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photo: Google

My $1,449 Chromebook Pixel just got a little more useful and so did the $299 Acer Chromebook C720P. The latest Stable channel software update adds support for pinch-to-zoom in Chrome OS. That means any touchscreen Chromebook now has the feature. Previously, pinch-to-zoom was available on developer and beta channels, but the user had to enable the feature in a hidden setting. Now, it’s on by default and makes the overall browsing experience a little better. This function, along with the recent addition of handwriting recognition could make for a nice Chrome OS tablet, particularly if it came with a docking keyboard, no?

In Brief

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Not that we needed yet another data-point explaining why China is such an important mobile market or anything but Reuters is happy to provide one. On Monday, it reported that for the first time ever, more people in China access the web on a mobile device as opposed to a PC. The data comes from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) and says that of the 632 million internet users in China, 83 percent (527 million) used a phone or tablet to do so. That compares with 81 percent of the connected population accessing the web through a PC, with some overlap between the two of course.

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In Brief

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Chromebooks in the education market are clearly picking up steam. Earlier this week, Dell said it was temporarily discontinuing direct Chromebook 11 sales to individuals because it can’t keep up with demand from commercial channels for the education-focused laptop. On Friday, Google reported one million Chromebook sales to schools in the second quarter of 2014. Along with the stat, Google published a blog post from David Andrade, the CIO for the Bridgeport Public Schools district explaining why he chose Chromebooks for the 23,000 student district in Connecticut. Among the reasons: “affordability and easy maintenance”; something we’ve suggested on the Chrome Show podcast time and time again.

In Brief

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Good news for the people who have Hue lights and are sick of opening an app to turn them on. The Hue tap remote control that lets you press a button to control your Hue lights, hit the Apple store a bit ahead of schedule. The device costs $59.95 and I’m eager to try it out to see if it helps me keep my phone in my pocket. The tap is powered by pressing any one of the four buttons, which let you program four different scenes.

In Brief

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Amid 18,000 job cuts and the elimination of Android-powered handsets, Microsoft is also putting two other Nokia product-lines out to pasture. The Verge received an internal memo written by Microsoft’s Jo Harlow, who leads the new Smart Devices and Mobile Phones group, with the news: Nokia’s Series 40 and Asha handsets will be no more, with both products joining the Nokia X Android phone in an 18-month maintenance mode. That means the low-cost handset market will become more important for Windows Phone as that’s where these products are aimed: $50 or less. The company isn’t out of top-drawer handset ideas though: The memo says to watch for “other high-end products that we will be announcing very soon.”

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