As a matter of truth, we can trace the last major Android upgrade on Chrome OS back to February of 2019. Yes, over two years to wait on an Android update is a bit excessive, however Google did make the choice to avoid over Android 10 in favor of working on Android 11 given that this version of Android has a far much better method of dealing with windowed apps.
With this update to Android 11 lastly getting here in a manner that actual users can try it out, it looks like Google is closing in on a couple of huge modifications to the method Chromebooks deal with Android apps moving forward. In the meantime, this only shows up for users on Hatch devices (10th-gen Comet Lake processors) in the Beta Channel, but it must roll out more widely in the coming weeks. Lets begin with the big change under the hood.
ARCVM is finally a thing
As weve been seeing signs of Google paving the method for Android 12 on Chrome OS, it was at first rumored that Google was going to again skip the present variation of Android in favor of the next. We never purchased into that concept, and Im pleased it wasnt precise, since Googles fixes for Android apps this time around are going to actually encourage a far broader use of them.
With Android 11 in location on the current Chrome OS 90 Beta construct, it was also spotted by Android Polices Kent Duke that not only is this an upgrade to Android, ARCVM is the container running it. The screenshot of the construct details from my Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a bit ludicrous to consist of, here, but you can hit this link to really see the referral in the text if you require more evidence. The Android apps Im running on this Chromebook remain in the new container and though Im not truly seeing any distinction in performance– excellent or bad– this is a crucial move as Chrome OS and Android continue to incorporate more firmly.
For one, it needs to make repairing Android concerns on Chrome OS simpler moving on. Two, it likely makes future variations of Android far more compatible with Chrome OS. And 3rd, it lastly enables users to sideload applications onto their Chromebooks if they choose without putting the Chromebook into Developer Mode. Just like with Android, you require to allow Developer Mode in the Android settings (tap the build details a couple of times in the Android settings) and you are ultimately accountable if things go sideways, however dropping downloaded apps on your Chromebook no longer requires the user to put the Chromebook itself in Developer Mode and this indicates things are far more safe and secure than before when sideloading Android apps. And far simpler, too.
Now, nearly all Chromebooks run Android apps in a container called ARC++ (Android Runtime Container). When Android apps were very first launched, they developed the ARC++ container and it worked well adequate to state Chromebooks ran Android apps, however future work on things like Crostini (Linux containers), Parallels (Windows through PluginVM containers) and continuous work for Borealis (Steam via custom-made containers) have plainly made Google reassess how we need to get Android apps onto Chromebooks.
App scaling is fixed this time
Google tried to put consistent app scaling in place back in October of in 2015, however things went awry. The modification triggered all sorts of problems and in the end, Google ended up pulling the update and holding back previously. I d think the scaling concerns are far simpler to adjust in ARCVM versus ACR++, however thats merely a guess at this point. In any case, consistent scaling is here, manageable (in the Developer settings for Android), and it makes Android apps on Chromebooks feel so much more in your home. Gone are the days of tiny text, odd menus, and under-sized elements on the screen. Instead, Android apps feel exceptionally native now and I need to state I absolutely like this modification. I imply, take an appearance at how completely the text and menus of the Squid app now match the system-level stuff in Chrome OS and just how much more native YouTube Music looks compared to the web variation.
Squid is an excellent example of proper app scaling in action
YouTube Music online and on Android
Apps like Gmail, Google Photos and Netflix feel so much less out of place on my Chromebook now with these modifications, and I enjoy the concept that I might really begin using particular Android variations of applications here and there. Mainly, however, Im delighted for all the brand-new users pertaining to Chromebooks for the first time that will get to experience a far better variation of Android on Chrome OS. Will there still be hiccups with apps occasionally? Sure! At least when you introduce a new app you want to attempt, you wont be painfully reminded of the bolted-on nature of Android on your Chromebook. It just feels a lot more in the house, now.
Dark mode for Android apps is here, too
Yes, over two years to wait on an Android update is a bit extreme, however Google did make the choice to skip over Android 10 in favor of working on Android 11 since this version of Android has a far much better way of dealing with windowed apps. When Android apps were very first introduced, they built the ARC++ container and it worked well sufficient to say Chromebooks ran Android apps, but future work on things like Crostini (Linux containers), Parallels (Windows by means of PluginVM containers) and ongoing work for Borealis (Steam by means of custom-made containers) have plainly made Google reconsider how we should get Android apps onto Chromebooks.
With Android 11 in location on the latest Chrome OS 90 Beta develop, it was also identified by Android Polices Kent Duke that not just is this an upgrade to Android, ARCVM is the container running it. The Android apps Im running on this Chromebook are in the new container and though Im not actually seeing any difference in performance– good or bad– this is a crucial relocation as Chrome OS and Android continue to incorporate more securely.
As Chrome OS gets closer and closer to seeing system-wide dark and light styles show up, it looks like Android 11 will be up for the difficulty, too. Not made it possible for out of the box, in the Developer settings of Android 11 on your Chromebook you can put your gadget into Dark Mode with the flip of a switch.
For now, thats about it with Android 11. Im spending a bargain of time with it right now and well likely put out a video discussing how to get all this running and consist of other tidbits we find along the method, however it is safe to state that this is the most beneficial end user update for Android apps on Chrome OS that weve seen up until now. As a guy who tends towards web apps for simply about whatever, it is a huge offer when I in fact wish to check out Android apps once again. For years theyve existed as an included perk, however it truly feels like these newest modifications get Android apps closer to being top-notch guests on the Chromebook train.
Just like with Android, you need to make it possible for Developer Mode in the Android settings (tap the build information a few times in the Android settings) and you are eventually responsible if things go sideways, however dropping downloaded apps on your Chromebook no longer needs the user to put the Chromebook itself in Developer Mode and this indicates things are far more safe than prior to when sideloading Android apps.