The Nexus 7 is Now Shipping, and Google Chrome is in Tow

The Nexus 7 is Now Shipping, and Google Chrome is in Tow

Jul 23, 2012

Almost a month after its announcement, Google and Asus’ Nexus 7 tablet is finally making its way into people’s hands as they’ve finally started shipping from Google Play.

Those looking to get the 8 GB version are in luck: I personally ordered one on Friday morning, and should have it today. Expect a review soon. The 16 GB one is harder to find: it’s currently out of stock on Google Play and many retailers have reported it as being out of sale. For Google this has to be a good thing: massive demand of a product is certainly a good sign. As well, given the iSuppli report that basically said that the 16 GB Nexus 7 only costs about $8-$15 more to make than the 8 GB version which is being sold at cost, then there’s the possibility that Google could wind up making a profit – even if it’s just a modest one – as well as gaining vital tablet market share.

Interesting to report is that Chrome is the primary browser on the Nexus 7 and not the standard Android browser. It’s important to note this because of the fact that Google appears to be trying to push Chrome as a product for all operating systems, not just a desktop browser. They’ve launched Chrome for iOS, though it’s still basically just a WebKit wrapper, and Safari is still the most capable iOS browser thanks to the Nitro JavaScript engine. However, Google wants users to get into that Chrome ecosystem wherever they are, and making it the browser of choice on the Nexus 7 seems to be a conscious choice. It also represents the death of the stock Android browser, capable enough thanks to its WebKit base, but not all that well-regarded as a capable browser thanks in part to Android’s fragmentation.

Of course, how it all works in practice is a very good question, though the capable hardware of the Nexus 7 should ensure that any well-built browser will work well. But will it wind up being a net positive experience? We’ll have our rundown very soon.

Chrome for Android Beta Now Available for Ice Cream Sandwich Devices

Chrome for Android Beta Now Available for Ice Cream Sandwich Devices

Feb 7, 2012

Google Chrome is finally on Android.. A beta version of Chrome for Android has launched for Ice Cream Sandwich devices on the Android Market. This is an official version of Chrome, Google’s WebKit-based desktop browser that has yet to be integrated as part of their Android browser. This may be the first step in that direction.

Experience–wise, it is impressively similar to the desktop version. Fonts and websites render similarly, and performance is generally snappy. However, vertical scrolling appears to be the app’s general weakness at this point – it’s rather choppy, and something that likely is part of the ‘beta’ distinction.

The browser supports both phones and tablets on ICS. Tablets get an interface more akin to the desktop experience, with the familiar tab bar at top.Private browsing is also available, with the ability to switch between the regular set of tabs and Chrome‘s “Incognito” tabs with a tap of the icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Cross-device synchronization is a big strength of Chrome for Android, as it can not only synchronize bookmarks across devices, but also look up URLs from the same history as the desktop version, access tabs that were pulled up in the desktop version of Chrome. It appears as if this synchronization is one way only at this point, and there’s no way for desktop Chrome to pull up that same info from mobile devices. There’s also no way to change the user agent or to request a desktop site, something the official broswer has. This is an issue particularly on Android tablets, because there is no browser user agent distinction between Android phones and tablets, so tablets often are served the version of the site for phones.

The problem right now with Chrome for Android is that it’s only available for Ice Cream Sandwich users. With the total nuumber of Android devices running ICS apparently at 1% (something that headline makers have noticed and picked up on, with the 99%/1% distinction being part of the Occupy movement), this means that Chrome for Android won’t be the primary browsing experience any time soon. But, as new Android devices launch with ICS, and as current devices begin to see ICS, the time for Chrome to take over may be soon, as the project continues advancing. Chrome for Android Beta is available now from the Android Market.

Pocket Legends and Star Legends Now Playable on Google Chrome with Cross-Platform Multiplayer Intact

Pocket Legends and Star Legends Now Playable on Google Chrome with Cross-Platform Multiplayer Intact

Dec 14, 2011

Spacetime Studios have made a living off of cross-platform multiplayer. Both Pocket Legends and their most recent title, Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles, allow for users on iOS and Android to play with each other in live online multiplayer modes. It’s even possible to use the same character across devices, making the difficulties of cross-platform saves on other platforms seem like a pittance by comparison. Now, Spacetime Studios is adding yet another platform for players to play on.

Google Chrome users can now get in on the fun, as a client for the browser is now available. The client uses Chrome’s Native Client technology which is implemented into the Spacetime Engine that powers both games. Impressively, the game will be playable on all three major desktop operating systems: Windows, Mac, and Linux. How’s that for cross-platform compatibility? As well, Spacetime Studios claims that these games are the first to integrate cross-platform multiplayer between both mobile and desktop operating systems. Because the games run on the same server architecture, this is a major reason of why the many platforms are compatible with one another.

According to Gary Gattis, CEO of Spacetime Studios, “There have always been technical walls between players of different platforms. Now, people are free to play on the device they choose with anyone, anywhere, anytime, whether they are at home or on-the-go.” The technical feats of Spacetime Studios’ games are unquestioned, and appear to far exceed what any other developer is doing. This is just only a further step in what they have been able to do with their technology. While developers struggle with making games work properly in the cloud, even with transferring files between devices, Spacetime Studios are bringing together desktops and mobile devices with their tools. Pocket Legends and Star Legends for Chrome are now available from the Chrome Web Store.