Chrome OS is getting a host of new features with the purpose of pushing more developers toward Chromebooks for Android apps.
Most of the features announced at Google I/O are coming with the Chrome OS 69 update, which is slated for release in mid-September.
Gboard Keyboard Support
The Gboard app for Android is coming to Chrome OS, which is good news since the app works better than the standard keyboard of the OS. It has better text prediction and has more emoji and GIFs, which should make the experience more fun for users.
A picture-in-picture feature should also come soon but not for Android apps. This will let users pop out a video from Google Chrome into a separate window, which is a long-awaited feature as other browsers already have it.
Android App Shortcuts
The app shortcuts on Chrome OS will work the same way it works on Android. Depending on the app, it will show different options when long-pressing it. The options will appear alongside the existing options on Chrome OS, such as pin to shelf, close, and more when users right-click the app.
Android apps on Chrome OS will now allow the dragging of files from a Chrome window while also providing the option to bring over the metadata as well.
Lower Latency Inking
Pen latency on Chrome OS is not exactly that great, so Google is taking steps to fix that problem. The company is adding an Ink Overlay that app developers can use for a lower latency. While the standard low-latency pens are at around 100ms, Google plans to bring it down to almost zero by using machine learning prediction coupled with some software tweaks.
Android Studio Updates
Android Studio will also be able to run a Chrome OS emulator, which would make it handy for developers using Mac or Windows to create apps. The desktop emulator would allow them to test their apps in a Chrome OS environment.
Android Studio should also run on Pixelbook as a result of getting support for Linux apps. This, along with the 75 percent discount announced at Google I/O, makes Pixelbook attractive for developers.
SD Card Support
Chromebooks have microSD card slots, but Android apps seem to ignore it. That will change with the Chrome OS 69 update, which should enable SD card support for Android apps. For now, however, a screenshot only reveals it to be read-only.