Chrome OS 56 Hits Stable Release

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Chrome OS, Google’s browser based lightweight operating system for PCs continues to evolve. Google has now moved the latest version of Chrome OS, known as Chrome OS 56 to the stable channel and with it comes a whole host of updates and bug fixes.

In the official Chrome release channel, Grace Kihumba said, “The Stable channel has been updated to 56.0.2924.87 (Platform version: 9000.82.0) for all Chrome OS devices except for ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA,  Google Chromebook Pixel (2015), Acer Chromebook R11. This build contains a number of bug fixes, security updates, and feature enhancements. Systems will be receiving updates over the next several days.”

On top of many bug fixes and security patches comes some new and updated features such as ChromeVox, Material redesign of the Chrome OS shelf and system menu, and a Flash component updater.

ChromeVox is a screen reader designed to assist the visually impaired with navigation by using audio and keyboard prompts. Google has worked to improve this system to make it easier to use by providing much simpler prompts that will work in both web pages and in other parts of the Chrome OS interface.

Of course, in what will prove to be one of the most popular aspects of this update, this version of Chrome OS now brings support for the Play Store and Android apps to even more devices than before. Google has long been working on bringing the play store to the Chrome OS platform. With each release, they take yet another step toward a truly unified system. It should be noted, however, that while this update does bring the Play Store to more systems, there are still many Chromebooks out there that don’t have it just yet. Google estimated that a full release would happen sometime in 2016 or 2017, so hopefully those that still don’t have the support will see it in an upcoming release.

In should also be noted that all Chromebooks released in 2017 and beyond will support the Plat Store right out of the box. While they haven’t gotten around to every Chromebook that has been released, many are being worked on. Remember, Google has guaranteed five years of support on all the different Chromebooks. Still, some older Chromebooks may not ever see Google Play on them just as a few different models aren’t compatible with this latest build of the operating system.

It seems that Google remains dedicated to the Chrome OS platform, despite many believing that the platform would one day soon be abandoned in favor of an Android desktop experience. Still, one can’t deny that the unification of these systems will bring many amazing apps to the platform and could convert many Android enthusiasts to the Chrome OS platform.

What do you think about the latest build of Chrome OS? Does it add enough features to make you consider one for you next laptop purchase? If not, what would you like to see come to the platform. Tell me your thoughts about Chrome OS and the upcoming Chromebooks in the comments below.

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