Google is finally ready to launch its Chrome browser for Android in a 64-bit configuration, reports indicate. The updated version of the app can currently be seen in the Dev and Canary Channel for Chrome. Those are presently on version Chrome 85 and Chrome 86, respectively.
That means users on Android can download those versions and access the new app now. Albeit, with caveats associated with the fact that the browsers are experimental beta versions, complete with bugs. Regardless, it appears as though the 64-bit version of Chrome for Android will arrive this year.
What does it matter if Chrome for Android is 64-bit?
There are several benefits when it comes to 64-bit apps, compared to their 32-bit counterparts. But the biggest one is going to be directly linked to the steady progression of smartphones over the past couple of years. Namely, that's improvements to the available RAM.
Even in the budget end, and even outside of what could be called the "best" budget-friendly gadgets, 4GB RAM is no longer unheard of. In fact, neither is 6GB RAM. It won't be too long before 8GB of RAM is the standard, following on the rapid progression of the technology underpinning everything.
32-bit applications can only really access up to 4GB of memory. And that's only if no other applications are running in the memory. So, even on devices with 8GB of RAM or more, Chrome can't utilize the RAM to its full potential. 64-bit applications, by contrast, can use more RAM than even the most modern workstation PCs pack. And that's going to remain the case for quite some time since the total maximum amount is well outside the realm of affordability or practicality.
Now, there are plenty of memes and serious complaints about how Chrome on desktop absorbs extra RAM. One of the most common complaints about Chrome is, in fact, that it's a serious memory hog. Summarily, that tends to slow the whole system down. But that's not necessarily going to be the case with Android since most other apps don't require all that much RAM.
Android is also built by Google. So, like Chrome OS, it should be well optimized to take advantage of the change without adverse impact.
This should simply serve, overall, as a significant performance booster for the app. Particularly on devices with 8GB RAM or more.
When exactly will this arrive and for who?
As alluded to above, the current iteration 64-bit Chrome for Android appears in is version 85. That's planned to hit the Stable Channel on August 25. It's also present in testing channels for Chrome 86. But it does appear to be limited by the Android version a device is running too. Specifically, it seems to be slated only for devices running Android 10 or newer.
So, at least to start, this is going to only be available in a limited capacity. But that shouldn't remain the case forever either. Google's Play Store policies dictate that all Android apps need to support 64-bit versions before August 2021. Since Android 5.0 Lollipop and newer devices support 64-bit and most phones use 64-bit processors, that should mean it will hit every user eventually.