Google Play comes to ChromeOS: All Android apps will work on a Chromebook

Google Play comes to ChromeOS: All Android apps will work on a Chromebook
On day two of Google I/O 2016, a big line formed outside “Stage 8” for the anticipated announcement behind the session titled, Coming to a Chromebook Near You. The buzz has been that everything available in Google Play would achieve full functionality in ChromeOS.

That is a big deal, one million applications are coming to ChromeOS, a massive ecosystem of apps and media to what has always been a browser-driven operating environment.

While that has helped Chromebooks earn raves for being able to start-up at lightning fast speed, and operate quickly, functionality has been limited by the fact that everything had to run within a browser. Every “app” is essentially a browser plug-in. That made ChromeOS itself highly secure, but also made it a desktop operating system virtually devoid of any applications in any sense of the word.

The Chromebook team worked with the Android team to take advantage of innovations in enabling the Android environment work within the ChromeOS “container.” Since Chromebooks are running desktop class hardware, the Android apps consume virtually no overhead, the user experience is consistent, and the environment is secure.

One thing the Google teams were quick to point out was that this was not ChromeOS rendering the Android environment, it was running the apps fully. Google Play operates the same way we would use it on our smartphones and tablets, with the ability to download and store media for offline use. Android applications work the same way.

For the enterprise, or the educators, this feature is manageable through the Chromebook management console, allowing whatever level of control desired by enterprise/school. Essentially, this is having your cake and eating it too. For those hoping to see this feature come to the Chrome browser, no such luck.

Any Android application is compatible, including the Office suite of apps from Microsoft. This changes things significantly. Chromebooks have typically had a much lower price-point, limited by the software. However, this changes the cost model for students, small businesses, anyone really. If you need the ability to just “use” Microsoft Word, and you do not use all the Reference and Review features, Word for Android works – just like any resident app on the Chromebook. Have a photo you want to edit or modify? Use Photoshop Mix, and the world is yours to create.

This is a win not only for ChromeOS, but also for developers and users. Google Play and its million applications will be available via the Chrome Developer Channel with the M53 release in a few weeks. Expect a full rollout later this summer.



1. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

It will come to some Chromebooks, but not all. It's still good, but Google needs to do a better job of encouraging revs to make better apps for bigger screens.

6. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

"Devs," not "revs."

2. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Wow, this is the game changing move right here. Now MS need to get scared because now ChromeOS is a full fledged OS capable of gaming, productivity and everything in between. All eyes on WWDC to see if Apple catches up and we have a 3 horse race or just 2.

4. Arthurhkt

Posts: 725; Member since: Apr 19, 2012

I don't think it really became a full fledged OS now, but definitely a step up for them. However in term of better experience on productivity or hardcore gaming, both Windows and OS X still a better choice here. But yes, Microsoft need to act on soon as this step up may mean a lot for many customer.

8. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I'm just curious, how do you define a full fledged operating system? For me it is a GUI, that allows you to interact with it and run an assortment of software. Maybe Chrome OS isn't as feature rich as what the competition offers but I don't think that it makes it an less of a full fledged OS. I will agree with the hard core gaming comment though, but lets face it, for a couple hundred dollars, what kind of gaming experience would you expect?

13. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

But this is the step forward that brings all those extras. With widespread adoption of Chrome OS (already underway), more and more developers will come. It is the dream MS had but couldn't realize. With this, developers can hit both the largest mobile platform in the world with the added bonus of being available on the fastest growing non-mobile OS in the world. This will bring the competition the desktop OS space has not had for 3 decades now.

17. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I like Google chrome book mainly because it help drive portable notebook price down. Now with Android Playstore it may appeal to a slightly wider audience.

18. jove39

Posts: 2147; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Several student might opt for chromebook instead of pc...but then retail isn't growth area for pc, it's on decline. Enterprise market on then other hand has potential for growth with several companies upgrading their infrastructure with win10 pc.

31. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Then they have to buy a full pc when they hit anything in college that relies on 'real' work. Not saying Chrome wont get there, but would certainly break the continuity of the playstore if it can be done on mobile. Its the rift that MS is facing right now.

27. Nopers unregistered

Still a two horse race with a ChromeOS donkey trailing behind. But maybe if it wishes hard enough it will become a real horse.

29. Techist

Posts: 311; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

Meanwhile, the "donkey" just overtook one of the horses and is gaining on the other: "For the first time, Google beat Apple in PC sales — and that's really bad news for Microsoft" And this happened before Android Apps on Chrome OS was announced. Time for a paradigm shift.

30. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Yeah... that donkey is kicking the crap out of the two horses in the mobile market, Apparently you can beat a dead horse. As for the desktop and notebook markets, Chrome OS has in fact passed Mac in sales for the first time this quarter. In addition to that, Chrome OS now accounts for over 50% of tech in the United States education system, when only 4 years ago, they only accounted for less than 1%. I bet those Microsoft and Apple horses have never seen a donkey run circles around them before. Quite embarrassing indeed.

32. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

50%? In what states? Everywhere I go here, Mac or PC. From kindergarten all the way to masters degree.

35. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

"United States", as in overall average. I'm glad that a well traveled individual like yourself visits enough schools to be able to debunk my statement as I typically don't spend my free hours hanging around where little kids gather whereas you apparently do, which is a bit concerning to say the least. All that being said, my statement is actually old news, a simple web search will reveal many sources if you have any questions, but in the event that you continue to questions my statement without making any effort to educate yourself here you go

36. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

considering people that have kids usually visit schools, and people that have more than one kid in different age ranges visit more than one yea I am more concerned that your mind actually thinks that way to begin with, I have some numbers for mental health people, benefits of having an ex that works with people with 'issues' that you seem to suffer from. Never to late to get help. If the 50% stat was correct then at least 2 of my 5 schools would have chrome books...they don't, not a single one of them do. Also those are sales not overall usage. Considering classrooms already have PC's or Macs in them....ALL OF THEM. Sales will start to taper. We don't go in the habit of buying new pcs every year for classrooms. As well, "The sales figures do not include desktop computers" from said article.

37. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Oh my, please forgive me, I was under the impression that you visited enough schools to consider yourself a valid and legitimate source of information making me rather concerned of your motives for being in said places. All that being said you lost your argument by implying that referencing 5 schools from a single district is a fair representation of the entire country's education system (VERY naive statement on your part), I think that the 300 million + people in the US would be happy if only a couple thousand people were used to represent them in other matters such as presidential elections or human rights matters as no matter where you go, everyone and everything is pretty much all the same.

38. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

If you say half, or over 50%, then yes any random sample would prove it true. That is how statistics works, with a variable rate for adjustments. As well, as person who does attend many schools for sports related activities, again there is a PC in every single one of them from the teacher to the principle. Even the schools here who don apple first, are still reliant on PCs in the offices and elsewhere, including the login/out system for students/parents. You call it naïve, we in math and statistics call it TRUTH. Considering there is some 60-80million school children from k-12. Selling 4.4million means less than 10% of kids will ever see those chromebooks as of right now....However, every single one of them will see a pc in that school at somepoint, especially in the pc/mac labs. Right now. So no, chrome books are not in 50% of the education sector, they sold 50% of the shipment orders last year. Considering pcs are not replaced yearly, this is no surprise for new tech against old tech that is already a staple there.

39. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

And we in the real world view your hands on experience as an asinine straw poll, which is the least scientific method of gathering data and laughable if you think can provide you any reliable statistics to come to a definitive conclusion. You reference only your own experience visiting various schools for athletic events and you mean to tell me that you take time away from those activities to inquire about each school's inventory of computers, record your findings then come to a absolute conclusion that suits your biased opinion, which the rest of us should trust over that of various other legitimate media publications? You're a loon. Hell, I can poll 1,000 people in Texas to see how many have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, do you think that would be a fair representation of the overall national populous? Absolutely not, but that type of ignorant thought seems to be enough for you so long as it serves your agenda. visit schools for athletic events... that's hysterical.

3. vananucho

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 01, 2011

RIP M$oft.

5. Fire5

Posts: 315; Member since: Feb 13, 2015


7. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

The more I read about this, the more excited I get. Skype will finally be available for Chrome OS. Some Android apps like Journey, Word, & Excel I expect to work better with a physical keyboard and larger screen. This single update truly changes everything about the OS, and I expect to see a surge of sales of Chrome OS devices after this summer.

9. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

next step should be releasing chromeOS on tablets and connecting android and chromeOS in every way they can .. if they do this right they can compete with MS when they get better hardware for Chromebooks and they can compete with apple when it comes to the ecosystem

10. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I disagree, their next step should be releasing the OS for users to install on any computer. Right now if I built my own PC, I couldn't install Chrome OS on it unless I used some third party modified release and that just won't get Google support

11. AgentZero

Posts: 314; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

yea i agree with that . they have many steps to take but with android N, VR, google assistant , the new messaging apps , android wear 2.0 and they way chrome OS is improving .. google has the potential to make something big ! something really special ! all they need to do is take the right steps

15. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Hmm, that would be an official Android Emulator for Windows PCs, and could be Linux's gateway to finally breaking loose from that 1% market share on Laptop/Desktop PCs...

20. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2278; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I'm surprised that the Linux fanboys didn't cry and rage about your "1% marketshare" comment with the usual "Linux dominates servers" follow up. Oh wait...This it's phonearena, no Linux fans here

22. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I like Linux, but I'm not going to lie to myself about market share. And yes, I understand Chrome OS is Linux based, but I exclude them from my statement.

12. Furbal unregistered

It's getting there, there are some well built cbs out this year. My family is still running the Toshiba cb1 and my i5 cb15

14. hwb01

Posts: 355; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

Dual booting Android and Chrome OS, would be interesting to see on a convertible. Maybe they could do like the Acer Transformer Trio, and have the screen be an Android Tablet, and the keyboard dock has its own processor that runs Chrome OS. This would be the next best thing to dual booting Android and Windows.

19. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2278; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

A lot of wishful thinking here. This may improve sales slightly, and while Windows will not be sinking in the foreseeable, Linux and chrome OS will never be the cause of sinking Windows' marketshare.

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