For a while now, Chrome OS has been able to run Android apps. This, importantly, means access to the Google Play Store on your Chromebook. While that’s a great feature that got a lot of Chromebook users justifiably excited, right now those Android apps run more like they would on a phone instead of a PC.
Perhaps that shouldn’t be all that surprising, but it leads to some weird interactions you wouldn’t expect from a notebook OS. One such problem is what happens when you try to run apps in the background. On something like Windows or Mac, clicking away from an app and pulling up another window will keep that app running, whereas doing the same thing on Chrome OS will cause the app you’re clicking away from to pause.
While it isn’t the world’s most glaring issue, it can still be somewhat jarring for those who are expecting Chrome OS to emulate desktop operating systems more closely than it does Android. It looks like a fix for that may be inbound, though. According to Chrome Unboxed, the beta for Chrome OS 64 comes packing a new feature called Android Parallel Tasks.
With Android Parallel Tasks, you’ll be able to keep running your Android apps in the background without having them enter a paused state when you move to a new active window. While that paused state probably doesn’t matter when it comes to many apps, it isn’t really necessary on a Chromebook. After all, auto-pausing apps that aren’t being actively used is great on a phone where battery life is everything, but less important in a PC environment.
Since Android Parallel Tasks is present in Chrome OS 64 beta, we expect it to launch with the full release of Chrome OS 64 later on down the road. There’s always a chance that it won’t, of course, but it’s hard to imagine what would prevent it from making the full release. If you want to check it out in the meantime, though, you could always install the beta for yourself through your Chromebook’s settings menu.