Android 7.1.1 Nougat is reportedly now available in the Beta channel for the Lenovo Thinkpad 13 Chromebook. The news comes from Reddit user yannym, who got the update and decided to let the /r/ChromeOS community know. You can view Nougat running on the device in the screenshot below, showing that the Android version is indeed the feature-packed 7.1.1 beta, moving the device up from the only slightly more basic Android 7.0. Additionally, the update brings the Android backend of the Thinkpad 13 Chromebook up to the April security patch level. Users won’t notice a ton of new features except in special use cases, since Chrome OS is the main OS and the Android update will only affect the backend for running Android apps.
It should be noted that users will not get this update if they don’t have Dev Mode enabled, even if they have gone over to the Beta channel. Additionally, even if a user does get this update, getting the Play Store up and running will still require some manual tweaking. Once the update has been completed and the Play Store is activated on the laptop, users will find that their device is listed as compatible with all the same apps as any other Android 7.1.1 device, and apps will run just like they would on such a device. Users will notice that the newest update’s features are indeed intact, in apps that actually use them. The utility of loading things like Nova Launcher and GO Keyboard onto a Chromebook is minimal, but if somebody decides to do so they’ll find that they can use app icon shortcuts on long press, and the new Android 7.1.1 emoji.
This comes hot on the heels of a Nougat update in the Canary channel for the Samsung Chromebook Plus. The second-newest version of Android Nougat is rolling out to a wide range of Chrome OS devices, and will likely make it easier for Google to roll out the Play Store to these devices. For the time being many other Chromebooks are in the same boat as the Thinkpad 13 Chromebook, forced to enable Dev Mode and use a number of manual tweaks to get the Play Store and the latest updates that haven’t hit the Stable channel yet.