It has turned into a busy Friday here at the Chrome Unboxed office and we’re just getting started. We have Chrome OS news spilling over so fast it’s a juggling act just trying to keep it all straight.
In the midst of it all, the Chrome team decided it was time to push out version 67 of Chrome OS. With it came a healthy list of feature updates, many of which will be geared towards the new and upcoming tablet and detachable Chrome devices.
We’ll touch on some of those momentarily but first, here’s the official list of what’s new in Chrome OS 67:
- Android Debug Bridge support over USB in developer mode
- Progressive Web Apps can now be installed as stand-alone apps
- Extend Chrome page zoom to Google Play Apps
- Visual update for ext4 filesystem migration
- Feedback reports on sign-in screen
- Cleaner improved Bluetooth list
- Touchable material 2.0 Chrome for tablet devices
- Select-to-Speak ability to select specific text to be read aloud
- Inline touchable folders in launcher
- Split Screen support in Tablet mode
- Support for zipping files on Drive via the Files app
- Power menu shortcuts when holding the power button
- Detachable base swap detection
Along with the new and updated stuff, Chrome’s “Site Isolation” is being rolled out on a larger scale and there have been patches released for 2 variants of the Spectre bug that are specific to ARM devices on kernel 4.4. Those being the Samsung Chromebook Plus, ASUS Chromebook C101 and soon-to-ship Acer Chromebook Tab 10.
On the tablet front, the Touchable material 2.0 brings an updated look to Chrome’s tabs when in tablet mode or using and actual Chrome tablet. I have been using the hybrid version of this feature on the Samsung Pro and I like the look of the larger tabs as well as the rounded bookmarks.
However, the “touchable refresh” that comes with the new update isn’t really to my liking. It takes the exagerrated tabs and squares them off. Not only that, the new tab button is now to the left of the current tab.
I know that a lot of my dislike is just the fact that it’s different but still, I don’t think it looks good. Thankfully, for now, there is a flag where you can choose which style you prefer. You can check out the options by pointing your browser to
chrome://flags/#top-chrome-md and select from the different styles.
Split screen support has also landed with the Stable update. This will be a much-needed function as Chrome tablets become more prevelant.
Power menu shortcuts are exactly what they sound like. Now, as we have seen in the Dev and Beta channel, when you hold the power button you will be greated with options similar to what you’d see on a mobile device. You can select “sign off” or “shut down” after pressing the power button for a couple of seconds.
PWA’s have also have also found themselves in the latest update. Progressive Web Apps can now be installed just like a Chrome app with some sites like Google+ already suggesting the option with random popups.
Rounding off the list is Chrome OS’s ability to detect when a keyboard base is detached from a device. This will be crucial for Chromebooks like the HP x2 as it will force the device into tablet mode when detached.
There’s more to be discoverd in this latest update and we’ll be digging around this weekend to see what else came along for the ride. Stay tuned. There’s a lot more to come.
Don’t forget to check out Robby’s hands-on with the world’s first detachable Chromebook, the HP x2.
Source: Chrome Releases