Even if this year's CES has finally come to a close, people are still continuously buzzing about Samsung's new Chromebooks, named the Plus and the Pro, and for good reason: Samsung and Google's collaborative effort is being billed as the first products to ship with Google Play Store out of the box.
Google began rolling out support for the Play Store and enabled Android apps to run on its Chrome OS platform in 2016. This year, it seems like the company is even pushing the integration to greater lengths, with reports saying that the company is gearing for an update that will refine the experience, bringing Nougat onboard its platform.
Nougat Integration For Chromebooks
Chrome Unboxed has published several pictures of a pre-release version of Chrome OS depicting Android 7.1 integration. For the record, Android integration on current Chromebooks is based on Marshmallow, Nougat's predecessor, but as it stands, the integration sorely lacks essential features. Nougat could straighten that out.
If the screenshots hover close to what users will actually be getting, there's certainly something noteworthy: multi-window support for Chromebooks. That means users will be able to view apps side-by-side in splitscreen mode. But more importantly, the screenshots suggest that Android apps will run with their individual windows, instead of being displayed as an emulated mobile version of the app. This streamlined Android integration makes sense, given that it would be more fitting for Android apps to change shape in order to perform natively on Chrome OS.
Another improvement is that these apps will continue to run even when not in focus, so users may shift to another app with no fear of the background app halting its process.
These improvements collectively spell an improved desktop experience for Chrome OS in the future, but don't get excited yet. As per Chrome Unboxed, the version of Chrome OS captured on the series of screenshots are still buggy at present, which is acceptable, since the improvements are major step-ups from the current version of Chrome OS. Expect due coverage as the new version develops overtime.
Chrome OS 56 will roll out late January; whether this brings Nougat integration has yet to be determined.
Chromebooks are laptops running Google's Chrome OS platform. They lack several features found on traditional laptops, but are cheaper and more dead-simple to use for users who don't really need power-hungry workstations. While Chromebooks support all Google-branded apps — Gmail, Drive, Docs, Photos and a laundry list of others — it's also slated to support Microsoft Office apps, which for some users could be all they need. Chromebooks present an alluring balance between productivity and simplicity, which is probably why its outselling Macs.
Most recently, a rumored Chromebook called "Eve" could be the first Chromebook to feature a fingerprint scanner. Eve is rumored to come with seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processor and a high-resolution display. Apart from preliminary speculation, not much can be said of Eve; even its manufacturer remains unnamed.
Pumped for the forthcoming Chrome OS update? What improvements do you want to see when it lands? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!