Back in June when Samsung Series 3 Chromebox was just released, we mentioned the limitations of Chromebox including limited local storage (read this: Chromebox review). Two months later, geeks from Geek.com finally cracked open the Chromebox case and demonstrated how to upgrade your Chromebox with ease.
Samsung Chromebox Cracked Open
According to Geek.com, breaking into Chromebox is extremely easy. The cover could be easily removed without any tools, it’s not even held in with clips. The “motherboard” is mounted by screws, those common ones that could be unscrewed using your eyeglass repair toolkit. Almost everything on board could be removed and replaced, including the WiFi card and USB port (of course, you need to find ways to load new driver into the system if you want to replace these hardware).
As said, the limited local storage of Chromebox makes it less attractive because you probably need to store most of your files online and download only when needed. The good news is since Chromebox is easily hackable, you can simply replace the built-in SSD with a larger one! Geek.com tried to install a Kingston SSDNow mS100 64GB SSD and it only took minutes to complete.
The same applies for memory. The RAM on board could be replaced easily too, guys at Geek.com replaced the pair of 2GB RAM with two 8GB sticks of DDR3-1333 SODIMM RAM without problem.
In fact, there is an empty mSATA port on board so theoretically adding a new piece of hardware should be OK if there is software to support it. For geeks and hackers, the “open design” of Chromebox is a good news, so as for system administrators and home users. It makes system upgrade and checking much simpler. With the chance to increase storage and memory, Chromebox becomes a very attractive set-top box as well as a media center in the living room. Imagine loading 60GB of music into the Chromebox and connect it to the TV, you have a music box with a web interface. The only thing of concern is perhaps how to make use of the redundant memory and SSD… their capacity is just too small to be installed in other computers!
Google announced in Google I/O that they would bring Chromebook to Best Buy retail stores in the US and Dixon’s in the UK. This is the first time the Chromebook family officially be sold in brick-and-mortar retail stores. 100 Best Buy stores in various locations in the US will join this campaign. We are unsure about the number of shops covered in the UK. This is certainly a big move because the Chrome device family has not been a mainstream choice (many ordinary computer users don’t actually know what Chromebook is). I believe this is part of Google’s plan to make Chromebook more popular. Google also announced that a new round of Chromebook models should be available from more manufacturers by the end of 2012 (holiday shopping season), signaling Google’s strong belief in Chromebook’s attractiveness.
By the way, it was reported that Google provided all Google I/O attendees a new Chromebox. I’d very much love to be part of this conference, but unfortunately I don’t!
In the Google I/O 2012 just commenced, Google announced quite some new projects and products that have long been expected. As someone who strongly believe in cloud-living, I am particularly interested in software and hardware developments that bring people closer to the cloud. Here are a few new things I observed:
Google Nexus 7 Tablet
There have been rumors about Google’s own branded tablet, and now it comes true. This 7-inch device is seen by many as a strong Kindle Fire competitor, not only because of the same price tag ($199), but also its capability to handle content streaming from Google Play. Buyers can get a $25 Google Play credit (as a temporary incentive though) to purchase content from Google Play store, including songs, movies, TV shows, magazines and books.
I always believe that in the future mobile devices should have small local storage but great streaming power. Instead of storing everything offline, we could download contents and run apps by accessing the cloud. The Chrome browser + web apps combination has been a (quite) successful demonstration. Obviously Google is aware of the huge demand for streaming content, probably due to the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, so besides making a great budget tablet, Google also makes Nexus 7 a nice device for retrieving content from the internet.
Interested parties could pre-order a Nexus tablet now, however it is limited to some countries only.
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Apple in the latest WWDC annonced the new Macbook Pro with retina high resolution screen. It has a 5.1 million pixels display to produce really sharp images. The good hardware certainly requires great software to work, and Google is ready to take its Chrome browser to the next level by bringing high resolution support to Chrome.
In Google’s own words:
“The Chrome Canary channel already shows the early results of this work, bringing basic high-resolution support to Chrome. We have further to go over the next few weeks, but we’re off to the races to make Chrome as beautiful as it can be.”
I don’t have the luck to try out the new Mackbook Pro, but from the image Google released, looks like Chrome browser will have a much finer user interface. The question that remains is whether we the web owners would use shiny sharp images in our blogs and web sites.
Source: Google Chrome Blog