The much-awaited Chrome OS 56 is expected to be released on a stable channel to general users on January 31, 2017, and will bring in a specific feature that will tag most http websites with credit card and password fields as “not secure”. But there’s also another feature that Google intends to release in this version of Chrome OS.
As part of expanding Web Bluetooth API support in Chrome OS 56, developers will now be able to access Bluetooth Low Energy modules on Android devices, letting them connect with printers and secondary displays. GamenGuide also cites support for Mac and Chromebooks for this feature once Chrome OS 56 rolls out. The new operating system version is currently available to users on the dev channel.
Other major features include support for Android 7.1 Nougat apps on Chromebooks from Dell, Asus, HP and Samsung. That’s already been on the dev channel for a while, and should be available when the stable release comes at the end of this month. At least, that’s the assumption for now since Google is already testing this out on the Canary Channel that’s running version 57.
Incidentally, Microsoft may cut its Windows 10 licensing fee for makers of Notebooks under 14.1 inches. The assumption is that the Redmond giant is trying to bring down the price points of Windows 10 notebooks in comparison with the cheaper Chromebooks.
Another change we’ll see on Chrome OS 56 is the new material design that will see some tweaks with the app shelf, some new clock color options, an app drawer button and other visual improvements.
As of today, the Chromium dev calendar shows January 31, 2017 as the release date for the stable version of Chrome OS 56. That could change based on new bugs, security incidents and other factors, but should otherwise remain unchanged.