The past few days have been full of rumors swirling around the web concerning Chrome OS and potential new features, UI changes, and even new devices. Lucky for you, I took it upon myself to round up the three rumors I feel are most credible – therefore, these are the ones that you Chromies should pay most attention to.
1. Samsung will release a revised ARM Chromebook – possibly with a quad-core processor.
Recent commits to the Chromium source code indicate that work is well underway at Google on a new, unannounced device, codenamed daisy_spring. Chrome enthusiasts likely remember that daisy is the development codename that refers to the original Samsung Chromebook on ARM, so the addition of “spring” implies an update to or new iteration of an existing device.
This wouldn’t be entirely unheard of. Acer, for example, recently updated its $199 Chromebook by doubling its RAM and increasing its battery life. Since the Samsung Chromebook is already a decent performer, it seems likely that one of the best ways Samsung could improve upon its already great Chromebook would be to use its new Exynos Octa quad-core processor, instead of the dual-core processor that’s currently inside the Chromebook. That’s pure speculation, of course, but in any case, it seems likely that something is up – and that a new Samsung ARM-based Chromebook is on the way soon.
2. Chrome OS will natively support Dropbox and other third-party cloud storage services.
Chrome OS currently integrates almost perfectly with Google Drive, and for many users this is enough: whether you have 100GB of free storage for two years, or 1TB of free storage for three years, owning a Chrome OS device just makes it easier – and gives you some good motivation – to move all of your stuff into Google’s cloud.
But not everyone likes Google Drive, and it can sometimes be difficult when collaborating with people who refuse to use anything other than Dropbox (I think we all know at least one person like that). Luckily, an issue has been filed in Chromium open source project, calling for native support for services like Dropbox, SugarSync, or Box in the Files app:
The basic idea is to allow an extension behave as a ‘drive’ in the file manager app in ChromeOS. Currently the file manager has ‘Downloads’ and ‘Drive’ in the left column, and additional USB flash drives and temporary zip archives will appear. The extension will appear here and provide the list of files through the new API.
So what makes this a “likely” rumor? It was an actual Chromium team member who filed this request, not just a random user. Thus, it’s obvious that this conversation must be happening behind the scenes at Google, and it’s therefore likely that we’ll see this at some point in the near future.
3. Chrome OS window navigation is going to start looking more like Android.
The Google Chrome team seems to be having an internal dialogue on whether or not it should get rid of the “close” button on windows. (That’s the “x” that appears in the upper right-hand corner of all open windows.) In its place, a “window” button would offer users options to minimize, restore, split, or close windows.
An alternative to this that’s also being discussed is the possibility of using a three-dot menu, similar to what’s used in Android now, next to the “x.” The new menu would also offer users the ability to enter immersive mode.
In either case, both of these changes would indicate a subtle UI shift that could have drastic long-term consequences, especially when considering how windows behave in both Android and Chrome OS. I have a feeling the three-dot menu may in fact make an appearance, especially since the same man is now in charge of both OSes. Ultimately, however, we’ll still have to wait and see.[OMG! Chrome! | Google: 1, 2]