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Chrome OS gets split-screen mode on Canary channel

A sneak peak at split-screen for Android apps on Chrome OS. (Source: 9to5 Google)
A sneak peak at split-screen for Android apps on Chrome OS. (Source: 9to5 Google)
Google is priming Chrome OS to compete directly with Apple's iPad in the tablet space, if the latest update to the Chrome OS on its alpha build Canary channel is any indication. The latest update allows users to run Android apps in split-screen, greatly enhancing the utility of the operating system.

Chrome OS users who are subscribed to Google’s bleeding-edge Canary channel have received the ability to run Android apps in split screen in the latest update. Users can also run Chrome OS windows side-by-side with Android apps as well, greatly enhancing the overall functionality of the operating system. The Canary channel is targeted at developers as the build are only in the alpha stage and are relatively unstable, but the channel is open to any user wanting to try the very latest features early.

Although no official announcement has been made by Google with regard to its tablet efforts on Android, the lack of an official Google-branded tablet running Android suggests that the company has shifted its focus elsewhere. The arrival of split-screen support for Android apps on Chrome now gives us a pretty clear picture of exactly where those efforts now appear to be focused.

If there is an advantage to focusing on Chrome OS instead of Android when it comes to tablets, is that Chrome OS is much better suited to the popular 2-in-1 form factor like Google's own Pixelbook. With Android app support now available on Chrome OS and the first dedicated Chrome OS tablets on the horizon, it is clear that Google hasn’t given up on the tablet-only form factor, but looks to be putting in place a platform to help it compete with Apple’s iPad on a more even footing.


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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2018-02-21 (Update: 2018-02-21)