[Update: Coming to Chrome 66] Chrome OS Split Screen Mode will Soon Work with Android Apps Too
Chrome OS has evolved in recent years, transforming from a glorified web portal into a fully-fledged operating system. Some of its features, such as Chrome Apps, are being phased out in favor of Progressive Web Apps (PWA), but Chrome OS continues to receive a lot of love from the Mountain View tech giant. It’s increasingly being integrated with Android, and unsurprisingly, a new commit this week in the Chromium Gerrit implies that Android applications might work with Chrome OS’s split-screen feature in the future.
The new commit suggests that Chrome OS will allow you use Android applications in split-screen mode. Since the apps will work simultaneously without pausing when you switch from one to another, it would enable the sort of productivity multi-tasking that the platform so badly needs.
The origin of commit is a combination of two features that came to Chrome OS fairly recently.
In November 2017, Chrome OS gained an experimental feature that enables split-screen functionality when a convertible Chrome OS laptop is in tablet mode. It’s more or less the same as the split-screen mode Android has had since Nougat, and it works pretty well.
Several years ago, we first learned how Android applications would work on Chrome OS. That early preview grew into Chrome OS’s current-day support for Android apps, but the implementation has its limitations. Google has addressed a few of them, though — Chrome OS 64 beta finally allowed multiple Android applications run at the same time side-by-side.
With a split-screen mode and support for simultaneously active Android apps now in Chrome OS, it makes sense that Google would combine the two together to bring true Android app multitasking to the operating system. It’s all the more plausible when you consider that split-screen support is already baked into a lot of Android applications.