Google has announced that in the near future Chrome OS will get support for Google Play. This means that the entire collection of Android apps will be accessible in Chrome OS. Google recommends developers to optimize their apps for Chromebook devices and its screens and hardware. The ability to install Android apps from Google Play will be disabled out the box. The user will need to turn on a special option in Chrome OS settings.
In this blog post, they made the following announcement:
Today we announced that we’re adding Android apps to Chromebooks, which means users will be able to install the apps they know and love. Later this year you can expand your app’s reach to a new hardware platform and wider audience while maximizing the Google Play ecosystem. With expanded app availability, new use cases and improved workflows can be achieved for all Chromebook users, whether for personal use, for work or for education. As a developer we encourage you to test your app as described here.
Android apps will arrive to the development branch of Chrome OS in June 2016. The stable branch of Chrome OS will get this ability later this autumn. The earliest devices with full Google Play support will be Acer Chromebook R11, Asus Chromebook Flip and Google Chromebook Pixel. These three Chromebooks come with touch screens. After that, 70 different devices will also get Android apps.
Android apps will run in a virtual Android environment in order to support all the Android apps from Google Play. An Android app started in such an environment will have access to the device hardware (camera, SD card etc.)
Here are some of the benefits from this integration:
- Android Apps can be shown in 3 different window sizes to allow the best experience
- Users can multi-task with multiple Android apps in moveable windows along with a full desktop browser, all within the familiar Chrome OS interface.
- Keyboard, mouse, and touch input will seamlessly work together
- Users will get Android notifications on their Chromebooks
- Android apps benefit from the Wifi or Bluetooth connectivity setup by the user or the administrator
- File sharing is seamless between Chrome and Android apps through the Files app
- Performance of demanding apps such as games or design apps is excellent
It is interesting that Chromebook devices outsold Apple's MacBooks in the US during the first quarter of 2016. The integration with Google Play can make them more attractive for the end user, providing access to millions of Android apps from a notebook-like device with keyboard, mouse and touch input.
What do you think about this change? Will you buy a Chromebook device if it will come with Google Play and its apps?