Google is already working to bake Android 11 into its desktop Chrome OS platform for some devices, beginning with the Android 11 Developer Preview 1 build. That's based on Chrome OS source code recently spotted by 9to5Google.
The project centers around the name "eve-arc-r" in the source code. The "arc" designation is known to be representative of Android Runtime for Chrome. From that, it follows that "r" is representative of Android 11.
Google no longer assigns its mobile OS with treat names such as Oreo or Pie due to alphabetical language barriers. It's gotten rid of the letter designations for the same reason. But Android "R" would follow the previous version, Android "Q," that Android 10 would have been if it had continued that convention.
Which devices could this point to?
Now, the naming convention associated with the project in the Chrome OS source code gives away at least a few details. Namely, the "eve" in the designation undoubtedly refers back to Google's Pixelbook devices. So the search giant is, at very least, testing the build on that run of Chromebooks.
While it's hardly surprising that Google would test a new implementation of Android 11 first on its own devices, that's not the only device referred to. The code also points to "Hatch" and "Kukui." Both are effectively already well-known boards. Hatch underpins Chromebooks that have been built on Intel's 10th Gen processors. Kukui refers to Chromebooks built on the Mediatek MT8183 processor.
That indirectly points to the latest run of devices including Samsung's Galaxy Chromebook for the former codename. Lenovo's upcoming detachable, the IdeaPad Duet, falls under the arch of the second codename.
The implication is that at least these two Chrome OS devices are already undergoing some form of testing with the initial Developer Preview of Android 11. It's more than likely that others will follow suit, built on the same underlying hardware platforms, as the year progresses.
Is there a timeline for the rollout of Android 11 to Chrome OS?
As noted above, Google's own Pixel-branded devices will almost certainly be among the first that receive Android 11. That's if Google chooses to officially bump the version on Chrome OS to Android 11, to begin with. Samsung's Galaxy Chromebook and Lenovo's IdeaPad Duet seem likely candidates too. As do any other gadgets that happen to be built around the same hardware.
That said, this won't necessarily be a quick rollout. As noted with last year's bump from Android Nougat to Android Oreo, Chromebooks tend to receive new versions of Android slowly. In fact, it wasn't until around Chrome OS 72 that Android 9 officially started landing on a wider spread of devices. That part of the OS update summarily arrived in batches.
The same trend is likely to continue if Google does bump Chrome OS's Android implementation to Android 11. More importantly, Android 11 isn't likely to be finalized until much later this year. So it may not be until well into 2021 before that officially starts impacting the majority of Chrome OS users.
Conversely, since Google also started working with Android 10 in Chrome OS before abandoning it outright, the company may not ever implement Android 11, to begin with. It isn't immediately clear which features from Android 11 would make their way over to Chromebooks either.