Chromebooks Updated With Android MTP and Better Touchscreen Support

October 7, 2014 - Written By David Steele

Chromebooks are a great platform for those of us who don’t especially care about what trickery goes on under the skin but just want (or need) to use a computer for lightweight computing duties. When it comes to my writing, I’m absolutely in this camp and many of the staff writers and editors here at Android Headlines also own a Chromebook. They’re fast, stable, portable, cheap and work beautifully within Google’s infrastructure. Chromebooks are a well supported product from Google; models will continue to receive updates for five years since launch. That’s over three years longer than Google’s guidelines for your Android device, which means your inexpensive writers’ notebook should still be running secure firmware for a while yet. These by themselves are reasons why we occasionally cover Chromebooks and Chrome OS plus Google are working to bring the two platforms closer (but not together as Jeremiah recently reported). We already know that Android applications are going to be ported to Chrome OS and have seen some activity here already.

Chrome OS does have features for those of us who want to experiment with the platform, though. There are three channels of ChromeOS: Stable, Beta and Development. Most people use the default stable channel (and may not even know that there are other channels available). This receives updates every few weeks after they’ve been through extensive testing. The Beta and Development channels receive more frequent updates at least a month before the Stable channel receives them, so we’ve had a heads up about a couple of new features that will make working between an Android and Chrome OS devices easier. They’ve today been released to the Stable Chromebook platform, which now sits at veriosn 38.0.2125.101 and platform version 6158.49.0) for all Chrome OS devices except Chromeboxes.

The two main updates as far as our Android world goes are MTP support and enhanced touch screen accessibility and functionality. MTP support means that we can plug our Android devices and get access to files from it whereas the improvements to touch screen functionality will make it a better platform for when more Android apps reach it. I’m especially pleased to see MTP support as there are times when my WiFi is too slow or unreliable to transfer several files from my Android device to or from my Chromebook. My Chromebook doesn’t have a touchscreen so from a personal perspective I’m not so excited to see improvements in this respect, but my next Chromebook is likely to have more bells, whistles including a touchscreen.