This morning, Hulu Plus updated their website to include Chromecast support. With an update of the App, you can now watch your hulu subscription on the big screen.
Chromecast is Google’s answer to over the top television. For $35, you can plug into your HDMI outlet and use your phone as the remote. With the introduction, you could only send Netflix movies, Google Play content or Youtube videos to the big screen. With the addition of Hulu plus, the Chromecast is starting to feel more useful.
Chromecast has a long way to go from say Roku – with over 750 channels to their arsenal. On the way are apps from Vimeo, Vevo, Twitch.tv and more. Also coming up is extended support for Netflix with iOS apps.
My Assessment of Chromecast
It does make things easier since I don’t have to look for a remote to call up a show. I did notice the quality – at 1080p, Chromecast projects darker on the TV screen. Roku and Apple TV are brighter and more vibrant.
Also, if you are using your phone for something else (like talking on the phone), switching to remote mode is tougher. Good thing others can control the screen with their smartphones…
Yesterday on the Chrome blog, Google announced that new Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP, and Toshiba were on their way. Arriving in the next few months the new Chromebooks are based on Intel’s Haswell chips rather than the current ARM processors and the chip’s low power consumption will double the battery life.
These new Chromebooks are (roughly) the third iteration of the laptops and it’s great to see new entrants, Asus and Toshiba, joining the party. HP’s new Chromebook 14 will be out before the holiday season, cost $300 and come in a range of colors. Although Acer will be bringing out a new model as well, there’s no news on whether Samsung will be refreshing its line-up. The eye-watering expensive Pixel seems to remain the only touch-screen model in the range but that could change as details emerge on the new models.
Google quotes that in the sub-$300 computer segment, Chromebooks have taken a little less than a quarter of the market and around 5,000 US schools have also provided Chromebooks to students. For a product that’s just 2 years old, it’s pretty impressive.
I’m looking forward to the new models as I’m currently using a Samsung Chromebook to write this article and I’m bought into a web and cloud-centric view, especially for people who actually want to get stuff done wherever they are. Neat, low-cost, instant-on devices with a keyboard make Chromebooks very handy to have around. More apps are appearing, particularly business ones and if you haven’t considered a Chromebook in the past, you might want to consider one.
Just a quickie….Samsung UK have an offer on at the moment that if you buy one of their Chromebooks during August, you can claim a free smartphone. Don’t get too excited as the phone is only a Galaxy Mini but it’s better than nothing and you can always flog it on ebay. There are further goodies if you buy a 3G Chromebook.
Pay attention to the small print as you have to wait 14 days from the date of purchase before you can apply for the phone.
There have been hints and rumors circulating for several weeks that Google would bring its popular Now feature over from Android and into the Chrome web browser. Now, pun-intended, it seems is that time, but only a little bit.
The latest build of Canary, the development channel version of Chrome, has been updated to version 28 and with it comes a Now feature that users can enable. Canary can thankfully be run side-by-side with a stable or beta build of the browser so that users are not forced to run it full-time — a good thing since it can be buggy at times.
Today, when I fired up Canary build 28 and accessed chrome://flags I found the ability to enable Now (it is disabled by default). You will need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the Flags page to find it, as it is the last entry. Click “Enable”, but do not get your hopes up yet. It is early, and so far it does exactly nothing. The Google Now server URL still remains secret, rendering the service useless for the time being.
Still, this means the service is coming to your computer, though I expect it to be less useful here than on an Android device that moves around with you, but it remains to be seen what Google may add to a computer version of it.
Today Google and hardware maker Acer announced the latest Chromebook laptop, following closely on the heels of the recent Samsung release. Once again, Acer has undercut Samsung on the price by offering a $199 notebook and beating Samsung by $50.
The Acer notebook has been officially named the C7 and packs some impressive specs given the price. It has an 11.6 inch display, Intel Core processor, boots up in 18 seconds, a 320GB hard drive, 1080p video and 100GB of free storage on Google Drive. The only knock here may be a rather poultry 3.5 hours of battery life. On the other hand, it’s a pretty thin device that resemble today’s popular Ultrabooks.
While Chromebooks only run the Google Chrome operating system and aren’t compatible with traditional software like Microsoft Office, they make up for this in speed and simplicity. The cloud storage is handy and services like Google Docs and web apps make up for this as well. Plus, if you just can’t live without Office then you can still access it using Office Web Apps or Office 365.
So, will these recent offerings from Samsung and now the even cheaper one from Acer be enough to make you switch? A full notebook computer for the price of a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD is certainly going to be tempting. Plus, Google has been fast at work updating and improving the Chrome OS and things will only get better from here.
The Google Chrome operating system has been available for almost a year with lots of updates to the OS, but very little traction in the market. Google made it prominent by giving away thousands of CR-48 laptops, but when the final version was released there were only two hardware makers on board – Samsung and Acer. Sadly that hasn’t changed since the release, and it didn’t change at CES , but there was some Chrome OS news there.
Samsung announced two new additions to the Chrome world – one is a new notebook, but the other is the first Chrome desktop computer, or “Chromebox”. The Series 5 notebook has been updated to include 2 GB of RAM (which it already had – not sure if the RAM type changed), a 16 GB SSD (it previously had a 16 GB Serial ATA), and a slightly faster CPU. Meanwhile, the Chromebox is considered a Series 3 product, and it comes with six USB ports, a DVI port, 2 Display Link ports, an ethernet jack, and is currently running Chrome 17.0.963.15. It’s also rumored to have a dual-core processor under the hood, along with 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB SSD. The video below gives a good idea of what both new products look like.
Google has released the latest beta version of their popular web browser, Chrome. Number 15 (for those keeping count) has some real changes – much more than some new versions, which have been simply bug fixes. This comes within days of Chrome 14 hitting the stable channel.
Of course, the changes have become fewer because the browser has matured. Over time, though, we have seen it take shape as more of an operating system in a window, as opposed to just a web browser. That makes sense because of the development of Chrome OS and the introduction of the first “Chromebook” computers. And, if Android is an indicator, then we better watch out for when the Chrome OS really gets going.
The biggest change in Chrome 15 is the New Tab page. It’s been completely redesigned to better allow users to optimize their tabs and launch multiple pages. According to the official Google announcement, “Your apps, bookmarks, and most visited sites now appear in three different sections on the page. You can flip between these different sections by clicking the section labels at the bottom of the page or the arrows at the side of the page. Chrome will remember the last section you flipped to and return to it when you open a new tab.”
The second big change will probably benefit users the most. Previously, when a new version of an app was available for installation, it would direct the user back to the Chrome Web App Store to download and install it. Now, “trusted partners” can allow users to install updates on-the-fly with no redirects.
These changes could be tempting for many users, and many potential Chromebook buyers. They are certainly making my eye wonder from my trusty Firefox browser. I have Chrome installed, but I can’t tear myself away from Firefox just yet… However, that Asus Chromebook I have been eying is looking a little bit more tempting today…