Chromebooks on the Chrome OS Beta Channel have started receiving Android 11, potentially refuting earlier evidence that Google might skip the update. That’s based on a recent report detailing some of the user-side features that could appear in the update. If and when it arrives on the Stable Channel.
This update will both introduce new features and fixes to Chromebooks
Now, prior reports have suggested a slew of updates are on the way to fix problems in the Android implementation on Chromebooks but that wasn’t necessarily linked to Android 11 — beta or otherwise. But there appear to be a few differences on the user front as well with this rollout.
Not least of all, the new Android 11 build — powered by ARCVM — delivers Dark Mode theming. And that’ll work similarly to how it works on Android 11 smartphones but for Chromebooks.
Summarily, with Dark Mode theming in place, apps effectively copy over the dark background already in use in the Quick Settings on Chromebooks. As shown in the pictures, that brings a bit of continuity to the UI between apps and the system-level interfaces. The feature isn’t working on all apps just yet. But the Chrome OS team does still have plenty of time between this Beta release and the Stable Channel release.
The update also introduces a fix to scaling issues, noted in the above-mentioned update speculation. Or, at the very least, something similar to that fix. This update reintroduces uniform scaling. But, unlike the last time that was introduced before being pulled, it seems to work properly this time around.
With the update in place, layouts, fonts, and other interface elements are larger overall. And the changes appear to be properly implemented so that there aren’t any of the bugs seen last time. So now, Android apps should be much easier to use on Chromebooks. What’s more, display scaling can be adjusted in Developer options, for those who don’t like the default settings.
When is this coming?
Of course, since these changes are all still on the Beta Channel and because it’s a slow rollout even on that end, they won’t necessarily be landing soon. Beta receives updates approximately every six weeks and features tend to arrive there more than a month before Stable Channel users see them.
So the earliest this is likely to arrive on most users’ Chromebooks is with Chrome OS 91. And that’s slated for June 1. Although it could also feasibly arrive on April 20 with Chrome 90.