Android apps on Chromebooks continues its slow march but has started entering into a second phase of sorts. While support in general continues to new Chrome OS devices, those that already have the support are starting to see an update to Android Nougat 7.1.1.
If you recall, when Android apps started rolling out to Chrome OS, it was based on Android Marshmallow. It worked well but you didn’t have the benefits like split-screen natively as you do in Nougat. Now devices which have had the ability to run Android apps are starting to see an update to Nougat.
In the Stable channel, there are three Chromebooks that are supporting Android Apps, based on Android Nougat 7.1.1:
- Lenovo Chromebook Flex 11
- Samsung Chromebook Pro
- Acer Chromebook R 13
Keen followers of Chrome OS will know that these devices have had the ability to run Android apps for a while, in the case of the Samsung Chromebook Pro, since its release. This update to their stable builds of Chrome OS will bring the Nougat update.
Coupled with this, four more Chromebooks are now testing the new Nougat Framework in the Beta channel. Those devices are:
- Google Chromebook Pixel (2015)
- Acer Chromebook 14
- Dell Chromebook 13
- Samsung Chromebook Plus
In the case of the Pixel and Samsung Chromebook Plus, they are truly updating to Nougat while for the Acer Chromebook 14 and Dell Chromebook 13, this update brings Android app support for the first time.
As an Acer Chromebook 14 user, I can’t tell you how happy I am to finally see support, even if it is in the Beta channel.
For those of you who want to switch to the Beta channel, you can do that by going to chrome://help in the browser, clicking on About Chrome OS then clicking on Detailed Build Information and from there you can change your channel. This will power wash your Chromebook so be sure if you happen to have any data on your device that you back it up.
Also, the hint is in the name. This is the Beta channel so you could run into an odd bug or two.
How long these latter four devices will stay in the Beta channel for Android support is not known but if history is any indicator, it won’t be long. Most of the time it is 2-3 builds (2-3 months).