Three months after Google released Android 9 Pie, so few smartphones are running the operating system that Google still hasn’t bothered adding Pie to its Android platform distribution page (about 22 percent of phones are running Android 8.x Oreo, while the rest are running Android 7.x Nougat or earlier — even Android 2.3 Gingerbread has a 0.2 percent share).
But we could see Android 9 Pie hit some new devices soon… Chromebooks.
Google recently starting rolling out Chrome OS 72 to folks who are testing the Dev Channel version of its desktop and tablet operating system, and as Kevin Tofel from About Chromebooks notes, the update brings Android Pie to Chromebooks. But that’s not all.
Users who opt to enable the Google Play Store and support for Android apps on a Chromebook basically get access to an Android subsystem that allows you to install mobile apps and run them natively alongside Chrome web apps. The update won’t change the Chrome OS user interface, but it means Android apps that support Google’s latest APIs will be able to run on Chrome OS laptops, desktops and tablets.
Chrome OS 72 also brings an update to the Crostini tool that lets you use a Linux virtual machine to install desktop Linux applications: now those apps can access USB peripherals.
That should allow you to access removable storage and other accessories when running desktop applications including audio, video, or image editing programs, media players, or programming tools, among other things.
Kevin points out that there are still a few features missing from Crostini, including audio support and the ability to leverage a Chromebook’s GPU for hardware-accelerated video and graphics. But it looks like Google is continuing to improve the experience of running Linux programs within Chrome OS.