While we’re still two months away from Apple’s widely rumored trio of 2018 iPhones, the rumor mill is already looking ahead to next year.
iPhone with triple-lens rear camera mockup via iDrop News
Much of the early discussion has centered upon the rear-facing camera on 2019 iPhones, with multiple reports claiming it will be a triple-lens array with advanced 3D sensing for augmented reality capabilities.
Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News says as much in a pair of reports today, claiming that the rear-facing camera on 2019 iPhones will feature “more advanced” sensing than the front-facing TrueDepth system on the current iPhone X, with a triple-lens setup capable of stereoscopic imaging.
With stereoscopic imaging, two of the sensors would be able to capture images of a single object from different angles. A triangulation method would then be used to obtain the distance between the iPhone and the object.
The third lens would also likely enable 3x optical zoom on an iPhone for the first time, enabling users to magnify the image in the viewfinder by up to three times without a blurry reduction in quality like digital zoom.
Bloomberg News last year reported that Apple aims to include rear-facing 3D sensing capabilities in its 2019 iPhones. At the time, Apple was said to be evaluating a time-of-flight approach that calculates the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a 3D image of the environment.
While the exact implementation remains to be seen, it’s clear that the rear camera could play a big role in the augmented reality capabilities of future iPhones. Last year, Apple released ARKit, a framework that enables developers to incorporate augmented reality into their apps on iOS 11 and later.
Apple previews ARKit 2 during WWDC 2018 at around 22:05 mark of video
At WWDC 2018 last month, Apple previewed ARKit 2, with shared experiences like multiplayer games, persistent augmented reality, extended support for image detection and tracking, and more.
Tags: udn.com, augmented reality, 2019 iPhones
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Belkin today is launching the first power bank with Lightning input to be officially certified under Apple’s MFi licensing program, assuring that the product meets Apple’s standards for quality and compatibility. Belkin’s BOOST↑CHARGE Power Bank 10K with Lightning Connector, priced at $59.99, offers 10,000 mAh of charging power and is recharged over a Lightning connector using either a USB-to-Lightning cable or a compatible Lightning dock sold separately.
On the output side, the Power Bank 10K with Lightning includes a pair of USB-A ports, one at 2.4A for faster charging of iPhones and iPads and one at 1A for slower charging. A button-activated set of four LEDs on the top of the Power Bank shows the current charge level, and the button also lets you toggle between charging input and output modes if needed.
While power banks most commonly use micro-USB for charging input and a few are shifting over to USB-C, Lightning offers the benefit of needing only a single cable to both charge the battery pack and use the battery pack to charge your phone. If you’ve got a Lightning dock on your desk, you may also be able to use that to recharge the power bank, although it is significantly thicker than an iPhone so not all docks will be able to accommodate the power bank.
Charging on an Apple Lightning dock
The Power Bank 10K measures about 6 inches long, around 2.75 inches wide, and a little under 0.75 inches thick, so it’s slightly smaller but substantially thicker than a Plus-sized iPhone. It weighs a little over 8 ounces, about 25 percent more than a Plus-sized iPhone.
In my testing, the power bank worked well, efficiently charging an iPhone connected to the 2.4A USB port. It also appeared to be able to maintain rated charging speeds with devices connected to both USB ports simultaneously. Recharging the power bank took three hours or so when connected to an iPad charger.
Beyond standard power banks, the launch of the first MFi-certified Lightning battery may also bode well for future similar accessories from other manufacturers, including the possibility of iPhone battery cases with Lightning input, a product family long requested by users.
Belkin’s $59.99 BOOST↑CHARGE Power Bank 10K with Lightning Connector will be available in black or white and is available for pre-order starting today through Belkin. It should begin shipping around the beginning of August.
For peace of mind, the BOOST↑CHARGE Power Bank 10K with Lightning Connector includes Belkin’s $2500 Connected Equipment Warranty, offering protection for any equipment damaged by power spikes or surges while properly connected to the power bank.
Note: Belkin provided a sample of the Power Bank 10K with Lightning Connector to MacRumors free of charge for the coverage purposes. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Belkin and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.
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Class action lawsuits continue to mount against Apple over the iPhone Slowdown saga.
For those unaware, late last year, Apple admitted that it throttles the maximum performance of some older iPhone models with chemically aged batteries when necessary in order to prevent the devices from unexpectedly shutting down.
Apple views this as a feature intended to provide the best user experience possible, and make iPhones last as long as possible, but it wasn’t very transparent about the changes, leading some customers to believe that Apple is purposefully slowing down older iPhones as a form of planned obsolescence.
In an apology letter to customers over its lack of communication, Apple emphatically denied that it would ever “do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”
Not everyone believes Apple, however, as a group of 78 customers from multiple states have jointly filed a class action lawsuit against Apple this week, accusing the company of “secretly throttling” older iPhones to force customers to upgrade to a newer iPhone, calling it “one of the largest consumer frauds in history.”
The full complaint is exhaustive, as most court documents are, but the gist of it is that Apple allegedly committed fraud by secretly slowing down older iPhones as part of a money-making scheme. Through these actions, Apple is accused of violating California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and other laws.
An excerpt from the complaint, filed in a U.S. district court in San Jose on Monday and obtained by MacRumors:
While Plaintiffs and the class need not attribute any motive behind Apple’s intentional degradation of the Devices, it is evident that Apple continued to do so for the simple reason most frauds are committed: money.
Although technically complex in part, the scheme was logical and simple: The Devices were designed defectively, and Apple released software updates to conceal the Defects, all the while exacerbating the effects of the Defects—principally decreased performance—so that Device users had no choice but to purchase new batteries or upgrade their Devices, resulting in additional payments to Apple and a sustained (albeit forced) customer base.
Apple’s VP of marketing Greg Joswiak recently denied this theory, calling it “about the craziest thinking in the world.”
Which is about the craziest thinking in the world, where I give you a shitty experience so you go buy our new product. But, to your point, there’s been so much that people forgot about how great software updates are. First of all, we have a 95 percent customer satisfaction rate with iOS 11… it’s great. We have delivered through the years amazing features, from the App Store to iMessage.”
The plaintiffs, who reside all across the United States, are aiming to become the representatives of the proposed class, including all users of the iPhone 5 and newer and various iPad models, including the iPad Air, iPad Pro, and iPad mini.
It’s unclear why the complaint includes the iPhone 5-5s and iPads, which are not affected by the performance management, according to Apple.
This case, along with over 60 others, will likely be heard by the Honorable Judge Edward J. Davila, after the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all iPhone slowdown lawsuits to be consolidated as one large class action in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, where he presides.
Apple has already taken a few courses of action beyond apologizing, including reducing the price of battery replacements to $29 for iPhone 6 and newer through the end of 2018, and offering a $50 credit to all customers who paid for an out-of warranty battery replacement for an iPhone 6 or later in 2017.
Moreover, in iOS 11.3, Apple introduced a new Battery Health feature in beta to track an iPhone’s battery and performance status.
When users first install iOS 11.3 or later, all performance management features that might have been enabled are automatically disabled. If an unexpected shutdown occurs, however, the performance management is turned back on and must be disabled manually thereafter—although Apple doesn’t recommend it.
If you are experiencing issues with or have questions about your iPhone battery, contact Apple Support. Also read our guide on how to get an iPhone’s battery replaced at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.
Related Roundups: iPhone 7, iPhone SETags: lawsuit, iPhone SlowdownBuyer’s Guide: iPhone 8 (Caution), iPhone SE (Don’t Buy), iPhone 8 (Caution)
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If you don’t want your iPhone or iPad to bug you about Apple’s frequent software updates but want your software to stay up to date, there’s a new option in iOS 12 to enable automatic software updates.
With this feature turned on, when a new version of iOS is released, your iPhone or iPad will be updated automatically
Open the Settings app,
Select “Software Update.”
Tap on “Automatic Updates.”
Toggle the option from off to on. Automatic updates are turned off by default, so the default behavior of software updates isn’t changing in iOS 12. Unless this is turned on, your iOS device will wait for you to manually tap the install button when an update is released, though it will continue to download new updates in the background.
To turn off automatic updates, follow the same steps, toggling the update from on to off.
Related Roundup: iOS 12
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Honda’s Asimo robot caused many a jaw to drop over the years, its impressive array of talents for a long time putting the diminutive android well ahead of the competition.
But the Japanese company recently announced it’s retiring its creation after decades of development. The last of several versions left the workshop in 2011, though further refinements were made to the robot’s skill set three years later. The work isn’t wasted, though, as Honda said it’s transferring Asimo’s technology to other projects for single-person mobility vehicles and self-driving cars.
Asimo’s on-board computer and numerous servo motors enabled the 131-cm-tall (4 foot 3 inch) robot to run and jump, climb stairs, handle objects, play soccer, and even dance. Beyond its physical smarts, it could also converse with humans, interpret gestures, and respond to commands.
It’s with some sadness that we bid farewell to Honda’s renowned robot, but let’s take this opportunity to celebrate Asimo’s awesomeness with a collection of its finest (and not so finest) moments.
Asimo runs and hops
What many found so amazing about Asimo was its extraordinary agility while performing kinds of actions. Although Asimo moved as if it’d just received a painful kick in the technicals, the android could nevertheless run at a decent speed of 5.6 mph (9 kmh), and also hop on the spot, with its balance maintained by numerous sensors. And all this was in 2011, a whole four years before all of these robotic finalists at a DARPA contest made a hash of just about everything, with many of them looking as if they’d come straight from a boozy night on the town.
OK, it’s not quite Michael Jackson at his peak, but the sight of 10 Asimo robots strutting their stuff is still one that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Honda produced the short video as a fun way to show off Asimo’s fluid movements and ability to function as part of a team. The perfectly synced performance may have caused concern among those fearing a robot takeover, but, to be honest, Asimo always looked too darn cute and friendly to pose a serious threat to our existence.
Asimo meets the president
Asimo even got to meet a serving president, greeting Barack Obama at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (aka Miraikan) in Tokyo in 2014. After introducing itself, Asimo was keen to show off its soccer smarts, passing a ball to the former White House occupant with the kind of skill and finesse that continues to be sorely missed at the annual RoboCup soccer contest.
Asimo stars in a TV ad
Asimo starred in its own TV commercial in 2010. Narrated by Garrison Keillor, the ad gave Honda the opportunity to bring its work on robot technology to a wider audience. It shows Asimo’s child-like reactions to various displays as it wanders alone through a technology museum. Notable moments are when it spots itself, seemingly for the first time, on a TV screen, and later when it raises a hand of acknowledgement to something that looks very much like itself …
Asimo opens a flask and pours a drink
The final version of Asimo, unveiled in 2011, showed marked improvements in the robot’s dexterity that enabled its human-like hands able to perform a wider range of functions. In the video above, marvel at how Asimo performs a task most of us take for granted, but which robots at the time found pretty much impossible to complete without causing a mess or making themselves look a bit silly.
Asimo serves drinks
Able to pour drinks, Honda then showed how Asimo could function as a delivery bot, taking coffee to office workers, though such a role seemed to fall well short of making the most of Asimo’s many abilities. The video shows Asimo bringing a tray of coffees to a woman at a desk. After bowing, the robot saunters off, apparently forgetting to take the remaining drinks to other workers in the office, though a small software tweak would no doubt have seen to that.
Asimo falls down stairs
Honda always made much of Asimo’s ability to climb stairs, partly because few other robots could perform such a feat, and partly, perhaps, because it never quite got over the humiliation suffered by Asimo when it toppled down a flight of stairs during an appearance in Japan in 2006. Halfway up the steps, Asimo turns to look at the audience as if to say, “Pretty cool, huh?” before a catastrophic malfunction causes it to suddenly crumble into a heap. Instead of simply carrying the defective robot away, stagehands rush on to put up a screen around Asimo in an apparent bid to protect its dignity, or to stop anyone taking photos. Trouble was, someone shot the entire incident and posted it on YouTube. On the stage, Honda displayed its famous “power of dreams” tagline, but this particular Asimo performance was nothing short of a nightmare.
Asimo climbs stairs
It’d be churlish to end on a negative note, so we won’t. We’re happy to report that the final version of Honda’s robot well and truly nailed the stairs routine, evidenced by plenty of online videos shot at various live events, as well as this albeit carefully choreographed sequence showing Asimo climbing and descending a number of steps with ease.
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HEIF photos and native HDR playback will make Android P look as good as it runs.
Android P isn’t just about features that might change how you use your phone; there are also a couple of new additions that will change how you see things while you’re using it.
These two additions will be hardware-dependent, but we’re pretty sure a flagship phone from all the Android partners will support them. They can have a major impact on your media creation and consumption, so let’s take a look at exactly what they are and what that means.
High Efficiency Image Format
HEIF (High Efficiency File Format, pronounced heef) is a fairly new method to compress image files and it’s coming to Android P.
You might have noticed that some file types, like bitmaps (a .bmp file) are a lot bigger than other file types, like .jpg files. That’s because of compression. You can compress almost any file at least once. An algorithm searches through the file’s data and does things like erase duplicate data, lower color depth, and use rounding to make very similarly colored pixels the same color. This can take a very large file, like a 50MB .TIFF file and compress it down to a much smaller 2MB .jpg file — and our eyes see very little difference if it’s done correctly.
The photos from your Android phone should look the same but the files will be a lot smaller.
There are two important reasons that this works. First, our eyes can see millions and millions of colors, but we can’t actually tell that some reds are different than others (for example). Second is that the display we are using to see the images can’t render all of the data, and files can be cut back to 16 million colors at best quality, and 8 colors at the absolute worst. Your phone doesn’t have an 8-color display, no matter who made it, and some phones have a 24-bit (known as True color and capable of displaying 16 million colors) display. Chances are the camera on your phone will save images as 16- or 24-bit .jpg files and you won’t know that some of the data has been stripped.
HEIF takes things a step further than JPEG does and can compress files to a smaller size with no loss of quality, but more importantly can also hold some extra data about the image itself. Apple adopted HEIF compression with iOS 11 and most people can’t tell any difference. That means it works as intended! Extra data that can be stored in a HEIF compressed file includes:
- ** Low-resolution thumbnail** so your photo gallery doesn’t have to build thumbnails on the fly.
- Burst-mode images can be saved with all the single shots inside one file.
- Rotation data so the image can be displayed at 0/360, 90, 180, and 270 degrees of offset.
- Auxillary items like an image alpha or depth map are saved inside the file.
Android won’t be taking advantage of all of these features, at least in the beginning. We will benefit from the smaller file size and thumbnails, and it’s said that some burst-mode data will be saved in a HEIF file created by Android.
Android will support compressing images using the HEIC (High Efficiency Image Compression) format and viewing them. Your phone will need an ISP (Image Signal Processor) capable of “building” a HEIC file but every phone that gets Android P will be able to view them.
HDR VP9 Video
VP9 is an open and royalty-free video coding format developed by Google. If you use Chrome or Android, you already have seen VP9 video even if you didn’t know it! It’s a format that offers a good amount of compression without any substantial loss in quality and websites like YouTube and Google Play Movies stream using it to Android and Chrome.
HDR makes a notable difference in quality at any resolution.
With Android P, those VP9 streams will be natively supported to be shown using HDR (High Dynamic Range). You might not have ever seen an HDR display showing HDR content. It’s not really new, but it is new enough that many of us don’t have HDR anything to watch Netflix or YouTube videos on. If you have seen HDR content on a good display, you know how cool it is. It’s a much bigger difference than HD 1080p to HD4K video was, especially on a big display.
You will need to have a display on your phone that can show HDR content, but we’ve seen those for a while, and phones like the LG V30 and its gorgeous 6-inch P-OLED screen will love having native HDR available to any developer who wants to use it.
- Android P: Everything you need to know
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- Will my phone get Android P?
- How to manually update your Pixel to Android P
- Join the Discussion
From the forums.
Despite the popularity of services like WhatsApp and Telegram, good-old texting still remains as one of the most popular forms of communication for a lot of users.
There are plenty of third-party SMS apps you can grab from the Play Store, but two of the most popular first-party ones are Samsung Messages and Google’s Android Messages.
Android Messages is gradually being updated with new features to slowly turn it into a much more powerful messaging service using the power of RCS, and while Samsung Messages has more features to-boot, it also has a tendency to send random photos of yours without your consent or leaving any trace of doing so.
With all that said, what app do you prefer using? Some of our AC forum users recently answered that very question, and this is what they had to say.
07-03-2018 06:43 PM
Android Messages is a work in progress. It does not have as many features as the Samsung messages app….yet.
RCS(Chat) is also a work in progress on AM so it hasn’t been fully implemented.
Hopefully, they will add scheduling and customization to AM
07-03-2018 07:34 PM
RCS is available on the Samsung Messages app if you have the latest update. In fact, the latest slew of bugs that you will reported on the latest Samsung Messages app is about the RCS update which T Mobile pushed to it. So you actually lose stuff going to Android Messages, like the customizations, but you also lose the bug so that’s good.
07-04-2018 01:20 PM
Personally prefer Android messages anyway much cleaner look and simpler. But I’m biased since I like Google apps more than Samsung apps since I have multiple Android phones and like to use same apps in all of them.
It’s interesting how this RCS implementation is going on with different carriers. Looks like a mess and fragmented.
What about you? Do you prefer using Samsung Messages or Android Messages?
Join the conversation in the forums!
Amazon Fire TV Cube, and NVIDIA Shield. Two great streamers in their own rights.
Can Fire TV Cube compete with so much Tegra power? Actually …
Sometimes age ain’t nothing but a number. And that’s certainly the case with the NVIDIA Shield. So how is it an Android TV box that hasn’t really changed since its introduction in 2015 is able to keep up with the new hotness that is the Amazon Fire TV Cube?
It all starts with the hardware, of course. A powerful SOC and all the accoutrements you’d expect. (That’s a big nod to the power of the NVIDIA Tegra X1 platform, for course.)
And then there’s the software. Shield has received consistent updates throughout its life, recently receiving a major update to Android 8.0 Oreo.
Both, however, have a world of smarts to them — Shield with Google Assistant, and Fire TV Cube with Amazon Alexa.
Does that mean there’s no reason for an Android fan to consider a Fire TV Cube? Not necessarily.
Read at CordCutters.com: Amazon Fire TV Cube vs. NVIDIA Shield
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This game looks weird, and that’s exactly why it has our attention.
Remedy Entertainment is back with another intriguing game, and this time it’s on the PlayStation 4. Control is a game that will be both familiar, yet strange. We’ve seen many of its gameplay elements at play before in games like Quantum Break, but there are other things at play that will make it one game to keep an eye on. Let’s dive into all we know about it.
What is Control?
Control is a third-person action-adventure shooter, but it won’t be all about the guns. Remedy is using the Northlight engine developed for Quantum Break to bring us yet another fresh experience. You’ll be shooting guns, but you’ll also be manipulating time, space, and gravity.
What’s the story?
Right now, we know you’ll be playing as a female character named Jesse Faden, played by Courtney Hope. Jesse is the new director of the Federal Bureau of Control, which we can only assume is some sort of governmental agency aimed at regulating the use of supernatural powers that some have seemingly been gifted with.
Of course, Jesse herself has such powers, and her intention is to use them for good. Not everyone is keen on following those intentions, however, with a corrupt entity known as The Hiss infiltrating the Bureau and manipulating other agents to carry out dirty work.
The game seems to feature a cult-like structure, with Jesse and presumably other Control agents having undergone ritualistic processes to obtain their powers. Taking place in New York, Jesse first discovers something isn’t right when people at the Bureau headquarters — also known as the Oldest House — are spotted floating above their workspaces.
That’s all we’ll be getting from Remedy on plot details at this time; however, we do know they won’t be following conventional storytelling practices. We also know this will be a fully single-player experience despite earlier rumors that there is a cooperative mode.
Exploration, powers, and more
Instead of being inundated with a barrage of cinematic cutscenes placed between pockets of exhilarating gameplay, Remedy wanted Control’s story to be told through the world itself. That means the narrative will be driven by pure exploration.
This would seem to sound like the same sort of lazy storytelling we’ve seen in games like Destiny where plot details are scattered throughout the world on info cards, but we’re told that the world acts as a true storytelling component. In fact, the Oldest House will transform greatly throughout the course of the game, giving you new secrets to discover as you continuously explore the ever-changing building. A quick-witted oracle doesn’t tell you the secrets of the building, the building tells you the secrets of the building.
Remedy describes it as a sandbox game in that regard. You’ll use Jesse’s various powers of levitation, telekinesis, and more to find your way to new areas of the building as it continues to evolve. It begins with her service weapon, which is no ordinary firearm. It’ll tweak and contort and do all kinds of weird things, and it’ll gain more abilities as you upgrade it.
This focus on using raw gameplay as the primary means of advancing the plot makes Control a refreshing reminder that interesting gameplay mechanics can still be the driving force in triple-A video games, and not over-the-top cutscenes or other forcible forms of storytelling. That’s not to say those other forms aren’t sweet in their own right, but we wholly applaud Remedy for trying something different.
When can you play it?
Control is slated for a 2019 launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Remedy says it’ll be plenty vocal about the game leading up to its launch, so stay tuned for more updates as they come in!
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The tablet experience on Chrome is only getting better, while still making for a really useful laptop.
We’re slowly entering a brave new world when it comes to Chromebooks. Android app support came along in 2016, making convertible Chromebooks a more enticing option. The Android app support has only gotten better since, and we’re starting to see full tablets and detachable options like the HP Chromebook X2.
For many people, a Chromebook is already replacing Android tablets. Others still just want a laptop to be a laptop, and a tablet to be a tablet.
Here’s why you should consider a Chrome tablet over a Chromebook!
- Less weight
- Easier pen use
- Easier mobility
- You can use it as a laptop anyway
- It’s only going to get better
Simply put, if you take away half of a computer, it weighs about half as much. This is a bit nuanced since that means the processor and storage and other components needs to live on the screen side, but a tablet without a keyboard ends up being much less weight than a convertible laptop. The HP Chromebook X2 weighs 3.07 pounds as a laptop, and only 1.62 pounds as a tablet, while the Pixelbook weighs in at 2.4 pounds. That’s not a huge difference on paper, but it makes a big difference when you’re reading a long book or taking notes. And speaking of notes…
Easier pen use
The lower weight contributes to this, but being able to grip a solid surface instead of individual keys on the back of the tablet helps as well. If you do a whole lot of inking, you’ll want a Chrome tablet to make the experience that much better.
Right now the HP Chromebook X2 is the only Chrome tablet available to normal consumers — the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is only available in educational channels — and its 12-inch screen makes it about the same size as most other Chromebooks. But other 10-inch and smaller tablets will become available, meaning the device will require less space in your bag. You’ll still be able to use all the same accessories you can use on typical Chromebooks, so you can have your tablet on the go and a hub of expandability at home.
You can use it as a laptop anyway
While the Acer Chromebook Tab is 100% a tablet — it doesn’t have a keyboard included like the HP model — it will still work with Bluetooth or USB keyboards. This is certainly clunkier than having a laptop with an attached keyboard, but it will work. As will your mice, webcams, microphones, and external displays. Meanwhile if you try taking the display off of a Pixelbook, it and your wallet will get very angry.
It’s only going to get better
There are still a few areas that need smoothing out on the Chrome tablet experience. The interface is slowly moving to be more touch-friendly, with Android apps being able to run in split screen and access the microSD card. If you’re going to use a Chrome tablet in a school or other enterprise, you’ll need a physical keyboard to enroll the Chrome tablet into your administrative console.
But there’s hope. A Google representative told Ars Technica that they expect to have a complete, tablet friendly UI by the end of 2018. A new Chrome version comes out every six weeks, so you’ll see your tablet experience evolve very quickly over the next few months.
What are your thoughts?
Do you want your Chromebook to just be a laptop, or would you like to also use it as a tablet? Let us know down below!
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