“I think with this Chrome OS 70 update that Google “may” finally have a shot at gaining some ground back from the iPad and iPad pro.”
Chrome had begun rolling out a day or 2 ago for about 60 Chromebooks, Chromeboxs and even the ChromeBits. What was missing, however, was nearly all of the high-end devices. Just a few minutes ago that changed. Chrome OS 70 is now available and it brings tablet support before Google releases the new Pixel Slate. I’ve updated my Pixelbook and it breathes new life in tablet mode, and a nice overall style changes when it’s in any mode. I’ve taken a few screenshots and I’ll post them below with a description of the changes.
The first thing you’ll notice in tablet mode is it takes you right into the app drawer, there’s no blank desktop like you get in laptop mode. If you’re familiar with Chrome OS you’ll also notice the apps are larger and space father apart, making it easier for touching.
At the top of the screen, you see 5 apps that Google thinks that you may want to use. You’ll also see these 5 apps when you click on the circle menu icon when in laptop mode. Another big change visually is the menu bar and OS icons all have a rounder style compared to the older clean box look. If you need to access the google assistant you simply long press the circle menu icon, or say “OK Google”
If you swipe an app down from the top of the screen or press the app view icon on the far right you’ll get this overview of all the apps that you have open. If you want to close an app you’ll have to go to this view and click the “X” or swipe it up to close it. If you want to launch split screen you touch the app you want from this view and slide it left or right depending on the side of the screen you want to place it. Once both are open you’ll see a bar between the apps that can be used resize them. So far I’ve only been able to spit screen to apps but it might be possible to overlay a 3rd or 4th app like hangouts or youtube that can typically float on top of other apps. See the split screen view below.
The next big update in tablet mode is the keyboard. Google G board has finally arrived along with all its features. The old keyboard worked well, but G board is better. It can be undocked and dragged around the screen where it’s out the way and more comfortable to use. It can, of course, be made full screen similar to the older version. See below.
Touching the cross below the keyboard allows you to drag it into any position you’d like. The squiggly line icon at the top left of the keyboard allows you to hand write your text if you prefer if swiping or pecking on the virtual keyboard isn’t your style.
One of the last things that I want to mention is the new menu tab at the bottom right of the screen, then that bubble with the wifi/ time is touched it opens a menu screen similar to the drop-down menu that you’d see on a mobile phone. It gives you a slider for volume and brightness along with shortcut icons to lock the screen rotation, night mode etc.
There are a few more features that I won’t get into here, one is more security-related dealing with browser extensions. I have to admit that I hardly use my PixelBook in tablet mode, it’s typically as it is now in laptop mode. I just love typing on its keyboard too much and I’m to a huge fan of the fell of holding a convertible in tablet mode. I am going to give it a try a little more often to try out the new interface though. Overall this is FINALLY a good start to a more tablet-friendly Chrome OS experience.
I think this update may make some people that use there 2 in 1’s in tablet mode more than I do very happy, but what’s more important is the users experience on the new Pixel Slate. I think with this Chrome OS 70 update that Google “may” finally have a shot at gaining some ground back from the iPad and iPad pro. Good job Google!