Android 12 is being tested on Chromebooks, but don't get too excited

Lenovo Chromebook Duet Couch
Lenovo Chromebook Duet Couch (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is testing Android 12 for Chromebooks.
  • Updates were spotted being made to the Chromium Gerrit over the past week.
  • Google made similar changes to the codebase when it started testing Android 10 and 11 without delivering a corresponding update to Chromebooks.

Android 12's first developer preview is already here for phones, but that's not all it'll end up on. It'll come to Android tablets, Android TVs, and maybe even Chromebooks. A new report from Android Police says that Google is already working on Android 12 for Chrome OS. You can read their post for the full technical details, but in summary, references to Android 12 in the Chromium Gerrit indicate that Google has already started testing Android 12 on their internal Chrome OS VMs.

From earlier Android 12 feature leaks, the update to Chrome OS is likely going to help with multitasking and Android app support. Part of what Android 12 is selling is better app support for larger screens, foldables, and the like. Chrome OS is essentially the large screen Android platform right now, so an update targeting devices in that class would be a net good for the Chrome OS platform.

That being said, Google was also expected to skip from Android 9 to Android 11 for the same reasons and has instead just stuck on Android 9. Seeing a new version being tested is not a guarantee on its own.

What does make it likely are two events that took place over the past week. The first? Chrome OS just surpassed macOS as the number 2 desktop operating system. Piggybacking off that, Android and Chrome OS SVP, Hiroshi Lockehimer promised to share a roadmap for Chrome OS features soon. As Google is expected to officially launch Android 12 at Google I/O, it'd be a good venue to announce changes which tie both operating systems.

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Michael Allison