Chrome OS Developer Channel Now has a Flag to Enable Split Screen in Tablet Mode

Chrome OS Developer Channel Now has a Flag to Enable Split Screen in Tablet Mode

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Google’s Android and Chrome OS are intended for different form factors and have different use cases, but in recent times, their functionality has started to overlap. At one time, Google had put its energy and resources into ensuring that Android was a great tablet operating system, but the effort failed. So even though Android gained features such as split screen support in Nougat, the platform is effectively dying on tablets. Google now seemingly intends that Chrome OS should take up the job once done by Android.

To that end, Chrome OS needs to have feature parity with Android with respect to touchscreens. In the last few years, we’ve seen many manufacturers release Chromebook convertibles with touchscreen displays. To adopt for such a use case, Google added tablet mode to Chrome OS, which made the operating system easier to use on touchscreens. The company has also been working on adding new features and porting others from Android, which already is a touch-first OS.

Recently, we reported that Chrome OS is adding support for a floating keyboard, although that feature hasn’t made its way to the stable channel yet. One more thing which the operating system has been lacking up till now is split screen functionality in tablet mode. Right now, every app runs in full screen, which makes the functionality in tablet mode inferior to Windows, iOS, and even Android.

A few months back, users discovered that Chrome OS had gained a preview of split screen in tablet mode, but it was broken and could only be used in developer mode. Now, the feature is a step closer to arriving on the stable channel, as it is now available via a flag in the developer channel of Chrome OS.

On convertible devices like the Google Pixelbook, users can try split screen in Dev Channel by enabling the experimental “Split view in Tablet mode” flag at chrome://flags/#enable-tablet-splitview. After activating split screen, users can tap its icon on the bottom right corner of their device to show all active windows and snap them in the highlighted areas.

Mr. François Beaufort from Google through his Google+ post notes that some Android apps don’t support snapping. Therefore, they will not work with split screen. At this point, users can expect that Android apps will not work with this feature in a refined manner. The feature is still in its early days for it, so it will take some time for split screen to arrive first as a flag in the stable channel of Chrome OS, and then (eventually) be activated by default for all users.

Source: François Beaufort on Google+