Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How Android apps and the Play Store will come to Chromebooks

Google: Skype, Photoshop, Office and every Android app on Chrome OS.

In the second month after Infrics.com went live in 2011, I switched my primary computing platform to Google's Chrome OS.  As I've written, I believe it is the best expression of the major trend I've labeled "the stateless future."

Time has proven the accuracy of that prediction.  Chrome OS devices now outsell all others combined in the education market; in Q1 2016, IDC Research reported that Chrome OS has now overtaken Mac to become the second most popular PC operating system.  Enterprise penetration of Chrome OS is accelerating, and for good reason: incredibly simple deployment and management, excellent built-in security, plus dramatically lower cost of acquisition and TCO.

At the recently-concluded annual I/O developers conference, Google announced that, beginning with the next developer environment of Chrome OS and soon to be released in the stable channel, the Google App Store and its apps will run on Chrome OS.  Here is their announcement and a product demo:

The entire presentation is about 24 minutes, I've started the clip almost 5 minutes in.  Among the important takeaways:

  • Every Android app will work offline, eliminating one of the last excuses not to deploy Chrome OS.
  • This includes movies, music, photos, and the entire range of business applications in addition to games.
  • The architecture runs a version of Android in a container within the existing Chrome OS shell, and it is fully integrated into Chrome OS standard features like notifications.
  • This is "the other shoe dropping" after the organizational change at Google that brought the Android and Chrome OS teams together.  Chrome OS is not going anywhere: Android's next release will adopt the seamless behind-the-scenes update system that Chrome OS has always had, and Chrome OS will add almost all of the Android app and feature set to the laptop and desktop.