Google’s Chrome browser for Android will soon support tab moving for multi-display devices, based on a recently spotted change in the Chromium Gerrit. As is implied, the change will allow Android users to manage the movement of Chrome tabs between multiple displays.
While support for multi-display devices got its start back in 2018 with the ZTE Axon-M, the feature appears to be in early stages. Summarily, the code that was added most recently sets a couple of parameters for use, aside from fixing some feature typos. Now, when a secondary display is disconnected, the split usage is brought to a close. The tabs will then be merged back into a single Chrome instance.
Googlers are currently working on it under a temporary experimental flag found at the ‘chrome://flags’ URL. Specifically, that’s a flag dubbed Multiple Display and found at the hashtag #android-multiple-display. The description for that indicates that when it is set to “Enabled,” tabs can be “moved to the secondary display.”
Why is multi-display tab moving in Chrome a big deal?
At first glance, the change in question for Chrome seems as though it will primarily support multi-display Android handsets or tablets. For instance, some newer gadgets — such as LG’s upcoming V60 — either pack a second screen by default. Or those have accessories that add a second screen on-demand. With those devices, being able to move a tab or two from screen to screen could prove exceptionally useful.
Conversely, this will also undoubtedly prove useful for Microsoft devices where users are accessing Chrome or Chromium-based Edge too. In particular, the feature might prove invaluable to Microsoft’s upcoming, Android-based Surface Duo phone.
Setting that aside, however, Android device advantages may not be limited to dual-screen handsets at all. It isn’t out of the question that multi-display support could, either at launch or later on, be used with other secondary display panels. That would provide users with better functionality when they attach screen accessories to their smartphones.
That wouldn’t necessarily be limited to devices designed that way. And, if that’s the case, more users would benefit. Specifically, that would be those who require more productivity outside of the arrival of foldable and multi-display devices.
This feature isn’t necessarily set to arrive soon
As noted above, Googlers working on this incoming Chrome change are working under an experimental flag setting. That doesn’t presently appear to be accessible to everybody as of this writing. Not only does that mean the flag is likely to change before it arrives for users on the Canary or Dev channel. It also means it could be some time before the feature arrives, even experimentally.
Of course, that’s in addition to the fact that Chrome updates are currently being slowed in response to the ongoing global health dilemma. Chrome version 81 has only just launched for Google’s Chrome-based laptop operating system. Version 83 will follow, with the company choosing to skip over Chrome 82. But that’s not slated to arrive until May 19.
There’s no guarantee this will be included in that upcoming update either. It could be pushed back to Chrome 84 or later — tentatively scheduled to arrive on July 14.