Google is preparing to unleash over a million Android apps and games to Chrome OS.
Chrome OS users over on Reddit have spotted a new option in the operating system’s settings screen that appears to enable access to a large section of the Google Play store catalog of apps and games.
The option appears briefly when the user opens up the settings screen, but it appears to be inactive at this point. First spotted by user TheWiseYoda in Chrome OS v51 dev, the feature is accompanied by a description in the page source code that reads “Choose from over a million apps and games on Google Play to install and use on your Chromebook.”
Redditor InauspiciousPagan managed to unearth the opt-in screen that will presumably show up when users choose to enable the Android apps option.
Given that the front-end of the feature is already in Chrome OS, Google may introduce it officially very soon.
Google I/O is less than a month away, and there’s a good chance one of the highlights of the show will be an announcement related to the rumored convergence of Chrome OS and Android.
Last autumn, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google would “fold” Chrome OS into Android by 2017, in order to offer one operating system that works across all platforms, including PCs. We can speculate that the release of the vast Android apps collection to Chrome OS is a step towards this eventual unification.
Google first announced plans to bring Android apps to Chrome OS at I/O 2014, as part of their “App Runtime for Chrome” project. However, just a handful of apps made the jump in September 2014, including Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine. Google has been silent ever since, but it looks like that’s about to change.
Chrome OS, which recently received a Material Design makeover, has made good progress in the educational market in particular, where administrators have found Chromebooks to be more powerful and easier to manage than tablets and conventional laptops. And, thanks to their low price, Chromebooks are consistently among the best selling laptops on Amazon. Giving Chromebooks the power of Android apps could help it make further inroads into the mainstream market, at a time when PC sales are flagging.
Thoughts on this development?