Android Apps Getting Extended Desktop Support On Chromebooks

September 5, 2017 - Written By Bojan Jovanovic

Users of Chromebook devices connected to external monitors are finally getting support for Android apps when in extended desktop mode, as Google is working on more native behavior of apps in Chrome OS. Those apps will no longer stay locked to the primary display and now behave as any other window, letting users reposition them anywhere on the main screen or their additional monitors. Also, the system will remember the position of the apps so, if the app was on the extended display before it was closed, reopening it will place it on the extended display instead of the main display of the Chromebook. Similar to that, the apps will open on the display from where their respective shelf was positioned instead of users having to rearrange everything once launched. This last change addresses both native Chrome and Android apps.

Last year, newer Chromebook models got an update that came with the support to launch almost any Android app on any model of Chromebook (the touchscreen apps still require the laptop to be touchscreen-enabled). Unfortunately for users, especially the folks who connect their Chromebooks to additional screens, Google didn’t make sure that the daily use of Android apps feels native to the Chrome OS. Apps would open on the main display of the device, taking over the whole screen, and only after the Android 7.0 Nougat update arrived, it allowed users to launch them in phone orientation and to be resized. At that time, apps still couldn’t be launched on the extended display or be freely moved to your larger screen, which some consumers consider to be an essential quality-of-life feature, and Google is finally looking to implement it. So far, users had to open Developer Options for Android to force resizing of windows and set their apps to open in windowed or fullscreen mode.

Small steps Google is taking for Android apps on Chromebooks are finally bringing the usability of Chromebooks to a higher level. Pushing the system to work with extended displays akin to Windows and OSX, bringing Android Nougat to more Chromebook devices and having a more user-friendly experience of using Android apps are great ways of letting Chromebook users know they’re not neglected by the tech giant. Android apps are still in beta on Chromebooks, so glitches and bugs are to be expected even with the latest update.