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 just announced the release of Chrome 21 stable release of the popular web browser. Apart from a long list of bug and security fixes, there are a few new features.
The first new thing is the introduction of the getUserMedia API, which allows web apps to directly access your web camera and microphone without a plug-in as long as you permitted it. In the past many web apps use Flash to connect to the web cam but this could slow things down. This new API makes realtime communcation through web app faster and easier. It also brings creative use to the web cam, such as taking a photo of yourself, uploading to Chrome Lab, converting it into a line drawing and asking a robot in London to draw out your portrait in a patch of sand (this is actually possible in the past using Flash but now you can play this without Flash plug-in). Google also suggested you to try these two web apps: Webcam Toy and Magic Xylophone.
A few other new features of Chrome 21 include expanded support for gamepads, support for Mac Retina high resolution screen and deeper Google Cloud Print integration, you can learn more about these from Google’s official release.
Chromestory reported that Google may giveaway free 100GB storage space on Google Drive to Chromebook and Chromebox users. This offer is, however, said to limited to second generation Chromebooks and Chromebox by Samsung only.
François Beaufort, our learned friend who had discovered many Chrome OS/Chromebook secrets from Chrome OS codes, had once again unearthed something interesting. The text string ‘Get 100 GB free with Google Drive’ was found in the source code of Chrome OS. It was also found that this offer may be available to second generation Chrome devices only. So Cr-48 Chromebook users like me, or first generation Chromebook owners may be out of luck this time. The value of 100GB Google Drive storage $4.99 / month according to current price.
Second-gen Chromebook users, are you excited about this news? First-gen owners, would you be disappointed to know that you are not taken care of?
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!