What you need to know
- Google has announced a new Alpha feature that lets you use keyboard controls with touchscreen games.
- This is available as part of ChromeOS 105, which is rolling out to Chromebook users now.
- Although currently limited to select game titles, you will be able to customize the key bindings to your liking.
Earlier this week, Google began rolling out the stable update to Chrome with version 105, and now, ChromeOS is also getting some love as version 105 is coming to your favorite Chromebook. There aren't too many major feature changes onboard, but those who love playing games on Chromebooks will want to check out at least one new feature.
While we have been able to play some of the best Android games on the best Chromebooks for quite a while, the experience hasn't been all that great. Games optimized for a touchscreen work fine, but not every Chromebook is a convertible that can fold back into a tablet or might not have a touchscreen at all. ChromeOS 105 introduces a new "Alpha" gaming feature that attempts to address those issues.
With ChromeOS 105, Google is making it possible for you to actually use your Chromebook's keyboard as a replacement input method. The selection of games that support this new feature is pretty limited, with the list covering titles such as Grimvalor, Geometry Dash Lite, Archero, and a few others.
However, what makes this even more interesting is that Google isn't limiting you to the same "WASD" keys that you might have expected for controls. Instead, you will be able to customize keyboard inputs to your liking, making it easy to press keys that are comfortable for your needs. Additionally, the "Game Controls" panel will allow you to have an overlay appear, or you can remove it so as not to clog up your screen space.
Google points out that this isn't replacing "the existing need for developers to implement keyboard support in their apps." Instead, adding keyboard support for some games is just a way to play some of your favorite Android games on ChromeOS, without needing to use a touchscreen.
Unlike the Steam Alpha program, there aren't limitations to which Chromebooks can take advantage of these new controls. The only requirement is that your Chromebook or Chromebox is running the latest ChromeOS 105 update. Then, download some new games and see how the keyboard and mouse support improves your experience.
Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.
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