — all while using less power than ARM Cortex-A9 chips and Intel Atom processors. The Chromium project is open-source, with user contributions playing a large roll in development. As such, the “Daisy” appearances do not necessarily mean Google is directly involved with the development.
Microsoft and LG have signed a patent agreement that covers LG’s tablets, mobile phones, and other consumer devices running Android or Chrome OS. Terms of the deal between the two companies have not being disclosed. However, this isn’t the first time Microsoft has targeted an Android vendor, previously signing deals with Samsung, HTC, and Acer, among others. “Together with our 10 previous agreements with Android and Chrome OS device manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and Acer, this agreement with LG means that more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS.” Each vendor who signs a deal with the Redmond-based company pays an undisclosed licensing fee for using Microsoft’s patents, which Android and Chrome OS reportedly infringe upon. However, not every company is giving in, with Motorola and Barnes & Noble currently involved in a lengthy patent battle with Microsoft. Read on for the press release.
HTC may be developing a new hybrid netbook/tablet “internet access device” that combines both Chrome OS and Android, presumably in some sort of dual-boot environment. Samsung and Acer are the only two major suppliers that currently offer devices powered by Google’s Chrome OS, otherwise known as Chromebooks, but DigiTimes said the two firms have only sold about 25,000 – 30,000 units this year. The lower-powered netbooks currently cost between $350 and $450 and will likely need to fall in price in order to attract consumers. HTC is expected to unveil its third Android-powered tablet in February, which will be powered by NVIDIA’s brand new quad-core Tegra 3 processor. HTC has yet to get its feet wet in the netbook space, and we have to admit we would be surprised if it ever did, so we suspect this secret Chrome/Android device could resemble something similar to Asus’s Eee Pad Transformer Prime rather than a traditional netbook. More →
Google’s Chrome OS was originally designed as a lightweight operating system for devices such as netbooks, which have a constant internet connection. The search giant already has Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) and will soon offer Android Ice Cream Sandwich for tablets but apparently that hasn’t stopped Google from optimizing a version of Chrome OS for use on slates. One developer named Francois Beaufor has leaked a video that reveals a hint of what Chrome OS on a tablet might look like. The video shows a quick look at the touchscreen keyboard, an example of the web browser in action and support for voice-based search. As Business Insider points out, it might make a lot more sense for Google to just build a top-notch Chrome browser for Android instead of porting its OS to tablets. Many believe Google’s Android offering is fragmented enough as it is. Hit the break for a quick video clip. More →
When Google first introduced its Chrome operating system, the search giant touted its rock solid security. In an effort to keep hackers out, Google automatically installs the operating system on three different hard drive partitions: one swap partition, one encrypted user partition and one read-only operating system root partition. Despite those security enhancements, VentureBeat says researchers Kyle Osborn and Matt Johanson of White Hat Security’s Threat Research Center were able to break into the operating system using “web-based hacker tricks,” that provided access to Google Docs, the address book, Google Voice messages and emails. The two hackers demonstrated how easy it was during the Black Hat security conference. “This conversation is about the web, not Chrome OS,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat. “Chromebooks raise security protections on computing hardware to new levels. They are also better equipped to handle the web attacks that can affect browsers on any computing device, thanks in part to a carefully designed extensions model and the advanced security available through Chrome that many users and experts have embraced.” More →
The first notebook model to run Google’s Chrome OS is now available for $499 through a private sale. Samsung’s Chromebook Series 5 notebook computer is currently a featured item on Gilt Men, a subsection of Gilt Groupe’s popular private sale website. Gilt’s sale began today and it runs until 9:00 a.m. Eastern on Friday. The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook features a 12.1-inch display, a dual-core Intel processor, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity and an HD webcam, and it ships with a free sleeve as part of Gilt’s sale. Samsung will release the notebook to the general public on June 15th but Chromebooks purchased through the Gilt sale will be delivered between June 8th and June 14th. More →
During the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco today, Google discussed the future of its “Chrome OS” platform, as well as some future products that will soon hit the market. Google has improved the performance of Adobe Flash playback within the browser, and the OS will now recognize I/O devices — such as cameras — when they’re plugged into the computer. Other new features include Google Music integration, a new photo manager that allows you to send directly to Picasa, and an option to upload files directly to Box.net. Google’s bread and butter, Gmail, Calendar, and Docs are all now accessible while offline. Hackers will also appreciate a new built-in jailbreaking feature. Samsung and Acer will both introduce “Chromebooks” on June 15th for $429 and $399, respectively. Samsung will also sell a 3G version of its Chromebook for $499. Those prices sound a bit high to us considering that you can get a full-fledged Windows 7 netbook for that price, but we’ll see if the market agrees.
Details of Samsung’s first official Chrome OS netbook, dubbed Alex, have surfaced in Google’s code repository. According to the Chrome OS development site, the Alex netbook will be powered by a 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 processor and sport 2GB of RAM. A SanDisk solid-state harddrive of an unknown capacity, a 1280 x 800 pixel display resolution, Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, front-facing webcam, and Bluetooth along with support for 3G cellular connectivity and a Synaptics TouchPad will also be included. Google’s I/O developer conference is in just a few short weeks… perhaps Sir Alex will make an appearance.
We’re not going to say this is the dumbest thing we’ve ever heard… but it’s certainly up there. The Street contributor Anton Wahlman has honed in on what he is calling “the biggest risk” to Apple’s stock price. This risk is so great, in fact, it surpasses the health of current CEO Steve Jobs on his list of concerns. It is even ranked higher than Google’s Android mobile operating system. This apocalyptic threat is… Google Chrome OS? In a three page exposé, Wahlman explains three ways the browser-as-an-OS will hurt Apple’s stock price. First, Chrome OS desktops and laptops will be released and priced between $150 and $300, which in turn will cause “consumers and enterprises” to “pick Chrome OS PCs over the much more expensive Apple PCs.” Second, Chrome OS will make its way onto tablets and “we could see unsubsidized 10-inch Chrome OS tablets selling for no more than $299, with perhaps $199 on the horizon.” Lastly, in 2012 or 2013, “Google will likely offer the Chrome OS architecture for smartphones.” As John Gruber of Daring Fireball wrote, “Makes Me Wish I Still Did the ‘Jackass of the Week’ Bit.” We like when analysts think outside the box, but the threat vectors that Wahlman lists also seem to be detrimental to Android’s overall health as well — especially the tablet and smartphone predictions. Apple generated 50% of its Q2 revenue from the iPhone, if there is any threat to Apple’s business model we can assure you it’s Android, not Chrome OS. Regardless, we’re interested to know your thoughts. Do you think Chrome OS is a grave threat to Apple? Put on your monocle and thinking cap and drop us a comment with your musings. More →
A lot of people are thinking it, but former Google employee, Gmail creator, and FriendFeed founder Paul Buchheit has come right out and said it. On his FriendFeed page, Mr. Buchheit has levied some harsh judgements on Google’s netbook-centric Chrome OS. Here are just a few of his thoughts:
Prediction: Chrome OS will be killed next year (or “merged” with Android).
I was thinking, “is this too obvious to even state?”, but then I see people taking Chrome OS seriously, and Google is even shipping devices for some reason.
Chrome OS has no purpose that isn’t better served by Android (perhaps with a few mods to support a non-touch display).
It is still unclear how Android and Chrome OS will peacefully co-exist after the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 comes out in 2011, what the genesis of Chrome OS looks like, and what the public will gravitate towards. We’re interested to hear your thoughts concerning the Chrome OS vs. Android debate. What do you think? Too similar? Or is Google one step ahead of the technology pundits?
[Via TechCrunch] More →
We just said adéu to our friendly FedEx delivery person and ripped into our care package sent by Google. On first glance, the Google Cr-48 Chrome laptop looks very similar to Apple’s black MacBook. The screen is 12.1-inches, the entire computer is done up in a soft-touch rubberized finish, and — while it’s a bit thick (we’re used to using a MacBook Air) — we have had some fun typing on the well thought out (and well spaced) keyboard. Here are our first impressions:
- We can’t get over how instant this thing is — it boots and wakes from sleep literally in one second max!
- The soft-touch rubber finish, which at first didn’t sound very appealing, works really well on this super stealth, never-being-released notebook.
- This is more of a preference, but we’d take a glossy display over the matte one on here any day… although the matte finished does fit into the anti-gloss vibe of the machine.
- We can’t begin to explain how great of a feeling it is to have Verizon cellular support built in and how simple and easy the set up process is. Activating our 100MB/mo free account was extremely simple. One or two more steps than signing up for AT&T’s prepaid iPad plans — very solid.
- Switching between open windows (think Spaces on a Mac with less jazz) is incredibly quick.
- It’s so hard to get used to the fact that everything is browser-based, but it all has seemed to work very well for us so far.
- Guest accounts rock!
- All of our Google Chrome extensions and bookmarks were transferred over instantly for us — super cool.
- The speed of the machine, in general, is obviously slower than we’d like and for a 12-inch (read: large) computer. But again, this isn’t meant to be released to the general public.
- We had some wonkiness with the upper part of the LCD screen when we first turned it on, but we’re thinking that might have been due to the extreme temperatures this poor sucker had to endure on its journey to us this morning.
- The trackpad hates us. It’s incredibly annoying and difficult to use. First off, it feels cheap, and second, unless you are scrolling with two fingers, don’t even try and have more than one finger at a time on here.
We’re cranking away and exploring Google’s first Chrome OS laptop and we will be sure to report back with more findings over the next couple days. In the meantime, hit up our hands-on gallery while we go make some insanely hot hot-chocolate!
Google held a special event on Tuesday to show off progress made over the course of the last year with its Chrome line of products. Most interestingly, perhaps, are the new Chrome OS features the Internet giant showed off. Plenty of Here are some highlights from the event:
- “Nothing but the Web.”
- Chrome OS features a fast and simple setup process, remarkably fast boot times and an instant resume feature to minimize wait time when the OS wakes from sleep.
- Unified experience across Chrome on netbooks, desktops and more.
- Multiple user support and guest mode — everything a user does in guest mode is private and history is deleted instantly when a session is ended.
- Verizon Wireless cellular data connectivity (international options are available as well) in every Chrome OS notebook/netbook — no contracts, no activation fees and monthly plans starting at $9.99.
- Updates are seamless — no user operations are required to update the OS or apps.
- Most secure OS in the world — security is a major focus of Chrome OS; all Chrome OS data is encrypted by default.
- Verified boot — core OS components are in firmware that cannot be modified.
- Enterprise options — Google is working closely with partners like Citrix to ensure the enterprise market is addressed.
- Google’s Chrome OS PCs get faster over time, not slower like other PCs.
- Initial manufacturing partners include Acer, Samsung and Intel.
Chrome OS is a work in progress and there is still a lot of work to be done. The first Chrome OS notebooks are due by the middle of 2011. There is a Chrome OS pilot program in the mean time, though — a program for early adopters where they will get a “CR-48” netbook featuring a 12.1-inch display, a full-sized keyboard, built in 3G and Wi-Fi, 8 hours of usage time per charge. Interestingly, there are no hard drives, no caps lock keys and the laptop is jailbreak-friendly. End users have several ways to apply for the pilot program, the easiest of which is completing an application at online at google.com/chromeos.