Enlarge/ Pixelbook folded into "entertainment" mode.Valentina Palladino

Smoothly running Android apps on Chrome OS has been a work in progress for years now. Google has done a lot to improve the experience of running mobile apps on its browser-based operating system, and it appears a forthcoming software update could fix one of the remaining problems. A report by Chrome Unboxed details a new feature in Chrome 64 beta called Android Parallel Tasks that lets Android apps run continuously in the background even when you're actively using another program.

Chrome OS has always allowed users to have multiple programs open at one time, including Chrome OS and Android applications. However, Android apps pause when you click or tap out of their windows. That means the app essentially stops working until you tap back into it to continue using the program. There are some exceptions like Spotify, which will continue to play music even when you're not actively using the app, but other programs pause all activity until you resume using them.

While this makes sense for smartphone apps, it doesn't translate well to a desktop. On a traditional PC, one expects to be able to open multiple programs and have them all running continuously, no matter which is being used at any given moment. Chromebooks, like Google's expensive Pixelbook, couldn't do that with Android apps, but it appears Android Parallel Tasks fixes that issue. Each program or app that you have open will run continuously until you manually pause it or close it entirely.

Chrome OS 64 is still in beta, so it's unclear when Android Parallel Tasks will come to the operating system as a finished feature. Sometimes beta features don't make it into the official update at all, but since the feature is in high demand and appears to work well in practice, hopefully Google will include it in the final version of Chrome OS 64.

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