Entries by Hewie Poplock

Chrome OS Is Fixing Its App Problem With Progressive Web Apps

Chromebook users are generally a happy lot, but few would argue that the biggest problem with Chrome OS is the lack of apps. Google is going a long way to correct that issue with version 67 of Chrome OS with the introduction of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) for desktop. They appear on your home screen like regular apps, launch in the same way, and are quick and reliable because the service workers can cache all the needed assets.

Progressive Web Apps have mostly been for mobile until now (though there are quite a few for Windows 10), but in a Chrome OS blog post, Google notes that “desktop usage is still growing.” PWAs will give you most, if not all, the features you’d see with a regular native app, including service workers, automatic updates, web push and notifications, and home screen pinning. Google recently introduced Android apps to Chrome OS, and at the end of 2017, made it possible to multitask with them. All of that should help make its popular Chromebooks even more useful.

Best Android Apps for IT Professionals

Android apps for IT professionals have been kicking around for years now. But thanks to the increased size and power of today’s devices, these apps are more valuable than ever. Coupled with some of the latest updates to the Android operating system, such as split-screen multitasking, your smartphone or tablet can now stand in for your laptop in a wide range of circumstances.

Whether you need to do some remote service on the CEOs desktop, troubleshoot the Wi-Fi in the conference room or grab a file from your laptop there’s an Android solution. Here are the essential apps that every IT Pro should download now.

Best Stylus-Friendly Apps for Chromebooks

Chromebooks have had considerable success in business for those who want a lightweight computing option. But Google’s ambitions for the operating system are far bigger, with the best example being the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro. These models feature a touchscreen, a stylus, and access to Android apps through the Google Play Store. But which apps are the right fit for such a combination? Here’s a core group of apps collected from the Chrome Web Store and Google Play that will have you touching, swiping and zooming your way to a more productive computing session with your own Chromebook.

Chrome OS 67 Rolling Out

After rolling out to Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, version 67 of Chrome OS is now available. Notable features include a new “Touchable material 2.0” design for tablet devices and support for desktop Progressive Web Apps. There are also new APIs for creating VR experiences, ADB support, and the perfunctory security and bug fixes.

Progressive Web Apps are more commonly associated with mobile, but Google argues that they have a place on desktops given the continued importance of these devices in work settings. Like on Android, desktop PWAs can be “installed” alongside other apps, cache content with service workers, and feel native with windows featuring no address bars or tabs.

Google Prepares An Always-Connected Chromebook To Take On Microsoft

More Chromebooks could be coming in the future with a built-in LTE modem for always-on connectivity. The latest code in Chrome OS reveals that Google may be looking at adding eSIM, or electronic SIM, support to the operating system. Google may even leverage its Project Fi service to provide cellular data to Chromebooks in the future, 9to5 Google suggested.

What To Look For In A Used Chromebook

One of the best Chromebook features often gets overlooked: over six years of operating system support direct from Google. That means you get all the new features that come to Chrome OS (provided your hardware allows) as well as security fixes and those tiny updates that make things just work better. That means a Chromebook you buy today will still be supported in 2024, and a Chromebook that sold new in 2016 still has four years of updates ahead of it.

It also means that buying a used Chromebook can be an awesome idea as long as you know what to look for. You’ll, of course, want to make sure everything is in working order. If you’re buying through an individual seller, have him or her fire it up and let you give it a spin.

Android Files Arrive In Chrome OS Files App: How To Get It Working

With all the new features swirling last month around Linux apps on Chromebooks with Crostini, it felt a bit like we’d all temporarily forgotten the original container app solution for Chrome OS: Android.

That’s a bit hyperbolic, but it has been a bit since we’ve seen anything major shift for Android Apps on Chromebooks as the overall experience is really starting to smooth out a bit and feel more native. As more time goes by, we’ll have fewer articles like this as all the expected functions of Android will be in place, working, and not exactly news-worthy any longer.

The HP Chromebook x2 First Impressions

As some of you might have already seen, the HP Chromebook x2 has been spotted at a handful of Best Buys around the country and those who have pre-ordered the device are finding they have been prompted to head over to their local store and pick up the latest Chromebook on offer from HP.

Quickly following the first sighting of this yesterday, we swiftly began searching Best Buy stores in our area in an attempt to get our hands on the world’s first detachable Chromebook.

The 10 Best Chromebook Apps For 2018

A common misconception about Chromebooks is that they are essentially bare-bones computers, offering a web browser and some other basic functionality for a relatively cheap price tag. Although laptops running Chrome OS do not necessarily offer the wide array of software found on competing platforms such as macOS and Windows, their feature set can be expanded significantly through the use of apps for Chromebooks–many created by third-party developers and available free of charge.

Because of the sheer amount of Chrome apps in existence, it can be time consuming to narrow them down. We’ve gone ahead and done the work for you, listing what we consider to the best Chromebook apps along with what we like (and don’t like) about each.