Thursday , July 29 2021

Chrome OS 72 delivers Android Pie and Assistant to some models, adds external access to Android drives and much more

Chrome OS has been experiencing some of the worrying problems lately, mainly due to the enormous effort that has been made to make web applications, Android applications and Linux software work together. Chrome OS 72 begins to run and addresses several of the major limitations that Chromebook owners face.

After a short period of testing on Pixel Slate, both the Google Assistant and Android 9 Pie in this update went to several Chromebooks. My Chromebook 14 for Dell Inspiron is still less helpful with Chrome OS 72 software, but it meets at least some models according to About Chromebook.

We've previously reported that Google adds a "tablet mode" for Chrome OS to better match devices like Pixel Slate and it will now be used. If you have a Chrome OS tablet or a reversible Chromebook in Tablet PC mode, there are some changes. The tab bar and toolbar become larger, the application drawer is black and transparent, and a new option to display the mobile version of the site in the puff menu.

Chrome OS in Notebook Mode

Chrome OS in Tablet PC mode

The next progress is convinced that many of you are waiting – Android applications can finally access to external memory, including microSD cards and USB drives. For example, I can plug in the camera and directly import photos into Lightroom CC. Previously, I had to first copy the photos to the "Downloads for Chrome OS" folder. It's been a long time for Android applications to become more homely and this is a great advantage for low-quality Chromebooks with limited internal memory.

Browse files on the camera from Lightroom CC Android

Another improvement related to Android is that application shortcuts are now available in the launcher. Google has added the ability to use application shortcuts back to Chrome OS 70, but you can access them only by right-clicking (or clicking down) the application icon.

Linux OS support for Chrome OS has also received some improvements. Now you can open the .deb files directly from the "Downloads" folder instead of copying them to the "Linux Files" folder first. Google has also added the ability to switch between DPI modes in Linux applications if the software you are using is not optimally optimized for high-DPI displays.

This is not all the new features – Image in the picture is now available (as an extension), files from other computers are now displayed in the Google Drive section of the Files app, the network manager is safer, and USB devices are disabled if the Chromebook is locked. It's nice to see that Google has dealt with a number of issues that Chrome OS has had for several months, even if the fixes took some time.

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