Rumors and speculation regarding one major new feature coming to Chrome OS and Chromebooks have been circulating for a bit of time now, and Google has finally made it official.
During the second day of Google I/O, the company officially announced that native Android apps are arriving on Chrome OS later this year. Developers will get access beginning very soon, with a beta rolling out in June, and the public version rolling out this fall. To make this oft-requested feature a reality, Google is also bringing the Play Store to Chrome OS as well, making it possible for Chromebook owners to download Android apps right from the digital storefront onto their computer.
The built-in search function within Chrome OS will show the native Android apps alongside the Chrome OS apps, making it easy to choose.
Google made a quick list of what the native Android apps will bring to the table later this year:
- 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
To get started, developers will need a Chromebook Pixel 2, an ASUS Chromebook Flip, or the Acer Chromebook R11, but Google says support for more Chromebook models, including less-powerful options, will be coming in the future. For Chromebook owners, those aforementioned models and many more will all be able to run native Android apps before the end of 2016.
Google says it’s also working with device manufacturers to bring “some great new devices specially design for Play,” so that should be interesting to see what’s coming down the pipe.
If you’re a Chromebook user, what do you think of the news?