It has been three weeks and two days since Google formally announced the arrival of Chrome OS 90 and in that time, we’ve talked a good bit about this update, what’s in it, what flags are safe to use with it, and the fact that it has been MIA for a very specific, very important group of Chromebooks. That main group is known internally as the ‘Hatch’ family of devices (10th-gen Comet Lake Chromebooks) and until late yesterday, that entire group had been excluded from the latest Chrome OS update.
First up, the most important takeaway here is the fact that you should be able to check for the update and take it right now (Settings -> About Chrome OS -> Check for updates) regardless of your device. We did find that one particular AMD Ryzen 5 device that is still stuck on M89, but that is a review unit and we’re looking into the details for it. Other than that one caveat, every device we have in the office right now is updating to Chrome OS 90.
Second up, my theory on why the update was stalled looks to be partially correct. The HP Elite c1030 I’m typing this on right now not only just updated to Chrome OS 90, but also came packing Android 11 and the new ARCVM container. The Acer Spin 713 and Lenovo Flex 5 also took the update that included Android 11, but devices like the Dell Latitude 7400 (both the clamshell and convertible) didn’t get the new Android container yet. While the list is long for the devices slated to get Android 11 and ARCVM soon, perhaps only the devices that were initially tested will be getting this treatment for now. Your mileage may vary.
The biggest upgrade right now for Android 11 on Chromebooks is the app scaling. This fix makes Android apps look far more native and feel more usable on Chromebooks, and I’m excited to see more devices get this update soon. Aside from Android 11, however, Chrome OS 90 also comes with Live Captions, the new Diagnostics App, Window Naming and the new Scanner app, so there’s plenty to enjoy even if your version of Android is still stuck at 9. Oddly enough, this update comes a bit past the midway point of our wait between Chrome OS 90 and 91, so enjoy your update for a bit and start looking forward to what Chrome OS 91 will bring to the table.