Chrome OS Weekly: S1 Ep 1 Asus Chromebook C434, VPN Support, CTL edu deal, Linux
Asus Chromebook C434 Makes an Entry With 8gb RAM for $599
The Asus C434 which is a rightful successor to the C302 has been all the rage ever since its release earlier this year. It’s a significant improvement in just about every department over the C302. Besides, a comprehensive side by side comparison of the two can be found here.
- Processor: Intel Core m3-8100Y
- Display: 1920x1080
- RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 128 GB
- OS: Chrome OS
As it’s typical for the majority of OEMs, the lower end and mid range variants of their products are released into the market first while the higher end models take a while. I couldn’t say for sure why this is a repetitive occurrence – my best guess would be that they are manufactured according to their demand considering the higher end variants often come with a higher price tag? I can, however, confidently say it’s a common practice in the PC industry as a whole.
The model in question is currently exclusively live on Amazon with a $599 price tag – a core m3 variant coupled with 8GB of RAM. If you reckon this is a good deal, you’d, in fact, be right, my friend. This model is only $30 more than the 4/64gb variant.
CTL Releases a Bundle of Chrome OS Goodies Tailored for the Edu Market
The growing tablet/detachable category within the Chrome OS ecosystem has seen some major love over the past year with the release of the Pixel Slate, and HP Chromebook X2. This success is evident in CTL’s decision to hop on the bandwagon with the release of the EMR-stylus-equipped CTL Chromebook Tab Tx1. As a tablet that’s specially tailored for a school setting, it’s pretty logical that CTL would make the education market the offer of 16 Tx1 tabs with Chrome Licenses, together with a mountable charging station by Luxor for the asking price of $4999 – a total savings of $500.
- Processor: Rockchip OP1
- Display: 2048x1536
- RAM: 4 GB
- Storage: 32 GB
- OS: Chrome OS
Extensive Support for External USB Camera on its Way to Chrome OS
General support for peripherals is considered a de-facto feature for any established modern operating system such that they function as expected without any need for user manipulation or an external solution. The situation of Chrome OS and its inability to make some of these fundamentals function as expected might be down to (what used to be) a slow development cycle – and I meant this in regards to how slow their timeline can be for major features and functionalities before they are made available to the platform.
It is without a doubt that Chrome OS has seen rapid developmental releases over the course of its existence, however, there’s no denying the fact that manpower might be another constraint when compared to the other major players in the PC space.
The argument that it’s based on Chromium OS – which is open source – may not cut it considering Google still has the final say with whatever system functionality/features are introduced to Chrome OS.
Delightedly, however, that’s starting the change as the proliferation of Chrome OS continues at a respectable pace. Although, this is quite tiny when compared with behemoths such as Windows and Mac OS as indicated in the chart below.
As you may know, Chrome OS is no stranger to supporting webcam capabilities on their Chromebooks but support for external webcams has not been the greatest.
As indicated in this bug report, that is about to change with an upcoming update where you’d be able to access advanced functionalities like the “ability to control connected camera pan/tilt/zoom.” … this function as proposed in a future M74 release, will serve for extensive use-cases (like business meetings to conferences and complimenting Chromeboxes) especially in the enterprise market.
Furthermore, the release note below offers a detailed breakdown of the features that will be making their way to the M74 release.
Key Mapping Underway For Third Party Accessories in Chrome OS
The Google assistant has been making inroads in the Chrome OS ecosystem with current availability limited to the Google Pixelbook and Pixel Slate in the stable channel with extended availability to other non-Google devices such as the Samsung Chromebook Pro via the beta and Dev channel.
While there are certified Google accessories that come with baked-in support for the Google Assistant, there’s yet to be a readily available device-agnostic option that would enable you to map just about any key to trigger the Google Assistant at will.
As reported by Chrome Unboxed, the feature was first spotted on the Chrome OS 76 Canary channel with a “Meta” option tucked away in your Chrome OS Keyboard settings.
As usual, you may expect this feature to trickle down to the Stable channel in about two to three months as per Google’s release cycle.
Native VPN Support Arrives for Linux Apps in Chrome OS
The introduction of Linux in Chrome OS naturally came with a lot of skepticism and for mostly the right reasons … the container is not native (in every sense of the word) to the Chrome OS platform but Google has been hard at work in integrating some of the basic functionalities (including VPN support) in our beloved operating system. The latest attempt in that effort is the support of VPN for Linux apps via the OpenVPN protocols and standard Android VPN apps.
This feature is currently available in Chrome OS 75 which is on the dev channel and can be tested out without any flags or finicking around.