If you are a Chromebook users that uses Android apps, Chrome 64 is likely going to bring you some very good news. The beta of that train is out and in it, Android apps continue to run when they are in the background. Currently the apps will pause (with a few exceptions) when they are no longer the focus app on your Chromebook. That is, if you move from one app to another or from an app to a web-based app in Chrome, the app will pause.
Chrome 64 addresses this primarily through an update to the Android Framework running in Chrome OS. Way back in March, I posted that this framework would be upgraded from Android Marshmallow to Android Nougat. It was in Chrome 61 but it didn’t work well as apps continued to pause in the background. With Chrome 64, the framework is updated to Android Oreo and, based on early beta testing, is able to handle multiple Android apps running at the same time without pausing them when they are not the primary focus app.
Ultimately what this means for end users is that you will be able to use Android apps on your Chromebook without things pausing on you when you switch to another app. This will significantly improve productivity and could well lead users to adopt more Android apps as their primary apps over web-based apps.
While the improvement to this feature is in the Chrome 64 beta, there is still a chance it won’t make the cut to the Stable channel when it is released in January or February. If it proves to be problematic or unstable, the Chrome tea within Google could delay its release and keep in the the Chrome 65 or beyond beta.
The good news is that Google is working on improving this important feature for Chromebook users.