Google Chrome apps for Android may see beta release in January

December 3, 2013

    Google-IO-2013 Chrome logo 6 1600 aa

    Back in September Google unveiled “desktop apps for Chrome”, bringing us special offline apps that were built using JavaScript, HTML and CSS and could work outside of the Chrome browser. Not only did these packaged apps play nicely with Chrome OS, but there was also planned support for multiple other desktop OSes including Windows and OS X.

    At the time of the announcement, Chrome VP Brian Rakowski commented on how the long-term goal was to bring Chrome apps everywhere — mobile included. While Google has been relatively quiet about when we might see Chrome apps come to the mobile world, the Next Web has learned that the toolkit designed for creating Chrome apps for Android and iOS is already pretty far along.

    Right now the project is listed in a GitHub repository called “Mobile Chrome Apps”, led by Google software developer Michal Mocny. The project isn’t yet ready for primetime, but Joe Marini (Lead Dev Relations for Chrome apps) states that they hopes to have “something in beta form in January”.

    Eventually the goal will be to polish up the toolkit enough that these Chrome mobile apps can then be published to Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Once they are ready, Android 4.x or better will be required in order to use the Chrome apps.

    Although we’ve known for a while now that Google plans to bring Chrome-powered apps to all mobile and desktop platforms, it’s still nice to see further proof that the project is coming along nicely.

    Google has yet to comment any further on their plans for Chrome apps for Android and iOS, but a source close to the company says that developers can try out the tools from the GitHub now, even if Google isn’t quite ready to officially announce anything.

    What do you think of the idea of Chrome apps for Android? Excited by the prospect, or not?



    • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

      Dear Google, nobody wants your “Chrome apps” on Android, it’s the other way around. We want Android apps on ChromeOS.

      NaCl is cool and everything, but there’s nothing ChromeOS can offer Android.

      • Tiago Azevedo

        Actually, I find the Google perspective more interesting! ChromeOS apps are more powerful than Android’s. What Google is trying to bring us is the power of a desktop to mobile devices.

        • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

          No. Chrome apps don’t “bring the power of desktop”, because Chrome apps aren’t no even close to being relevant in the desktop.

          NaCl, as I said, is super cool, but is still irrelevant. Chrome OS will benefit more from Android apps than Android can benefit from NaCl.

          • Tiago Azevedo

            Really?! Haven’t you yet experienced the desktop apps from Chrome Web Store?! Try them, and then tell me Chrome apps aren’t close to be relevant on desktops. All it needs is more developers.

            • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

              You’re misunderstanding me, NaCl is super cool. And there’s a handful of cool Chrome apps (including games). What I’m saying is there’s nothing yet truly worthwhile done with it, so Chrome has very little to offer Android.

              The technology itself is super interesting.

            • Tiago Azevedo

              So, you are trying to tell me you think Chrome apps are not ready YET to be useful? Oh, that’s completely different!
              But I think Google is taking a good decision by betting in Chrome apps instead of the Android’s, because Chrome apps can already run on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and now Google is trying to bring this to mobile! By doing this, Google is trying to make it possible for developers to create apps in a platform that can be run on multiple OS.

          • Seth Forbus

            Why don’t you boot ubuntu on your chromebook then. Thats what I’m planning on doing when mine arrives.

            • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

              Well, as normal laptops Chromebooks lack drive storage.

              But, yeah, I like using Crouton.

            • Seth Forbus

              Yes and no. One of the acer chromebooks has a 320GB drive (not ssd) you can expand with SD storage, and on some chromebooks you can replace the drive when they are standard sata.

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    • thartist

      Chrome apps for Android? Feels like something my brain can’t even process correctly. So… Redundant. [brainloop] [smoke] [hard-reset]

    • jbox

      Let’s see how this will turn out. The problem with html5/javascript -based mobile app is that they run slower than native app, as with phonegap/cordova. If google can alleviate this issue then it’s worth the wait.

    • Shark Bait

      I suppose this is preparation for chrome os and android to merge a few years down the line?

    • Boaz Thomassie

      looking forward to a chromephone :)