The Samsung Chromebook Plus might be the best place to try new Android features

A Chromebook has a newer version of Android than almost every phone.

If you want to check out the latest features for Android as soon as you can you know what phone to buy: The Pixel. But you still won’t be able to check out every feature because a few are always going to be dependent on screen size. The Samsung Chromebook Plus has you covered. It’s just a better buy in 2017 than a Pixel C and offers the same level of Android support. We’re seeing this now, and it’s not likely to change unless we get new hardware from Google this fall.

Android 7.1.1 for Chromebooks is available right now if you’re willing to run Chrome Canary.

A disclaimer is in order. the Chromebook Plus only has Android 7.1.1 if you run the ChromeOS Canary build. We’re not sure exactly when it will come to more usable branches or even to the stable build, but know that Google is focusing on getting Android on Chrome to the latest version and keeping it there when Android is updated. I don’t recommend anyone who has a Chromebook and enjoys using it to switch to Canary because there will be headaches and broken things. That’s what Canary is — a test bed for things to see how broken they are and what needs to be changed. But if you’re a developer who needs to get ready for what’s next with Android TV or tablets or even other Chromebooks, having it available outside of an emulator is pretty awesome.

A look back at the Google I/O 2017 session Android Apps for Chromebooks and Large Screen Devices shows us why. ChromeOS can look at the version of Android it is running and then adjust how app windows are drawn. Apps target for versions before Marshmallow will show in a static view. Apps targeted for Marshmallow will have two views: windowed and full-screen. Apps targeted for Nougat will be completely resizable.

Cool new features need cool new devices to test them on.

This addresses a major problem that isn’t new or unique to Chromebooks — how to handle legacy applications with no support for new features. It also means the Chromebook Plus is a perfect tool for developers who want to update existing apps or write new ones that support the latest version of Android.

This will carry on when Android O becomes final. The Pixel (or whatever new device Google offers at launch) will be great for testing notification features and new ways to conserve power, but things like universal Picture in Picture are important to test on a larger device. This is all great for developers but it also means people like us — regular users who want the most from their purchase — have a better experience.

This is happening because of how the software on a Chromebook is updated. Samsung has the final say before any updates come to the stable channel, but it doesn’t get to decide how these updates are built or what features they will include. The manufacturer can install an app or extension (most don’t, but ASUS has) on top and certainly has some input on what goes into a new version but the system, including the Android version, is from Google. This is probably why not every Chromebook gets updated at the same time, but it also means that every one of them will be feature by feature identical.

We would hate this on our phones but expect it in a laptop. Every computer running Windows or MacOS has the same system software on it. Regardless of the reason, it means that the Chromebook Plus is almost a required tool for developers and the device to have if you want access to everything a new version of Android has to offer.

We expect every laptop from Apple or Microsoft to have the same features, and Chromebooks follow suit.

I also have a pretty good feeling inside that Samsung and Google are working together on the whole multi-window experience for Android, because it’s pretty important for both companies. Samsung has great support for sizable floating windows, but only for apps developed specifically to support it. It’s really improved and a cool feature on the new Tab S3, and is really needed if they want to continue development for DeX. But what Samsung needs is for Google to build in support at the system level with an intelligent way to support apps that are old. Since there are no extra hurdles when updating the Chromebook Plus, it appears to be the test bed.

Maybe we’ll see a large-format device from Google later in 2017. Maybe not. But the next version of Samsung’s Android software will be better because of the Chromebook Plus. And so will everyone else’s.

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via IFTTT

London Bridge Shut Down After Van Reportedly Hits Pedestrians

http://ift.tt/eA8V8J

The London Bridge has been closed after a white van drove off the road and plowed into pedestrians. According to early reports … the van was being driven by a man traveling around 50 mph, and at least 5 people are being treated for injuries after…

Vía TMZ.com http://ift.tt/2rwMNCe

The Samsung Chromebook Plus might be the best place to try new Android features

A Chromebook has a newer version of Android than almost every phone.

If you want to check out the latest features for Android as soon as you can you know what phone to buy: The Pixel. But you still won’t be able to check out every feature because a few are always going to be dependent on screen size. The Samsung Chromebook Plus has you covered. It’s just a better buy in 2017 than a Pixel C and offers the same level of Android support. We’re seeing this now, and it’s not likely to change unless we get new hardware from Google this fall.

Android 7.1.1 for Chromebooks is available right now if you’re willing to run Chrome Canary.

A disclaimer is in order. the Chromebook Plus only has Android 7.1.1 if you run the ChromeOS Canary build. We’re not sure exactly when it will come to more usable branches or even to the stable build, but know that Google is focusing on getting Android on Chrome to the latest version and keeping it there when Android is updated. I don’t recommend anyone who has a Chromebook and enjoys using it to switch to Canary because there will be headaches and broken things. That’s what Canary is — a test bed for things to see how broken they are and what needs to be changed. But if you’re a developer who needs to get ready for what’s next with Android TV or tablets or even other Chromebooks, having it available outside of an emulator is pretty awesome.

A look back at the Google I/O 2017 session Android Apps for Chromebooks and Large Screen Devices shows us why. ChromeOS can look at the version of Android it is running and then adjust how app windows are drawn. Apps target for versions before Marshmallow will show in a static view. Apps targeted for Marshmallow will have two views: windowed and full-screen. Apps targeted for Nougat will be completely resizable.

Cool new features need cool new devices to test them on.

This addresses a major problem that isn’t new or unique to Chromebooks — how to handle legacy applications with no support for new features. It also means the Chromebook Plus is a perfect tool for developers who want to update existing apps or write new ones that support the latest version of Android.

This will carry on when Android O becomes final. The Pixel (or whatever new device Google offers at launch) will be great for testing notification features and new ways to conserve power, but things like universal Picture in Picture are important to test on a larger device. This is all great for developers but it also means people like us — regular users who want the most from their purchase — have a better experience.

This is happening because of how the software on a Chromebook is updated. Samsung has the final say before any updates come to the stable channel, but it doesn’t get to decide how these updates are built or what features they will include. The manufacturer can install an app or extension (most don’t, but ASUS has) on top and certainly has some input on what goes into a new version but the system, including the Android version, is from Google. This is probably why not every Chromebook gets updated at the same time, but it also means that every one of them will be feature by feature identical.

We would hate this on our phones but expect it in a laptop. Every computer running Windows or MacOS has the same system software on it. Regardless of the reason, it means that the Chromebook Plus is almost a required tool for developers and the device to have if you want access to everything a new version of Android has to offer.

We expect every laptop from Apple or Microsoft to have the same features, and Chromebooks follow suit.

I also have a pretty good feeling inside that Samsung and Google are working together on the whole multi-window experience for Android, because it’s pretty important for both companies. Samsung has great support for sizable floating windows, but only for apps developed specifically to support it. It’s really improved and a cool feature on the new Tab S3, and is really needed if they want to continue development for DeX. But what Samsung needs is for Google to build in support at the system level with an intelligent way to support apps that are old. Since there are no extra hurdles when updating the Chromebook Plus, it appears to be the test bed.

Maybe we’ll see a large-format device from Google later in 2017. Maybe not. But the next version of Samsung’s Android software will be better because of the Chromebook Plus. And so will everyone else’s.

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via IFTTT

How to set up peripherals to use with Samsung DeX

It’s easy to do, though you’ll want to pair your Bluetooth peripherals first.

The Samsung DeX isn’t a replacement for your laptop, but it does make a nice little companion computer for when you’re on the go. Don’t forget the peripherals, however, which you’ll need if you want to actually use the desktop mode to get things done. If you’re curious about what kind of peripherals to actually purchase for the device, we’ve got suggestions for that, too.

If you’re planning to use Samsung DeX on the road, make sure that you pair all of the Bluetooth-connected peripherals before you leave the house. This way, everything will be raring to go once you plug the Galaxy S8 into the DeX dock at your final destination.

How to pair Bluetooth peripherals to Samsung DeX

You can save yourself a ton of headache if you elect to pair all of your Bluetooth peripherals to the Galaxy S8 or S8+ before you play it into the DeX dock. This is all possible from the Settings panel.

  1. In the notification shade, tap the Settings icon.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the toggle to turn on Bluetooth.
  4. Tap the device you want to pair under Available Devices.

Once the peripheral is paired, you’ll see it appear under Paired Devices. Tap the Settings icon in the same line for more options, including the ability to rename the peripheral or unpair it entirely. Now that everything is paired, the Bluetooth peripherals that tag along on your journey will work instantly with the Galaxy S8. You can even test what you’ve paired while the device is in phone mode before plugging it into DeX.

How to set up USB-connected peripherals

The nice thing about the Samsung DeX is that you can use almost any USB-connected peripherals you might have lying around. All you have to do is plug them in while the DeX dock is operating and they should be instantly recognized.

Plug anything that’s USB-connected in and it just works.

I tested the ability with both a wired mouse and a USB-connected one. The latter was of the Logitech Unifying receiver variety, and I didn’t have to install software to have the scroll wheel and back buttons properly work. You can also an external webcam or high-performance microphone if you have the appropriate third-party apps installed. By default, the Galaxy S8 supports OTG, so it theoretically accepts anything that’s USB-connected. You can also use DeX to offload files and apps from external flash drives.

The DeX options screen.

Note that some keyboards may require a bit of a learning curve as you figure out which keys correspond to what. Under Language and input, select Physical keyboard to take a peep at the keyboard shortcuts. You can also adjust the Pointer speed in the DeX settings panel.

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New hardware as far as the eye can see [#acpodcast]

It’s all hardware this week, folks.

This week, Andrew, Jerry, Flo and Russell get back to the roots talking about all of the new hardware. We get into the merits of buying an unlocked HTC U11 or Galaxy S8 or Xperia XZ Premium, the new Moto Z2 Play replacing its predecessor, and everything we know so far about the Essential Phone.

And of course, you’ll never guess what Jerry has to say!

Show notes:

This episode of the Android Central Podcast is brought to you by Thrifter, the best place to get great deals in your inbox every day!

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