Google (GOOG) offered hackers a chance at a big pay day if they could crack its Chrome OS platform. The company held its annual Pwnium competition at the ConSecWest security conference in Vancouver this week where it put $3.14159 million up for grabs. While a number of hackers attempted to get a piece of the Pi, a Google spokesperson confirmed in a statement to TechCrunch that none of them succeeded in fully cracking the operating system. The company did reveal, however, that it is “evaluating some work that may qualify as partial credit.” Google is making a big push to boost consumer interest in Chrome OS. The company recently released the high-end Chromebook Pixel to compete directly with the Retina display Macbook Pro.
A Google (GOOG) executive revealed that Motorola’s current line of devices don’t include anything that would “wow” consumers. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference on Thursday, Google’s chief financial officer Patrick Pichette said the company inherited a pipeline of unimpressive products, at least by Google’s standards. More →
Executives at Acer (2353) have had some harsh words for Microsoft (MSFT) regarding its Windows 8 operating system. CEO JT Wang was fuming after the software giant unveiled its Surface tablet and even issued a warning to the company, while other executives have blamed Microsoft for confusing would-be Windows 8 buyers. President Jim Wong said in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday that Windows 8 has not been successful and the company has explored alternatives to increase revenue, such as Google’s (GOOG) Chrome OS. More →
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 →