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  1. Google Will Make Chrome OS Feel More Like Windows 10 One of the features that Google apparently has in mind for its increasingly-popular Chrome OS platform would make it feel and work more like Windows 10. As discovered in a Chromium commit, Google Chrome OS could at some point get support for virtual desktops, a feature that already exists in Windows and which would technically make it easier to work on a laptop with several apps and activities on the screen. While I’ve never been a fan of multiple desktops, they could come in incredibly helpful to those who just want to organize apps in separate groups without having to deal with a cluttered desktop. This appears to be the main idea behind Google’s update as well, though for the time being it seems we’re still in the early development phase of the feature.Feature still in its early daysThe video that you can see below shows the original implementation of virtual desktops in Chrome OS, and by the looks of things, it works exactly as you’d expect it to do. Users can open the virtual desktop UI using a dedicated button and then create new desktops or manage the existing ones. Most likely, Chrome OS will also offer additional functionality, such as the possibility of dragging one application from a desktop to another and to provide a different name for each desktop. This will make the overall experience with virtual desktops more seamless. For the time being, however, there’s still no ETA as to when it could be released, but it’s pretty clear Google wants to turn Chrome OS into a more capable rival to Windows 10. Chrome OS has grown a lot lately, especially in the education sector, so features like this would make it a truly powerful alternative to Microsoft’s operating system, even for other categories of users. Source
  2. Soon enough, USB devices won't work on locked Chrome OS devices, and that's a good thing. According to Chrome Story, Google has been working on a new safety feature that can already be found in the Canary build. Called USBGuard, it makes sure the machine doesn't read or execute any code from a USB device plugged into the device after it had been locked. The latest Canary version has this, among patch updates: “Lock new USB devices at the lock screen. Prevents newly connected USB devicesfrom operating at the lock screen until Chrome OS is unlocked to protect against malicious USB devices. Already connected USB devices will continue to function. – Chrome OS”. This is a feature that aims to incapacitate “Rubber Ducky”, a malicious USB drive that mimics a keyboard. It is disguised as a generic USB drive, with computers accepting keystroke payloads at more than 1,000 words a minute. The devices that were plugged in before the device was locked will continue to work, so any peripherals or data transfer dongles will continue operating as usual. Users will also have the option to whitelist any devices, in case they’d ever want to plug anything into their machine before unlocking it. The patch notes explain: “Add USB Bouncer feature flag for Chrome OS. This adds the USB Bouncer feature flag that controls whether or not a user specific USB device whitelist will be used for generating the policy for USB Guard.” source
  3. Still likely to end the year ahead THE GAP BETWEEN Windows 7 and Windows 10 use on traditional desktops and laptops continues to narrow, despite the fact that both operating systems lost a small amount of ground this month in the figures produced by Netmarketshare. Windows 7 drops to 38.89 per cent (-0.46) with Windows 10 continuing to snap at its heels at 38.14 (-0.14), meaning that the difference is now just 0.75 per cent, which suggests that Microsoft is still on target to finally overtake itself before the year is out. Just. Possibly. Windows 8.x is now 5.52 per cent (-0.29), with the vast majority on version 8.1. Windows XP has a slight bounce to 4.23 (+0.63). We've stopped mentioning Vista now, such is its rarity. Although the figures from Netmarketshare have a margin of error (or put another way, we take them with a slight pinch of salt) the fact that Windows 10 hasn't grown as a result of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which both fell in this period is a bit of a curveball - in fact most of the movement has been on the Apple front in the wake of its new Macbook Air made of old tin cans and string. As you'd expect, the latest version, macOS 10.14 has seen the biggest gains of the month standing at 3.57 (+1.52), though the rate of upgrade has been slow by Mac user standards, macOS 10.13 has dropped to 3.2 (-1.43) but it hasn't been the usual swift handover. Even macOS 10.12 still has 1.36 (-0.22) and macOS 10.11 has 1.14 (0.23) which is actually a slight rise. The Linux-based systems continue to hover around the same point - Ubuntu on 0.57 (-0.05), Chrome OS on 0.32 (-0.01) and the rest on 1.47 (0.09). Worth noting there are more people using Mac OS X 10.10 and "Unknown" than Chrome OS right now - though it still has the lead in the browser market. When we remove the filter and look at market share amongst all device types - that is to say any device that has connected to the internet during November, the story changes. Window 7 (which, lest we forget is almost exclusively desktop/laptop machine anyway) is the most popular operating system in the world with 16.08 per cent. Windows 10 comes second with 15.77 and Android 8.0 has 8.62. Generically though, Android is in the lead - 39.34 per cent. Windows stands at 35.98. iOS has 18.51 per cent and Mac OS, 4.02. Linux has 0.88 and despite its popularity is schools, Chrome OS has 0.13. For completeness, below them is Series 40 (Symbian) at 0.04, Windows Phone OS at 0.03 and RIM OS (Blackberry) at just 0.01 per cent market share. Source
  4. Like almost every company that’s ever tried to build a tablet What is a tablet? What is a tablet supposed to be and do? Nine years ago, these questions were foremost in debates about new technology, as Apple was preparing to introduce its first iPad and rival companies were rushing to beat it to the punch. CES 2010 gave us one answer in the form of the 8.9-inch HP Slate, a Windows 7 PC running on an Intel Atom processor. A few weeks later, Apple’s iPad made its debut with a 9.7-inch screen and mobile chips and software. And then a year after that, Google released a version of Android called Honeycomb that was tailored specifically for tablets. No one understood tablets back then; everyone was guessing. Apple originally envisioned the iPad as the glossy magazine equivalent of Amazon’s Kindle. The iPad would be more interactive, it would have apps, but a major part of its appeal was supposed to come from “digital magazines” and comic books created for the platform. Publishers quickly found that idea too costly to sustain, and Apple discovered people were using the iPad for many other purposes as well. The company’s initial reluctance to offer a stylus or a keyboard has since turned into multiple generations of keyboard covers and Apple Pencils. Apple’s iPad development has been characterized by learning, adapting, and evolving. What has Google done in that time? Well, the Mountain View company has taken over the smartphone world with Android, so there’s that. But translating that operating system (OS) to tablets has been a tragic, chronic failure for Google. The Motorola Xoom and Xyboard, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, the 13-inch Toshiba Excite, and a litany of others from Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and Google have shown promise only to ultimately disappoint. Android on tablets has only ever been somewhat appealing on a couple of 7-inch devices — the Google Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab — and on task-specific tablets like Amazon’s Fire HD and Nvidia’s Shield Tablet, both of which are more about the content than the OS. The reason for Android’s failure as a tablet OS should be obvious. Android is made for smartphones. Its system requirements are aligned with a smartphone’s capabilities, its app library is made to fit a smartphone’s screen, and all of its core usability features are built for a smartphone’s vertical orientation. Granted, phone displays have kept growing over the past decade, but they’re likely to find their ceiling right around the point where they reach the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab’s dimensions. Android is not infinitely expandable. Putting Android on a 10-inch (or larger) tablet makes as much sense as trying to find clothes for Yao Ming in a regular store. Sure, you might dig up some scarves, ties, and belts that are a fit, but most things will be a total mismatch. Google got that message after its series of embarrassing flops. But instead of going to a tailor, the company just started looking in the clown costume aisle with its Chrome OS, as exhibited by the distinctly doofy Pixel Slate. Android is an operating system designed for phones, Chrome OS is an operating system designed for laptops, and the mix of Android apps and Chrome software that Google serves on the Pixel Slate is a buggy mess. It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at a tablet’s display size and say, “It’s like a laptop, so put laptop software on it,” or to consider its touchscreen and declare, “It’s just an enlarged phone.” Easy and wrong. Tablets, despite being proximate to both phones and laptops, are unique. To have a good tablet experience, you need an OS that is made specifically for that task. It must offer an intuitive touchscreen interface, like a phone, but it should also make full use of its greater screen real estate and higher spec ceiling. Apple’s iPad is, of course, the role model for how this is done. Apple has developed custom X editions of its iPhone chips for use in the iPad, taking advantage of the larger battery and better cooling of the tablet. The company has also dedicated major iOS releases to improving iPad functionality, even while the iPhone remains its most important product. That, together with a historic willingness among app developers to create iPad-specific apps, generates a distinct iPad-only user experience. So long as Google keeps trying to cram its software for other platforms onto a tablet, it will continue to suffer the ignominy of failure. Android Wear on smartwatches, now renamed Wear OS, has been another instructive example of what should be a very simple concept: if you want to build the best possible version of any gadget, the software for it has to be designed for it. Someone at Google really ought to consult Microsoft’s long, abortive history of trying to slim Windows down just enough to make it fit onto mobile devices. (The Surface Pro 2-in-1s of today are good, but they’re still more laptop than tablet.) There’s also Intel’s spectacularly profligate run of pseudo-mobile chips that were just trimmed-down laptop and desktop processors. The future of technology will be defined by more software specialization, not less. Even today, the best fitness trackers have featherlight software built specifically for the efficient processing of biometric data. The best cameras — something Google knows a lot about — are defined by highly customized, multilayered exploitation of the basic hardware. Good software, in spite of its name, is incredibly hard to do. That’s what makes it tempting for pragmatic companies to try and take shortcuts, as every PC manufacturer shipping a copy of Windows or every phone maker relying on Android tends to do. But Google isn’t just another company, and its competition, Apple’s iPad, isn’t just another formulaic slab of transistors and pixels. To take on the iPad, Google needs to give up its Dr. Frankenstein act and just take the time to craft a tablet from fresh parts. The truth is that just about anyone in tech can build a good tablet, but very few have yet been able to build a good tablet experience. Source
  5. Google Fuchsia UI Google’s I/O 2017 event offered the tech giant the perfect opportunity to announce projects that the company has been working on and the direction it intends to take in terms of AI and VR technology, among others. Earlier this month, images revealing a project that Google has been working on surfaced online. Details about Google Fuchsia first surfaced last year, but the recent report showed the OS’s System UI and revealed some features that it could incorporate. Android Police reported that during the Android Fireside Chat, Google’s VP of engineering for Android, Dave Burke was asked about one of the most exciting projects at Google, Fuchsia OS. The engineer said that the experimental project is at an early-stage and it’s one of the many projects that Google is working on. Fuchsia won’t replace Android or Chrome OS What sets Fuchsia apart is its open source nature, which allows developers to see the code and bring contributions to it. David Burke stated “How do you spell Fuchsia? Fuchsia is a early-stage experimental project. We, you know, we actually have lots of cool early projects at Google. I think what’s interesting here is it’s open source, so people can see it and comment on it. Like lots of early stage projects it’s gonna probably pivot and morph. There’s some really smart people on it, people we’ve worked with who are great. And so it’s kind of exciting to see what happens. But it’s definitely a different sort of independent project to android. And yeah, that’s basically it.” It’s worth noting that Google’s Fuchsia project isn’t being developed alongside Android, which means that Google doesn’t have any intention to replace Android OS or Chrome OS with this new project. Still, that doesn’t mean that the situation won’t change in the future, as Fuchsia OS gradually takes shape and becomes a stable operating system. Since it’s at the early stages of development, there’s still the possibility that it could be scraped to make way for other projects by Google. At this point, time will tell if Fuchsia OS will eventually progress to become a full-fledged OS. Source
  6. Google's UI for Fuchsia Last year in August, Google was rumored to be working on a new operating system that could one day replace Android. Now, ArsTechnica has come across images that reveal the UI for the new OS and it appears that it won’t be based on Linux. Both Android and Chrome OS are based on Linux, but it seems that Fuchsia will be built on a new Google kernel, one that carries the name Magenta. The recent images reveal Google’s progress on the new OS, showing that a user-interface was added, together with a card-based design. The user interface carries the name Armadillo and will serve as “the default system UI for Fuchsia”, as it was built on Google’s Flutter SDK, which is used for developing cross-platform code that runs multiple OS like Android, iOS and even Fuchsia. This means that Armadillo can be compiled and ran on an Android device. Fuchsia OS is created for smartphones and tablets The images and the video by Kyle Bradshaw at Hotfix show that Fuchsia is designed for both smartphones and tablets, incorporating a card-based system for managing various apps. Users will be able to drag cards in split-screen or tabbed interface mode, while some suggestions similar to Google Now can also be provided. Armadillo UI for Fuchsia OS The images also seem to suggest that Fuchsia will allow users to run up to four apps at one, making it much easier to multitask on smartphones. In addition, Fuchsia resembles Android in some respects, tapping on an image would bring up a menu that’s very similar to Android’s Quick Settings. The report also mentions that there’s no real evidence that Fuchsia will actually replace Chrome OS or Android entirely. The move to another operating system surely implies a great deal of time and effort, while Fuchsia seems to be at the early stages of development now. Google is expected to host its annual Google I/O event this month and perhaps the company will shed some light into this project then. But the tech giant could also choose to stay silent and only reveal Fuchsia when more progress has been made, ArsTechnica seems to suggest that Fuchsia could see the light of day in 2020. Source
  7. Choosing between operating systems isn’t a new problem – it’s been around for a few decades. But the latest incarnations of both software and hardware offer some new options to consumers at all price and experience levels. If you already know what you want (we see you preparing your nine-point presentation on why your OS is the best, put it down), this guide is not for you. But if you want an exhaustive guide to the pros and cons of Windows, MacOS, and Chrome OS, then read on. Windows and Mac have been in active development for decades, and if you’re looking for a computer for work, odds are that you’re going to go for one or the other. Chrome OS, a Linux-based system developed by Google, is more of an anomaly. It’s based on Google’s Chrome browser, with much of the same interface and a web-focused design. It isn’t for the typical user, but Google has been improving it steadily for the last few years, and it’s worth consideration for a broader base of users. Windows Pros Best selection of software Available on wide variety of hardware Easily the best choice for gamers Works with almost all accessories Rapid updates introduce new features Cons Rapid update schedule can become confusing Compatibility issues with some hardware Less secure than Chrome OS or MacOS Microsoft’s Windows, in its various incarnations, holds approximately 90 percent of the desktop and laptop market worldwide. The reasons why are complex, but we can basically break it down into two factors — hardware and software variety. Because Microsoft sells Windows licenses to more or less any manufacturer to load on desktops, laptops, tablets, and everything in between, you can get a Windows machine in almost any size, shape, or price range. Windows is even sold on its own, so consumers and businesses can manually load it onto their own hardware. That wide-open approach has let it conquer all competitors over the last few decades. Because of its worldwide availability and longevity, Windows also boasts the biggest software library on the planet. Windows users don’t get absolutely every new application that comes on the market, but even those they don’t initially receive tend to come in Windows form eventually. Consumer, media, enterprise, gaming, it doesn’t matter – if you want the widest array of capability, Windows is the way to go. Works with everything Windows also boasts compatibility with the widest array of hardware. It’s an important consideration if you want to play graphically intense video games, or work with high-powered software for media, video editing, or computer-aided design. There aren’t any ChromeOS systems that offer high-end desktop hardware, and while MacOS does come on the Mac Pro, that system is now several years out of date. Though most accessories are universal since the introduction of the USB standard, Windows still technically boasts the most compatibility with third-party add-ons, too. Just about any mouse, keyboard, webcam, storage drive, graphics tablet, printer, scanner, microphone, monitor, or any other doodad you care to add to your computer will work with Windows, which is something that can’t always be said for Mac and Chrome. Windows also gets universal and updated drivers, some provided by Microsoft and some developed by the hardware manufacturers themselves, at a much more frequent rate than alternatives. Works on everything Even if you have no interest in upgrading your machine or running exotic software, Windows devices offer the most variety of form factors on the market. And with the introduction of Windows 10 – which all new retail devices are running in 2016 and later – touchscreens have become much more user-friendly even for complex work. No matter how exotic your tastes, odds are that there’s a Windows machine offering what you want. Rapid updates If you haven’t used Windows in a few years you may associate it with slow, tepid progress. That’s no longer true. With Windows 10, Microsoft committed to rapid updates. And it has executed. Those who want the cutting-edge can join the free Insider program, which puts out new updates almost every week. Often they’re minor tweaks, but they do add up over time. In the most recent update, called Windows 10 Anniversary update, Microsoft added major revamps to the notification center, a new “Windows Ink” platform that adds apps and features for PCs with a stylus, extensions for the Microsoft Edge browser, and much more. Over time, this rapid update program has given Windows 10 an edge of MacOS, which updates every year, but usually with just one or two significant features. Chrome OS also updates quickly, but Google rarely introduces a major new feature update — which has stalled progress. Compatibility problems With all that said, Windows isn’t perfect. The open nature of Microsoft’s relationship with desktop and laptop manufacturers means that two different machines, often with the same specifications, might perform very differently. Production quality can vary wildly, even within hardware from the same manufacturer line. Windows is less secure than MacOS and Chrome OS, simply because it’s the most-used desktop operating system, and thus the most targeted. Windows includes Microsoft tools to prevent and clean viruses and other threats, and third-party tools are available, but there’s no denying that Windows computers are more vulnerable than the competition. The wide variety of Windows hardware can cause problems as well. Windows’ complex driver system can cause system errors that are left to the user to diagnose and solve, and frequent updates from Microsoft might break software or devices that haven’t been accounted for. Is Windows for you? Windows is in a must better position than it was just a few years ago. The newest version, Windows 10, is more elegant and easier to understand than past editions, and it receives frequent updates. The problem of complexity does remain. You will likely encounter more bugs with Windows than with its competition. But these bugs are rarely the fatal errors that used to drag Windows’ systems to a halt, and they’re balanced by features and hardware compatibility that is simply unavailable with Microsoft’s competition. Mac OS Chrome OS The verdict If you’re still on the fence, let’s break down the major desktop operating systems in terms of features. Price Apple hardware is expensive, almost always carrying a premium versus equivalent Windows designs. Windows isn’t cheap – laptop and desktop makers have to pay Microsoft to use it – but it’s available in a wider variety of hardware and prices, sometimes getting well below the $500 entry point. If you need basic functionality and price is the only factor, Chromebooks can be bought at around the $200 level – an amazing deal. Ease of use MacOS has traditionally been considered much easier to use than Windows, perhaps because of Apple’s slavish dedication to user interface design. Chrome OS, by virtue of its extreme simplicity, also has Windows beat in this regard. Web browsing Chrome OS is the best choice if all you do is browse the web, because that’s all it does. If everything in your digital life is in the cloud and unrelated to local storage or programs, it’s an excellent way to stay light and uncomplicated. Windows and MacOS can both handle any browser software available, including Chrome itself, but web-only users may find the rest of their features a distraction. Productivity ChromeOS struggles with productivity due to its extremely limited app selection. Even editing a photo is more difficult than with others, and there’s no equivalent to Photoshop. Windows and MacOS both work in most situations, but Windows has the overall edge, due to the availability of quicker compatible hardware and the massive ecosystem of third-party applications. Gaming Windows is the only real choice for gamers. The Steam marketplace is the world’s largest seller of PC games, and while it’s available on MacOS, its selection on the platform is much more limited – as are games in general. ChromeOS has an extremely limited selection that consists entirely of web games and a few mobile applications ported over from Android. Hardware It’s impossible to deny that Apple makes some of the best computer hardware on the market, and many of its customers are faithful for this alone. MacOS an easy choice for a quality machine. That said, Apple’s staunch refusal to accept touchscreen designs is hurting it with users who want more flexibility, and recent Windows machines from Dell, Asus, and others are rivaling (and sometimes beating) Mac’s best offers for power and quality. Premium Chrome OS machines are few and far between. You’ll want Windows MacOS and ChromeOS have their purpose, but if you’re buying a new computer, you will probably be best served by Windows. This is true at every price point. This may come as a shock. Windows has a long history that hasn’t always been favorable. But Windows 10 is a great operating system. Its updated rapidly, packed with features, and has broad compatibility with software and hardware. Article source
  8. Windows 8.1 Update is already out of the way and its now time to focus on what comes next. Last year, we first reported about Windows 9 and the idea of Windows 10 being a "full cloud based operating system." These details came from the notorious leaker, Wzor. Now, it appears new information has come to light about Microsoft's future plans for Windows. According to new details from Wzor, Microsoft will roll out another update to Windows 8.1 (Update 2) sometime in September of this year, during the Autumn season. Microsoft may refer to this update as Windows 8.1 Update 2 or may even call it Windows 8.2, as there appears to be some sort of heated internal discussion on what to call it. Microsoft is expected to roll out the Start Menu, showcased during Build 2014, in this update. Microsoft will also release some sort of next generation Metro interface with Windows 9, but we aren't too sure exactly what that entails. The Start button will also be present in Windows 9, on devices without a touchscreen and on server systems. The Start button will be a tad bit different on touch devices, but no details were given. Wzor claims that Microsoft may offer Windows 9 for free (which might not seem like a wise idea), but that is still being discussed. Microsoft is apparently working on a prototype operating system called Windows Cloud. This is rumored to be an operating system that requires an internet connection for full functionality. While in offline mode, the operating system would be similar to Microsoft’s budget operating system, Windows Starter, offering basic functionality. This obviously smells like something you would see in Chrome OS on a Chromebook. Could Microsoft be experimenting with something similar? Again, we must stress that this is a huge rumor. Microsoft hasn't offered any details on the upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 2, nor has there been any information on Windows 9 or Windows 10. Leaked information is scarce and things are a lot tighter ever since the leaker of Windows 8 was arrested. Either way, we've written up this story to discuss the possibilities. Should Windows 9 be offered for free? Would a cloud-based operating system be useful? Source
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