[Update: Merged] Chrome OS bug causing websites to show mobile layouts in tablet mode to be fixed
Google’s tablet plans started back in 2011 with Android Honeycomb, which brought a new UI designed specifically for large screen devices. However, with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google moved back to a unified layout. With the slow demise of tablets in general, Google simply abandoned all efforts on the Android end. On a different tangent, Chrome OS was picking up in popularity as the OS of choice for laptops. And with laptops also moving towards touchscreens and convertible designs, it made more sense for Google to refocus Chrome OS to fill in the boots as a tablet OS.
Chrome OS evolved slowly from a browser-based desktop OS to a more touch-optimized OS in anticipation of changes to the hardware market. Features like a touch-friendly launcher, Google Assistant, lock screen notifications, floating keyboard, and split-screen mode helped the OS perform well on Chromebooks with touchscreens. With the launch of the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, Chrome OS finally ran in a 100% touchscreen environment, as this was the first Chrome OS tablet, meaning that the smooth functioning of a tablet-mode was definitely a key priority now.
Chrome OS is still an evolving and maturing OS. A bug in the OS caused websites to show mobile layouts while in tablet mode, canceling out the advantages of larger screen real estate. After switching to tablet mode, some websites would suddenly be zoomed in more than necessary, and also have layout changes resembling one that is optimized for smaller touchscreen devices.
Here is a video from the bug tracker demonstrating this issue:
This bug that causes websites to show mobile layouts in tablet mode is in the process of being fixed.
Adjust page mobile-like behavior in tablet mode
This prevents using the mobile-viewport and the Android-style scrollbars for pages in tablet mode.
This gives a better UX on tablets and prevents unexpected page layout changes when switching to tablet mode.
You should expect websites to retain their desktop styles in tablet mode, which will appear to be more seamless and useful than a sudden change to the mobile layout. This change will go live once it is merged and a new update to Chrome OS rolls out, starting in the Canary channel.
Update: The commit for this fix is now merged. You can expect to see this change in the Canary builds soon.
Source: Chromium Gerrit