Chrome OS 73 bringing additional tablet transition fixes to 2-in-1 Chromebooks, Pixel Slate

Perhaps the initial biggest issue with the Google Pixel Slate was the terrible animation performance when switching apps in tablet mode. I’d say that the second biggest was offering the Slate with an under-powered processor for the base model, but that’s a different issue else entirely.

Google did plan to address the tablet app animation issues with some fixes, but its work isn’t done yet: According to a related bug report, more optimizations are coming in Chrome OS 73… and beyond.

The open bug is actually for a lower-end Chromebook based on the Coral board, of which there are more than a half dozen. However, it relates to choppy transitions and dropped framerates in overview mode for app switching. One workaround that helped was to disable a Chrome OS flag that causes the background to blur in overmode, but that’s not a long term solution.

This recent comment from the Chromium developer team suggests that not all of the visual transition fixes made their way into Chrome OS 72:

There are optimization for normal (w/o maximize window) scenario that couldn’t make into 72. They’ll be in 73 and we keep working on performance turning, so stay turned.

According to the Chromium release calendar, Chrome OS 73 should hit the Stable Channel this Tuesday, March 19, following last week’s push of the same version to enterprises, which enabled Linux app support. So any of the newer optimizations should be seen soon for testing.

Even better — to me, anyway — is that the team is continuing to gather telemetry metrics and logs to continue improving overview mode and app switching when devices are used as tablets.

When I use my Pixel Slate, I actually never use overview mode so the animations are a non-issue for me personally. Yes, this is a real issue and it’s really inexcusable, but I never see it: I don’t run numerous apps at the same time and even when I’m multitasking, that’s typically because I’m creating content and have the Pixel Slate Keyboard attached, pressing Alt+Tab to quickly move around between apps.

I also suspect that the more you spend on a Pixel Slate, the less of an impact there is. Meaning, the higher-powered processors combined with more memory manage the app transitions far better than the base model. Here’s a look at the transitions on both the Core m3 and Core i5 Pixel Slate, which perform noticably better than the Celeron edition.

2 thoughts on “Chrome OS 73 bringing additional tablet transition fixes to 2-in-1 Chromebooks, Pixel Slate

  • March 17, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    What all this implies is that, for a comfortable experience, one should probably restrict the Pixel Slate to running one or two apps when using it as a tablet (no keyboard attached), especially if it’s the Celeron version and maybe also the Core m3 version. For now, anyway.

  • March 17, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Interesting. In the Google Store, as of 3/17, both Celeron options are listed as out of stock. All the others are available.


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