Google is moving quickly with Android Q, and though it’s only been in beta for a month for the company’s Pixel phones, there’s work underway already to bring Android Q to Chrome OS devices too.
According to code changes posted to the Chromium Gerrit (the source code repository where Chrome OS lives), Chrome OS is likely to see its Android components updated to Android Q sometime this year.
Android on Chrome OS started with Android 7 Nougat, and completely skipped Android 8 Oreo in favour of Android 9 Pie. It was thought that this pattern might repeat, with Android Q being skipped, but it now seems unlikely.
The evidence takes a bit of guidance, so let’s step through it.
The code change shows a reference to three new board codenames to the master list of Chrome OS devices:
The ‘betty’ part of the name refers to a virtual machine codename used for development of Chrome OS with Android support. The ‘arc’ appendage refers to the Android Runtime for Chrome. So, we know these are Chrome OS VM images with Android support.
The ‘nyc’, ‘pi’ and ‘qt’ parts are probably self explanatory, but they are the internal codenames for Android Nougat, Pie and Q respectively. Given Nougat and Pie are already supported, the addition of Q suggests – at least – that work has begun on bringing that version to Chrome OS too.
It’s early days, and we’re not likely to see Android Q on Chrome OS for a little while yet; while Android Q will probably be officially shown off at Google I/O in a couple of weeks, its arrival on Chrome OS is likely to be a few months away at least.