In recent years, Android releases on ChromeOS have followed a pattern of launching a new OS version roughly every other year. That pattern is set to continue, with Chromebooks set to make the jump from Android 11 to Android 13 soon, complete with Material You Dynamic Colors.
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From what we can tell, Google has been steadily testing Android 12, Android 13, and even the latest Android 14 on ChromeOS, but it seems Android 13 is the one poised to have an actual “launch date.” Moreover, a new Chrome flag is set to arrive soon that will only affect devices with Android 13, here dubbed “ARC-T” — short for “Android Runtime for Chrome – Tiramisu.”
Switch to KeyMint on ARC-T.
Switch to KeyMint on ARC-T.
The most tangible benefit of Chromebooks getting upgraded to Android 13 will be the addition of Material You. For over a year now, Google has been working on a full Material You redesign of ChromeOS to complement what Pixel phones gained in 2021. We’ve previously showcased this work-in-progress design, including its support for wallpaper-based Dynamic Color schemes.
As part of the upgrade, your Chromebook will share its current color scheme with the Android system, and Android 13 should pass those same colors to individual apps. If done right, this should mean that (supported) Android apps will seamlessly blend in with the design of ChromeOS itself.
Just like Android 11 and Linux apps on Chromebooks today, Android 13 will run through a virtual machine. This has the downside of limiting which devices will actually be able to use the newer version of Android. As it stands today, Chromebooks with ARM chips — such as those from Snapdragon or Mediatek — are still stuck running Android Pie. Thankfully, Chrome Unboxed points out this should be changing soon, with some chips like the Snapdragon 7c Gen 3 set to support the virtual machine.
For now, though, we’ve only seen direct evidence of Google testing Android 13 on a few select models of Chromebook, all powered by Intel processors.
- Octopus – Intel Gemini Lake
- Hatch – 10th Gen (Comet Lake) Intel Core
- Brya – 12th Gen (Alder Lake) Intel Core
The only question at this point is when Google will make Android 13 available on Chromebooks. In a way, the clock is ticking, as Microsoft has already begun previews of Android 13 on Windows 11 devices. For comparison, Android 11 began to arrive for Chromebooks in March 2021, six months after Android 11 was released. Meanwhile, Android Pie reached Chromebooks in October 2018, less than three months after launching onto Pixel phones.
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