Chrome OS Split-Screen Feature May Support Android Apps Soon

Google appears to be readying an update to the Chrome OS split-screen functionality first noted to be rolling out to the stable channel of some systems just a few days ago. Most prominently, this update - which is only appearing on the canary channel, for now - seems to finally include support for Android applications in split-screen mode. The previous update had only made it possible to run Chrome OS apps and Google Chrome Web Apps on Chromebooks in a split-screen orientation. That means that users could soon run any application on a Chromebook in that view simultaneously, making the whole experience much more intuitive and more similar to how that functions on Android.

Since the primary update to include split-screen is already in place, it also shouldn't take too long for the feature to make its way to the stable channel. In fact, it would not be surprising for this feature to arrive over the next couple of months with either the update to Chrome OS version 65 or version 66. That's definitely a good thing since, as most will already know, the canary channel is the less stable of the two developer channels available to Chromebook users - while most users are on the default stable channel. Of course, even after it does make its way to the stable channel of the OS, not every application is going to work in split-screen. As with apps on Android smartphones, that's going to depend almost entirely on whether a given app's developer has implemented the appropriate API's to allow it.

Unfortunately, it isn't immediately clear whether this update will still require users to manually activate it through Chrome's advanced flags settings, which is how split-screen currently works. Hopefully, at some point, Google will embed the feature into Chrome OS itself without needing to toggle any experimental settings. With that said, the ability to multitask across both Chrome OS's dedicated applications and Android applications is bound to be useful. That's especially true with consideration for the incoming wave of Chrome OS devices that are either capable of being converted to tablet mode or come with detachable keyboards as part of the their design.

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