Android apps could turn Chromebooks into MacBook killers

Also in today's open source roundup: One Android user finally gives up on Sony, and is rooting an Android phone still worth doing?

Will Android apps turn Chromebooks into MacBook killers?

The news about Android apps coming to ChromeOS has excited many Chromebook owners. Chromebooks were already doing very well in the marketplace, but combining them with Android apps could eventually make them MacBook killers.

Darren Orf reports for Gizmodo:

When Chromebooks launched in the summer of 2011, they seemed destined to fail, much like the underpowered, internet-dependent netbooks that came before them. But in the five years since, Chromebooks have defied expectations, becoming the most used device in US classrooms and even outselling Macs for the first time this year. Still, people complain about their inability to run useful software, but that's all about to change.

In the latest version of Chrome OS (53), one million Android apps are now available for Chromebooks through the Google Play store. After a brief software update, you'll be able to install to almost any Android app on the market, dramatically changing what your Chromebook is capable of doing.

For now, the update is only available on ASUS's Chromebook Flip and will soon be on Google's Pixel (2015) and Acer's Chromebook R11 with more coming. Eager to try the feature, I dusted off our Chromebook Flip and used it for a couple of days. Obviously. the new software is in the early stages of roll out right now, but even after spending just a few days with the beta, I can safely say that the finished version will be a sea change for Chromebooks, with the potential to transform them from the limited devices they are into full-fledged computing machines.

Right now, all major gadget companies are trying to take tablet computing to the next level. Microsoft thinks it's onto something with the Surface. Apple's trying to turn its iPad into a laptop replacement, and this could very well be Google's most competitive version of a productivity tablet. The launch of Chrome 53 doesn't mean the end of all Android tablets, but it could be the beginning of a kind of Chromebook we've never seen before.

More at Gizmodo

One Android user gives up on Sony

When we think about Android vendors, certain prominent names stick out like Samsung, Google and certain other companies. But Sony has never really made it to the top of the list, and now one Android user has given up on Sony altogether.

Brandon Dean shares his thoughts in a post on The Verge forum:

...Sony has systematically shot themselves in the foot so many times that they simply no longer have feet. Their failures not only relate to current hardware, but their business strategy over the past couple of years.

I held out on an upgrade until summer with the hope that maybe THIS year Sony would take the US market seriously and come out with some carrier announcements. That way I could try the phones (that usually perform better than reviewed) without putting out a lot of money.

Since its clear they are going the unlocked only route, there truly is no reason for me to hold out for them. Their current phones aren't worth the premium they are expecting over the competition, they never were.

I went into a local T-Mobile store and picked up a HTC10 , and haven't looked back. I'm sure there are a lot of American Z3 owners doing the same. The company seem to be hellbent on letting their mobile division atrophy into a a shadow of its former self. The biggest question I have is why bother making phones at all if you aren't going to acknowledge glaringly obvious things about the market.

More at The Verge

Is rooting an Android phone still worth doing?

Some Android users can't imagine using their phones without rooting them first, while others couldn't care less about rooting. Is rooting still worth doing?

JC Torres reports for SlashGear:

In the early days of Android, or even of iOS, much of the functionality that users wanted and needed just weren't there yet. Worse, some of those imposed by the powers that be are the ones they didn't want. At that time, tweaks like Xposed, automation like Tasker, and custom ROMs flourished to respond to the needs, and most of them required users to root their devices to work. Nowadays, the landscape has shifted a bit.

Tasker and other automation apps no longer need root to function, although more advanced functionality is indeed available only on rooted systems. Battery and task optimizers no longer need root. And as of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you also don't need root or a custom ROM to do tasks like switching of specific permissions.

While there are still legit reasons to root, the list has significantly become shorter.

Rooting isn't as big a fad as it was in the early days of Android. Much of the reasons for rooting a device have been addressed or are now available normally. In truth, rooting was never really necessary back then, though it was strongly advised. Of course, there still exists reasons and apps worth rooting devices for, including simply the right to have full access to the computer that you bought, and smartphones are computers after all. The choice will always be there and there will always be developers ardently working to root the next Android release. Of course, in the end, the choice is yours.

More at SlashGear

Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Open home page to get caught up with the latest news about open source and Linux.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?