It's no secret that Chrome OS has become way more capable over the years, maturing far beyond a simple browser-platform. It shows Google is serious about making Chromebooks an appealing choice for everyone, supporting Android apps and even powerful Linux tools to sweeten the platform's appeal. With official support for Steam around the corner, Chrome OS is even closer to becoming a viable choice for hardcore gamers — and an upcoming addition levels-up the gaming experience even further.
Chrome OS has been steadily growing up over the years, with Linux and Android app support helping it to stray from its "just a browser" roots. Thanks to powerful multitasking features like virtual desks and window snapping, Google's operating system is a solid productivity choice for consumers and many professionals. To help you work even faster, Chrome OS will soon pick up a classic productivity feature that will give your Chromebook the old-school coolness you never thought you needed.
Android apps have had a rough history on Chromebooks ever since Google brought them to Chrome OS in 2016. From a lackluster app ecosystem to nasty bugs like the app scaling issue that nearly made it into Chrome OS 86 Stable, Google has attempted to create a compelling Android app experience for users to enjoy, but with little luck. With Chrome OS 87 due in a few more days, Google's operating system finds itself in another predicament that makes the typing experience in Android apps incredibly frustrating.
Google loves iterating on software design, but it often takes some time for its new ideas to trickle down to all its products. The refreshed Material Design principles visible in applications like Gmail are present in some parts of Chrome OS, but not others. That's changing soon, though, as the operating system's decidedly stale Files browser is getting a refresh.
One annoying quirk with 2-in-1 Chromebooks (and Chrome OS tablets) has been with how volume controls work. The volume up/down buttons always stay in the same position, even if you flip the device around — for example, when I used to have my Asus C302 in tablet mode, pressing where the volume up button should be actually turned the sound level down. Thankfully, this papercut is close to going away forever.
Google has been working on a Chrome OS phone syncing feature for over a year, called 'Better Together'. It started out as a way to respond to SMS messages from your phone on your Chromebook, but it has evolved into something more general-purpose. Now the functionality is rolling out on the Chrome OS Dev channel.