With Chrome OS 55 hitting all channels in the last week, it is time to start looking ahead to the release of Chrome OS 56.
And this one looks to be an interesting one, indeed.
We don’t know anything officially at this point, but there are some interesting things about 56 that have us pretty excited to start thinking about what we’ll see and what could be on offer.
First up are all the material design flourishes we’ve seen in the Dev and Beta Channels lately. A new dock, settings menu, icons and startup screens are all likely to show up in 56 when it hits the stable channel.
Those things sound small, but they provide a nice, cohesive experience as we start seeing Android settle into the Chrome OS environment.
The refreshed look keeps things feeling new; and that facelift seems at home with an OS that feels like it is taking a big step forward in its next iteration.
Speaking of Android, there is a very, very good chance that 56 is where we’ll see full roll-out of the Play Store on Chromebooks. Right now, there are many Chromebooks with Android Apps available via the Crosh Method we discuss here, meaning they are already available on a large selection of devices right now. They are simply hidden.
Take that into account with the extended release window and we have a recipe for a full app arrival.
I’ve talked about this before, but the standard update cycle is 6 weeks for each version of Chrome and Chrome OS. With 56, however, the cycle is 8 weeks. The official schedule is set for the last few days of January at this point.
The only reason for them to stray from the standard 6-week schedule is to give a couple extra weeks of wiggle room to get all the pieces in place before flipping the switch on Android Apps.
Lastly, the official list from the Chromium team of devices set to receive Android Apps gives us the release window of late 2016/2017. All this comes together to make us feel supremely confident that January 31st (or thereabouts) will unleash Android on Chrome OS in full force.
Devices. Lots of Devices.
Finally, the arrival of Android in a more official manner should open the floodgates for all the devices we’ve been reporting about in the past few months. The biggest device release that will be likely tied to Chrome OS 56 is the Samsung Chromebook Pro. This device broke cover back in October and was clearly delayed. Perhaps Samsung’s battery issues were to blame, but we’re more inclined to think they were waiting for a stable release of the Play Store. We’ve talked about that at length over here.
Either way, we feel like it and tons of other devices will break cover around this upcoming update.
Chrome OS 56 feels like it will be one of the most substantial versions in a long, long time. A renewed interface, full Android support, and the arrival of a ton of new devices all add up to a fantastic update.
We are excited!