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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Daily News Roundup: Virtual Desktops on Chrome OS are Coming Along Nicely

Virtual Desktops are coming to Chrome OS. The first glimpse of how this is going to work showed up in February, and now there’s a new video of how the feature is progressing. And it looks amazing.

As Chromebooks have grown in both feature and popularity, this is a feature that many users have asked for—myself included. Having the option to switch between multiple screen layouts for various tasks seamlessly would dramatically improve workflow on Chrome OS, and the implementation shown in the video looks great.

All that said, this is still a very early—and notably unfinished—look at how “virtual desks,” as they’re being called, will work. First off, we know that the number of desks will be limited to four. That’s understandable, especially given the lightweight hardware found in most Chromebooks. Comments on the video also note that desk switch animations or mini view haven’t been implemented yet. Again, understandable since this is still very much in development.

Chrome OS Virtual Desks

While we’re getting a better look at how the feature will work, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions. For one, how much of a hit is this going to have on the system—especially lower-end Chromebooks? I’ve been able to peg my Pixelbook’s 8 GB of RAM on more than one occasion with little more than a slew of Chrome tabs, so I can only imagine what it will be like when I can keep multiple apps open across several desktops.

Secondly—and probably the more significant question—when can we try it? As About Chromebooks’ Kevin Tofel points out, it’ll probably be Chrome OS 76 at the earliest. I’m just glad I keep my Pixelbook on the developer channel, as this is one feature that I absolutely can’t wait to try out. [via About Chromebooks]

In other news, Google is having a hard time selling Pixel phones, older Huawei routers were found to have hidden backdoors, Energizer’s massive-battery phone flopped hard, and more.

  • Google reported “lower than expected” Pixel sales: Smartphone sales are down overall this year, but it seems that Google is taking an even harder hit than expected. One analyst even went as far as comparing Pixel sales to Windows Phone. Ouch. [Android Police]
  • Backdoors in Huawei routers: Vodafone Italy says it found “hidden backdoors” in Huawei routers that allowed the Chinese company to access users’ home networks and Vodafone’s fixed-line network. The now-patched backdoors were discovered between 2009-2011; there was also no evidence of breached data. [Bloomberg]
  • Energizer’s big bet on a big phone: Remember the ridiculously huge Energizer phone announced back in February? Well, unsurprisingly, it completely flopped on Indiegogo, only grabbing about one percent of its goal. lol. [The Verge]
  • Netflix will need ads…according to advertisers: Because that’s exactly what advertisers would say. [Tech Radar]
  • Moto’s new RAZR foldable breaks cover: A new supposed leak shows off the rumored RAZR foldable Motorola has been working on. And man, it looks…pretty good. [Engadget]
  • Vudu is getting OC: Original content is coming to Vudu next year, according to a new report. The best part? It’s all going to be free with ads. Well, free is the best part. Not the ads. [MacRumors]
  • Anki is shutting down: No more toy robots for us. :( [Axios]
  • Alexa is getting support for Spanish: Right now, Alexa can only speak English. Starting later this week, she’ll also speak Spanish. Good. [Digital Trends]
  • T-Mobile-Sprint merger delayed: The Justice Department is still in deliberation, so it pushed back the dealing to July 29th. Maybe one day we’ll let the two become one. For the good of humanity. [Android Police]
  • Apple kills Aperture: Apple announced that Aperture will no longer work in macOS versions after Mojave. Makes sense—it’s been out of development since 2014. [MacRumors]
  • Burger King does the Impossible: The company announced that it’s bringing the Impossible Whopper—a totally meatless burger that is said to taste like, well, meat—to all BKs by the end of the year. Wild. I’m gettin’ one. [Vox]

In a bit of interesting science news, scientists have found that “water worlds”—exoplanets completely covered by one huge ocean—are not only common in our galaxy, but have more water than initially imagined. We’re talking massive amounted of water here; potentially thousands of kilometers deep. Of course, water worlds are still technically hypothetical is it were, but this new research, paired with computer simulations, show that planets that were previously thought to be gas with thick atmospheres are actually water worlds. Neat. [Gizmodo]


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