Chromebook: or How I Learned To stop Worrying and Love 8 Years of Tablet Updates

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with tablets. I keep comparing them to laptops and the lack of updates/support is troublesome. Android tablets are mostly cheap, sluggish devices that never get updated. Windows 10 tablets get updates, but are expensive and often underpowered compared to a laptop. iPads are expensive as fuck and Apple. Chromebooks only had the Slate, another overpriced device. Until now.

Introducing the Lenovo Duet: A 10 inch tablet featuring a detachable keyboard, an okay MediaTek CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB/128GB internal storage drawing pen with 4096 pressure points, +10 hour battery life, Linux and Android support, and a whipping 8 years of guaranteed updates (EOL mid 2028). I am loving this device, especially as I came from a detachable Windows 10 tablet that could barely run Windows in the first place.

Quick review: It works, feels snappy even with several programs running and just works. It makes for a nice device to have on the couch, on the go or for taking notes. With that said, I can’t recommend it as a full desktop/laptop replacement due to its size. So far for the formal stuff, time to move on to the notes and mods I did on mine.

Linux and APK sideloading: Unlocking the true potential

The Linux subsystem is a killer feature. It allows you to install linux programs like GIMP, use ssh, and sideloading Android apps without setting your Chromebook to dev mode. To enable linux and sideloading, run these commands once:

  1. Open Chromebook settings -> Developers -> Enable Linux (beta). If you just want to sideload Android APK’s, 2GB is more than enough. Reboot the device.
  2. Open Chromebook settings -> Developers -> Linux development environment -> Develop Android apps -> Enable ADB debugging
  3. Open the terminal application and run the following commands to install Android Debug Tools into you Linux environment:
  4. sudo apt-get update
  5. sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb -y
  6. adb connect
  7. adb start-server

To sideload an Android apk:

  1. Download your APK and use the file manager to place it into the linux folder
  2. Open the terminal
  3. adb -s emulator-5554 install filename.apk
  4. Delete the apk file after installing to safe disk space. Either use the file manager or run rm filename.apk


Chrome flag tweaks (Chrome OS v89)

  • chrome://flags/#ash-pip-rounded-corners (eyecandy, rounds picture-in-picture windows)
  • chrome://flags/#stylus-battery-status (provides battery information on the stylus being high or low)
  • chrome://flags/#enable-desktop-pwas-tab-strip
    chrome://flags/#enable-desktop-pwas-tab-strip-link-capturing (allows tab bar in stand-alone windows for chrome apps and keeps you in them)

List of applications I use

In no real order. (A) indicates Android app from Play Store. (SA) indicates sideloaded Android cpp, (C) indicates a Chrome window/extention.

  • (C) Chrome: duh!
  • (C) Spotify: Music streaming
  • (C) Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets: full office suite for on the go work.
  • (A) Keep: Note keeping with pen support.
  • (A) Gmail and Calendar: email and calendar.
  • (SA) Tachiyomi: Open source manga and comic reader. Can load from local files and use websites, automatically download chapters as they are released.
  • (SA) Ichaival: Open source app for Lanraragi servers.
  • (A) RIF: The best Reddit reader.
  • (SA) Kuroba: Open source 4chan app.
  • (C) Discord: IRC for gamers.
  • (C) WhatsApp Web.
  • (A) Plex: Media streaming from self-hosted servers.
  • (C) Netflix: Streaming media. Web version in standalone windows. Allows 1080p vs 480p only in app.
  • (A) Prime Video: Streaming media.
  • (A) YouTube: Streaming.
  • (A) NPO: Dutch television.
  • (C) Ziggo Go: Dutch Television.
  • (A) VLC: Media player.
  • (A) Google Photos: sync my photos.
  • (A) Snapseed: Photo editing.
  • (C) Chrome Canvas: Drawing with stylus support.
  • (A) Clip Studio: Drawing with stylus. Paid application.
  • (A) Streamcontrol: StreamDeck-like app for OBS.