A company called Neverware has been offering software called CloudReady that lets you turn old computers into pseudo Chromebooks since 2015. But in order to do that, the company has been using software based on Chromium OS, the open source version of Chrome OS.

Now Google has acquired the company and, among other things, that means that CloudReady will eventually become an official Chrome OS release with more of the features you’d get if you bought an off-the-shelf Chromebook.

When that happens, existing users will be able to upgrade automatically, while new users will get the latest software. In the meantime, Neverware says there will be no changes to its pricing or support services — there’s a free version of CloudReady for home users, as well as Education and Enterprise editions available for $20 or $49 per year per user.

Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.

  • Neverware is now part of Google [CloudReady]
    Google Acquires Neverware, the company behind Cloudready, which lets you install ChromiumOS on old PCs to turn them into Chromebooks. Eventually Cloudready will become an official Chrome OS release. (via Engadget)
  • Firefox 84 [Mozilla]
    Firefox 84 is out, featuring native support for Macs with Apple Silicon (2.5X faster launches and 2X faster page loads), GPU-based rendering for more Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, and some UI changes for Android.
  • Office for Macs with Apple Silicon [Microsoft]
    Microsoft Office now runs natively on Macs with Apple M1 chips. The updated apps are universal Mac apps, which means they’ll also run on models with Intel chips, but performance on the new MacBook Air and Pro should be faster.
  • Qualcomm Announces New Snapdragon 678 [Qualcomm]
    Qualcomm introduces Snapdragon 678 mid-range chip with Kryo 460 CPU cores, Adreno 612 graphics, and support for devices with up to 3 cameras with 48MP and zero shutter lag.
  • SNK teases a new game console for 2021 [@SNKPofficial]
    SNK says a “brand-new console” is coming in 2021. The move comes a few years after the launch of the Neo Geo Mini, and.. that’s about all we know so far.
  • Netflix is now available on Amazon Echo Shows [AFTV News]
    Now you can watch Netflix on an Amazon Echo Show… if you want to watch Netflix on a 5-10 inch stationary screen. I guess it could come in handy in the kitchen or something.
  • The year ahead for Surface Duo [Microsoft]
    Microsoft Surface Duo dual-screen Android phone is heading to Canada, the UK, France, and Germany in 2021. Microsoft also notes that there’s a new TikTok app optimized for the Duo, and first-party app improvements are underway.
  • HMD Nokia phones (US)
    HMD launches an online storefront for the United States, with phones ranging in price from $69 to $700. They all come with 3 years of security updates.
  • Farewell, Periscope [Twitter/Periscope]
    Twitter is killing off its standalone Periscope live streaming mobile app in March, 2021. I’m trying to resist the urge to make a down periscope joke, but I’m sure we’ll see a million of them today.
  • PineBook to PineBook Pro upgrade kit is on hold (for now at least) [Pine64]
    Pine64’s December update includes the latest news on hardware and software related to the PinePhone Linux smartphone, PineTime smartwatch, and PineBook Linux laptops, among other things. One bit of unfortunate news? Plans to release an upgrade kit that lets you replace the motherboard in a PineBook to turn it into a PineBook pro is on hold. It could still happen, but certainly not by the end of 2020, as originally hoped.
  • PinePhone keyboard and wireless charging add-ons are on the way [Linux Smartphones]
    Also included in that update? More details about two upcoming PinePhone accessories — a wireless charging cover and a physical keyboard.

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  1. Hi Brad, you have to click on the google buys neverware piece to get to the tech news round up maybe have its better on the front.
    Google buying neverware is a disaster. Clearly they are doing to shut down open alternatives to their own platform. A shame. They presumably want to make it as effectively closed as android.

    1. I agree that it isn’t ideal. Google is clearly trying to gain as much control over the future of Chrome OS’s fragmentation as possible. They probably afraid of a future where a significant amount of Chrome OS’s market share is made up of Chromium OS installs, which could fragment their ability to keep Chrome OS a more closely curated experience.

      For example, if they made the decision to transition Chrome OS off the Linux kernel, onto their Fuchsia kernel, it would be easy if 99% of the Chrome OS landscape is make up of official Chrome OS installs. If 10% of the Chrome OS devices are running a variety of different Chromium OS builds, it gets more tricky for them.

      Theories aside, it’s just more evidence that Google’s open source initiatives are just a facade, and they don’t actually want open source being used.

      1. I absolutely agree they will jump to fuschia. If MS are going to run android apps in windows like apple apps with arm ios what do they have left? Plus arguing in court atm that APIs aren’t copyrightable. As a stuck android developer more interested in $ than fresh platforms I can’t jump ship soon enough. MS will have Xamarin for devs and Android on the desktop plus a version of MS Android probably on the way, and Google search facing break up as a monopoly. Path will be fuschia running android apps but hey Flutter is smoother, but by that time I think devs will prefer compatibility with MS desktop.
        Interesting times!

      2. But Chromium OS in and of itself without the Google things is pretty useless, according to people who wanted to make it happen:

        https://www.nexedi.com/NXD-Document.Blog.E.Phone.As.Desktop

        Android on the desktop should be much more useful and interesting than naked Chromium OS.

        That said, I disagree with your main argument and find the discussions around this news piece more plausible that argue about Google simply wants to put Chrome OS on aging hardware in school districts and the enterprise competing with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10X, which is supposed to be Redmond’s answer and direct competitor to Chrome OS.