You may or may not know this, but Chromebooks have been stuck on Android 9 for rather a long time. As a matter of reality, we can trace the last major Android update on Chrome OS back to February of 2019. Yes, over 2 years to wait on an Android upgrade is a bit extreme, however Google did make the option to avoid over Android 10 in favor of dealing with Android 11 because this variation of Android has a far better way of dealing with windowed apps. Undoubtedly, on Chromebooks, that’s a quite crucial aspect in how all this works together.
With this update to Android 11 finally getting here in such a way that actual users can attempt it out, it appears like Google is surrounding a couple of big changes to the method Chromebooks deal with Android apps moving on. For now, this just reveals up for users on ‘Hatch’ gadgets (10th-gen Comet Lake processors) in the Beta Channel, however it should present more commonly in the coming weeks. Let’s start with the huge modification under the hood.
ARCVM is lastly a thing
For one, it ought to make repairing Android concerns on Chrome OS much easier moving forward. 2, it likely makes future variations of Android much more compatible with Chrome OS. And 3rd, it finally allows users to sideload applications onto their Chromebooks if they select without putting the Chromebook into Developer Mode. Similar to with Android, you require to allow Developer Mode in the Android settings (tap the construct information a few times in the Android settings) and you are eventually responsible if things go sideways, but dropping downloaded apps on your Chromebook no longer requires the user to put the Chromebook itself in Developer Mode and this implies things are far more secure than before when sideloading Android apps. And far easier, too.
ARCVM was spotted quite some time ago and we’ve been seriously talking its execution for over a year at this point. We’ve known that ultimately Google would replace the old ARC++ container with a tech much more similar to what they are finishing with Linux apps, Windows apps, and Steam games (coming soon, hopefully): we simply didn’t know exactly when the huge change would happen. As we’ve been seeing indications of Google leading the way for Android 12 on Chrome OS, it was at first rumored that Google was going to once again avoid the present variation of Android in favor of the next. We never bought into that concept, and I’m thankful it wasn’t precise, since Google’s repairs for Android apps this time around are going to actually motivate a far broader use of them.
If you’ve not encounter ARCVM here on Chrome Unboxed before, let me rapidly discuss this one. Today, nearly all Chromebooks run Android apps in a container called ARC++ (Android Runtime Container). This container was the early adjustment of what Google is now much more proficient at with Chrome OS: containers of all sizes and shapes. When Android apps were first released, they built the ARC++ container and it worked well enough to state Chromebooks ran Android apps, however future work on things like Crostini (Linux containers), Parallels (Windows by means of PluginVM containers) and ongoing work for Borealis (Steam via customized containers) have plainly made Google rethink how we need to get Android apps onto Chromebooks.
With Android 11 in place on the most recent Chrome OS 90 Beta construct, it was likewise found by Android Police’s Kent Duke that not only is this an upgrade to Android, ARCVM is the container running it. The screenshot of the build information from my Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a bit absurd to consist of, here, but you can hit this link to really see the referral in the text if you require additional proof. The Android apps I’m operating on this Chromebook are in the new container and though I’m not truly seeing any difference in efficiency– excellent or bad– this is an essential relocation as Chrome OS and Android continue to integrate more tightly.
App scaling is fixed this time
on your Chromebook. It simply feels a lot more in the house, now. Dark mode for Android apps is here, too As Chrome OS gets closer and closer to seeing system-wide dark and light themes show up, it appears like Android 11 will be up for the obstacle, too. Though not allowed out of the box, in the Developer settings of Android 11 on your Chromebook you can put your device into Dark Mode with the flip of a switch. When you do so, apps will handle the dark theme they’ve been assigned similar to they do on your phone. Till Chrome OS lastly gets the system-wide dark and light themes in place, nevertheless, this won’t be very efficient for most users as-is. Here are a couple of shots of it in action, though:
For now, that’s about it with Android 11. I’m investing a bargain of time with it today and we’ll likely put out a video explaining how to get all this running and include other tidbits we find along the way, however it is safe to state that this is the most advantageous end user update for Android apps on Chrome OS that we’ve seen so far. As a person who tends towards web apps for practically everything, it is a big offer when I really desire to experiment with Android apps again. For years they’ve been there as an added bonus offer, however it really feels like these newest changes get Android apps more detailed to being top-notch passengers on the Chromebook train.
For now, that’s about it with Android 11.
With this upgrade to Android 11 lastly showing up in a method that real users can attempt it out, it looks like Google is closing in on a few huge modifications to the way Chromebooks manage Android apps moving forward. Now, nearly all Chromebooks run Android apps in a container called ARC++ (Android Runtime Container). For one, it ought to make repairing Android concerns on Chrome OS easier moving forward. Either method, uniform scaling is here, controllable (in the Developer settings for Android), and it makes Android apps on Chromebooks feel so much more at home. Here are a few shots of it in action, though: